Thursday, June 30, 2005

Asia Times Online - US and India Strengthen Defense Ties

Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan

Just when I worry that nobody is at home, asleep at the wheel I get to read a story like this one. The United States and India have penned a ten year defense agreement. Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Donald Rumsfeld signed the "New Framework for the US-India Defense Relationship" this week.This is important for a number of reasons. While there is only one superpower left in the world the rise of China means that the old alliances used to face off against the Soviet Union are no longer as valid or as useful. The alliance with Pakistan has always been an alliance of necessity and not of philosophy or similarities. A relationship with India would put the two countries that have more similarities than differences together in a natural alliance that should have always been. Additionally it would put pressure on Pakistan to behave better since they would see the US isn't on their side in any Pakistan/India conflicts. Pakistan will likely not find this agreement to their liking. It will be up to the US to keep Pakistan from flirting with China as an ally in the future.

India is the largest democracy in the world and as such should naturally align with the US. Instead, India had been a partner with Russia/Soviet Union. As regional power relationships go, India needs a balance against China, we need balance against China and so the meeting of common needs has finally started. The US will co-produce weaponry with India. Hopefully there will be technology security for some of the weaponry the US brings to the table. The US is conscious of how joint technology with Israel has found it's way to China and is therefore likely to want to mitigate that possibility. India for it's part will be happier with a joint technology situation since in the past the US has used it's military technology relationships as a weapon of diplomacy. In a joint technology situation that will not happen and so India will feel more secure in their own defense needs being met.

This could be the beginning of a bigger relationship between India and the United States. It will be interesting to see how hostile China will become with regards to this and the further US/India relationship. In three weeks the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh will visit the US.


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