Saturday, December 8, 2007

Indo-US Relationship: Is America India’s Friend or Foe

After the Independence in 1947 our Indian leaders have always had a weary and tabooed vision of the Indo-USA relationship, and tried to inculcate that kind of vision in the citizens. They never seemed to refer to the American help during the country’s liberation movement. This had perhaps much to do with the one-time Indo-Soviet bonhomie, which produced a kind of inhibition regarding any fruitful Indo-US political tie-up. India’s relationship with the USA has been of much criticism rather than of scrutiny in India. Uncle Sam has been portrayed—both on the public walls and public minds—as a sadistic imperialist demon. The relationship of mistrust somewhat changed significantly when the NDA government, with a different ideology, tried to utilise the post-globalisation effects. In the transformed scenario when our Marxists have forgotten the giant and seem to recover from Samophobia (let me coin this word!), let us examine whether the new-found bonhomie between the USA and India may be beneficial to the strategic interests of both the countries.
After Pokhran II India declared itself as a N-Weapon state. In needed to build up its own Nuclear Command and Control System and at the same time to overtake Pakistan and match China. India needed a strong missile defence system, powerful phased array radars, sophisticated fighter jets, AWACS, powerful long-range missiles, satellite communication system, supersonic cruise missiles, network-centric system and so on. But because of US restriction on dual-use technologies, space-technologies, several non-proliferation treaties, MTCR and so on India was struggling. Considering all these and taking the USA as a friend against terrorism, the NDA government supported the US missile defence system, the theory of pre-emptive strike and the invasion of Afghanistan. The USA was taken aback by the sweet turn-around.
The USA hinted at its policy-shift by allowing Israel to sell three Phalcon Systems (Phased Array L Band Construction). It blocked the supply of these AWACs systems to China. Again, Israel supplied India with two sophisticated Green Pine Radars responsible for tracking incoming missiles. The Phalcon system is the most advanced AWACs system in the world. The USA also encouraged Israel to go in for the phased array radar systems research with India. Space co-operation too took off between the two countries. The indo-Israel co-operation in radars significantly advanced India’s efficiency in making hi-tech, long-range radars. Besides, Israel, a country efficient in electronic warfare has been contributing much to india’s defence preparedness. The phalcon system, needless to say, will become one of the most important components of the Indian Nuclear command and control systems. The USA agreed to supply to India the most advanced PAC3 (Patriot Advanced Capability) anti-ballistic missile system. Its another matter that due to political differences the Indian government did not go in for it.
Now, in respect of the 126 multi-role fighters, the USA has agreed to offer India, along with joint production, the most advanced F35 Joint Strike Fighter. So, if India chooses it, India will have a great N-offensive platform.
The USA supported the 3000km plus Agni III test-firing and development. It is another matter that it may object if the range crosses 5000kms limit. But the USA, for its own sake, encourages India to keep China under pressure.
Again, India signed an agreement with Russia to jointly build and utilise the Global Navigatyional System (Glonass) which will help Indian missiles to crash-land with pinpoint accuracy. But unlike the past, when the USA objected to Russian handover of the Cryogenic engine, the USA did not utter a word.
Now India is about to get the Russian nuclear submarine on lease and the indigenous Advanced Technology Vessel (euphemism of nuclear submarine) is nearing completion. India has tested thrice the pontoon-based SLBMs and plans to induct the future 5000+ km ballistic missile in the ATV. The supersonic ‘Brahmos’ cruise missile will help in the development of sea-based cruise missile ‘Sagarika’. The cruise missiles will be fitted with the Russian nuclear submarine. The USA has nothing to object to all these.
Indo-Israel space co-operation is going on under the benign eyes of Uncle Sam. Israel is benefitting from India’s launch capability whereas India is having the sophisticated Israeli radars and camera.
On the cultural ground where the ideology of the peoples matters, both the Americans and the Indian subscribe to the same kind of ideology. It is a cultural fallacy to assume that a particular nation does not want peace, every nation does that and looks forward to prosperity. No nation works on morality or charity. Every nation has its own self-interest. Therefore, instead of blame-game, India should make its own way for the present and for the future by entering a healthy relationship with the USA.

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