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India becomes developing world's top arms buyer
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - India ordered $5.7 billion (3.2 billion pounds) in weapons last year, overtaking Saudi Arabia and China to become the developing world's leading buyer, a study sent to the U.S. Congress this week showed.

Likewise, with $15.7 billion in orders, India edged out China, with $15.3 billion, to become the developing world's biggest weapons buyer for the eight-year period up to 2004 reviewed by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

The figures are contained in an annual study, dated Monday, of conventional arms transfers that is widely considered the most authoritative of its kind available publicly.

The report illustrates how global arms-trade patterns have changed in the post-Cold War and post-Persian Gulf War years, wrote Richard Grimmett, the study's author.

"India's ongoing defence modernisation program reflects its desire to become a significant political-military force in Asia," he added in a telephone interview.

U.S. willingness to consider selling advanced military items to India suggests it may view India as a potential regional counterweight to growing Chinese military power, Grimmett added.

The United States once again topped the trade with developing states with deals worth $6.9 billion in 2004, or 31.6 percent of world-wide contracts, down from a 43.1 percent share in 2003, the survey showed.

Russia was second with $5.9 billion in such arms deals, up from $4.3 billion in 2003. Russia's share of all developing world arms transfer agreements ebbed to 27.1 percent in 2004 from 28.1 percent in 2003.

Russia remained the chief supplier to both India and China, but India has expanded its base, the report said. In 2004, for instance, it purchased Phalcon early warning defence system aircraft from Israel for $1.1 billion.

Saudi Arabia ranked second among developing world arms buyers last year, with deals valued at $2.9 billion, and China was third, with $2.2 billion in agreements.

Asia accounted for the lion's share of Russia's arms-sale agreements in the period surveyed, rising to nearly 82 percent of its total deals worldwide from 2001 to 2004, the study showed.

By contrast, only 26 percent of U.S. arms deals were in Asia during the same period. The bulk of U.S. deals, 66 percent, were in the Near East, including sales to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:41 AM


India's Air Force to Tender $100M Command & Control Contract
The Indian Air Force plans to publish a $100 million tender in Sept/05 for a command and control system. Defense News reports that the system is an ambitious attempt to imitate NATO's command and control network, and that the tender is for more than $100 million. The company chosen will also have to help integrate the Indian Air Force's current air defense, control, surveillance, warplane mission management system, and airspace management systems with the new backbone.

This tender comes at an important time, and will test both India's and Israel's recent defense agreements with the USA.

Elbit Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) have been invited to bid on the huge international tender. This is hardly surprising given their substantial relationships and experience with India's military and especially its air force. Meanwhile, US C4SI capabilities companies are among the offerings being promoted in a recent "informational briefing" tour by Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kohler, head of the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) which oversees U.S. weapons export controls.

The tender is likely to serve as a test case for the recent memorandum signed by Israel and the US on sales of weapons and military systems to sensitive countries. In effect, the document gives the US a veto on Israel's exports of weapons and technology to countries that the US believes constitute a threat to its security, or the security of a given region. Senior Israeli defense industry figures warned that rather than being aimed only at China, the memorandum would actually be used in protectionist ways to hinder and strangle Israeli defense exports to other markets in Asia, including India.

The USA's behaviour around this contract will either prove these critics correct and create substantial policy rethinks in Israel, or allow an even competition and lay those concerns to rest.

At the same time, India has its own concerns about receiving "second best" offers from the USA, and is looking for evidence that Washington intends to treat the nation as a full defense partner in the wake of their recent 10-year defense pact. India's new foreign procurement rules are likely to make this hurdle even more challenging.

These concerns are not mutually exclusive by any means; and indeed, the easiest way to sidestep them both is for the USA to put as few roadblocks in the way as possible for the companies involved, remain scripulously even-handed, and let the competition run its course.

The Tender Process

Bids and technical specifications for this ambitious C4I contract must be submitted within three months of the publication of the tender. The Indian Air Force will examine the bids for 4-6 months, and draw up a short list of candidates, from which the winner will be selected. Signing of the contract with the winner is scheduled within a year of the short list's publication.

This gives the contract signing date a target of April-June 2007, though participating companies are advised by DID to have patience with India's defense procurement processes and be prepared for longer time frames. The winning company will have to build a prototype of the system two years after the contract is signed.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:39 AM


US to brief India on PAC-3 missile defense
The Pentagon's top arms salesman will brief India next month on advanced US weapons, including the combat-tested Patriot PAC-3 air missile defense system plus two multi-role fighter aircraft, a spokesman said on Thursday.

The presentation of the Patriot Advanced Capability, or PAC-3, by Lt Gen Jeffrey Kohler, head of the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, is significant because India has sought to buy another sophisticated anti-missile system, the Arrow, from Israel.

Kohler will travel to New Delhi early next month to meet Indian Defense Ministry officials, said Jose Ibarra, a spokesman for the agency that handles US government-to-government weapons sales. The presentation does not necessarily mean the United States is ready to sell India the PAC-3, described by its manufacturers as the world's most capable system of its kind, Ibarra said. "This is just a briefing on a weapons system," he said.

Raytheon Corp is the system's integrator. Lockheed Martin Corp builds the high-velocity interceptor missile designed to knock out incoming targets by smashing into them.

A PAC-3 sale to India could be destabilizing if archrival Pakistan viewed it as detracting from its deterrent capability, said Wade Boese, research director of the private Arms Control Association in Washington. Transfer of the Arrow, a joint US -Israeli venture, to India would violate the 1987 anti-proliferation pact known as the Missile Technology Control Regime, Boese said, because it could carry a 500-kilogram payload more than 300 kilometers. The PAC-3, on the other hand, would not violate the pact.

PAC-3 interceptors saw limited action during the US - led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Kohler's team will also brief Indian officials on the possible sale of Lockheed Martin-built F-16 or Boeing Co - built F/A-18 multi-role fighters in response to India's request for information on replacing its aging MiG-21 warplanes, Ibarra said.

The United States began a fresh phase of its delicate maneuvering between India and Pakistan in March with the announcement it would lift a ban on F-16 sales to Pakistan. At the same time, the administration said it was ready to discuss with India "the sale of transformative systems in areas such as command and control, early warning and missile defense."


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:38 AM


India Prepares To Shop for Escort Jammers
The Indian Defence Ministry shortly will float a limited global tender for procurement of sophisticated escort jamming systems for its Air Force’s Jaguar combat fleet, allowing the British-made aircraft to suppress enemy strategic air defense systems and protect itself during deep penetration missions.

A senior Defence Ministry official said the $50 million tender will be floated in September, inviting overseas defense firms — including Israel’s Elbit and Israel Aircraft Industries, France’s Thales and Britain’s BAE SYSTEMS — to supply escort jammers for one squadron of 18 Jaguar aircraft.

Once these systems are mounted, the Jaguar aircraft will be able to jam enemy radar and, using anti-radiation missiles likely to be procured in the future, destroy ground radar stations.

Escort jammers also would enable the Jaguars to detect incoming beyond-visual-range missiles and effectively jam an enemy’s early warning radar and C4I systems.

State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), Bangalore, has completed upgrades to the first 17 of 29 Air Force Jaguars. The upgraded aircraft, which can carry nuclear weapons, is the mainstay of the Air Force.

The twin-seater Jaguars are deep-strike penetration fighters fitted with India’s Navigation and Warfare Attack System (NAVWAS), which will help the Air Force enhance its firepower. The upgraded NAVWAS was developed jointly by HAL and the Defense Avionics Research Establishment, Bangalore. The plane’s avionics suite equips the upgraded Jaguars for night attacks. The Jaguar’s mission computer was developed by the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the software by HAL and DRDO.

The Indian Air Force has lost 40 of the 140 Jaguars it procured beginning in the 1980s.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:35 AM


India, U.S. Prepare To Discuss Weapon Buys
Indian and U.S. officials will discuss the possible sale to New Delhi of U.S. weaponry — including Aegis missile systems, an amphibious platform dock ship, anti-submarine patrol aircraft and Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 air defense systems — when Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kohler, the Pentagon’s Defense Cooperation Security Agency chief, visits here next month.

Indian Defence Ministry sources said arming Indian destroyers with anti-submarine patrol aircraft and Aegis missile systems would help the ships detect Chinese submarines operating in the Indian Ocean region. India also considers purchase of an anti-ballistic air defense system like the PAC-3 or the Israeli-U.S. Arrow-2 a priority, and money is not an issue, a Defence Ministry official said.

The meeting between Kohler and senior Indian Defence Ministry officials will be the first since the two countries agreed to begin cooperating on civilian nuclear efforts here during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to United States in July.

Kohler will give officials here a classified technical briefing on the PAC-3, F-16 and F-18 multirole, multirange combat aircraft.

Officials also will discuss India’s possible purchase of the USS Trenton, a decommissioned Austin-class amphibious transport dock, used to transport large numbers of troops over long distances.

An Indian Navy official, however, said the Trenton is not in good condition.

The Indian Navy also wants to buy U.S. Aegis combat systems for its ships. The Navy official said the system can monitor large areas of the Indian Ocean, keeping an eye on Chinese ships and submarines there. The Aegis system can defend Indian sea-based assets from short- and long-range missiles, added the Navy official, who strongly advocated the purchase of this system.

Defence Ministry officials said Aug. 23 that the government likely will buy the Aegis system even though similar systems are available from other sources in the world at a cheaper price.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:57 AM


Pakistan cruise missile not supersonic: Defence official
The cruise missile Hatf VII Babur that Pakistan test-fired Aug 11 was subsonic and not a supersonic missile, a defence official said here on Sunday.

"What our neighbouring country has built is a subsonic and not a supersonic missile. As per my knowledge, the cruise missile tested by Pakistan recently is a subsonic one unlike our Brahmos supersonic cruise missile," scientific advisor to Defence Minister M. Natarajan said while delivering the 21st Brahm Prakash Memorial Lecture.

The ground-launched cruise missile Hatf VII can carry nuclear and conventional warheads with a range of 500 km.

Pakistan claimed it had joined a select group of countries that have the capability to design and develop cruise missiles.

"As I understand, the Pakistani missile was tested with the help of another country," Natarajan said in an oblique reference to China at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here.

India successfully test-fired Brahmos in 2003 at a speed of 2.8 mach and a range of 290 km. The supersonic cruise missile was developed as an India-Russia 50:50 joint venture and named after the Bramhmaputra and Moscow rivers.

"Brahmos is already in the production phase. The Indian Navy has placed an order for 18 cruise missiles. We are in the process of selling its concept to the army, as it can also be launched from land.

"At the design level, we are looking at the possibility of using it for the air force too," Natarajan told reporters later on the sidelines of the function.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:53 AM


Russia to offer MiG-35 to Indian Air Force
Russia will field its latest nuclear capable MiG-35 fighter against US F-16 and the French Mirage 2000 in the tender to be floated for the acquisition of 125 aircraft for the Indian Air Force to replace its ageing MiG-21 fleet, a top Russian official said.

"We will offer our MiG-35 multirole fighters with thrust vectoring control along with transfer of technology for indigenous production in India," Director General and Chief Designer of Russian Aircraft Corporation (RAC) 'MiG' Alexei Fedorov said after display of its capabilities by "MiG-29OVT" at the air show in Zhukovsky, Russia.

Talking to Press Trust of India on the sidelines of the international aerospace show MAKS-2205, Fedorov said it had been decided to market the MiG-29OVT with thrust vectoring control (TVC) under the MiG-35 brand.

"It has incorporated all the features of MiG-29M/M2 fighters developed on the basis of MiG-29 frontline fighter and today we can offer top-of-the-line multirole combat aircraft with in-flight refuelling," Fedorov said.

Fedorov was appointed RAC MiG director general by the Russian government last year after he successfully executed Sukhoi Su-30MKI deal with India as the president of Irkut Corporation, manufacturer of Su-30MKI.

According to MiG Deputy Chief Designer Andrei Karasyov MiG-35 was capable of delivering all present and future weapons, since it had universal open architecture.

"It would take not more than 60 flights for the Indian pilots to master the new fighter with thrust vectoring," Chief Test Pilot of RAC MiG Pavel Vlasov said after displaying the capabilities of the new aircraft. Today, the new MiG fighter has the super-manoeuvrability similar to Sukhoi 30MKI, he underscored.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:51 AM


India rules out Israeli Greenpine radar for its Prithvi missile
Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday ruled out any move to convert the short range surface-to-surface Prithvi missile into an anti-missile or a nuclear shield.

There are no plans to integrate Prithvi missile with Israeli Greenpine radar as a defense cover in respect of nuclear threat, Mukherjee said at the Indian Parliament Wednesday.

The Minister's statement assumes significance amidst reports that India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO)has been working on a project to develop an anti-missile shield.

However, experts feel that Prithvi with its liquid base propellant does not fill the bill.

While working on development of an indigenous system, India is also looking to acquire such a system from abroad with the US administration now offering it advanced Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile system.

Indicating this, the Minister said during recent bilateral discussions, Washington had conveyed its readiness to enter into defense supply, co-production and research and development relationship in areas of advanced defense technologies with India.

On whether the country has proposed to increase the range of Prithvi missiles from 150 kms to 350 kms, Mukherjee said the missile already had a range exceeding 150 kms.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:49 AM


Fifth-generation fighter enters new stage - Sukhoi official
The development of a fifth-generation fighter has entered an advanced stage, a Sukhoi corporation official told a news conference Tuesday at the MAKS 2005 international aerospace show in the Moscow region.

Alexander Klementyev, Sukhoi's deputy director general, said the defense ministry had already approved of the project.

However, he did not specify the deadlines, saying that with sufficient financing the work would be accomplished within the ministry's time limit.

Speaking about other avenues being pursued by Sukhoi, Klementyev said the company was planning to step up work in the post-production servicing of manufactured aircraft.

"In 2004, we made about $100 million on the servicing market and this year we have already completed work worth about $200 million," he said.

"We would like to service all exported Sukhoi aircraft," Klementyev added, mentioning that Sukhoi planes had been exported to 30 countries by the beginning of the 1990s.

In response to a question about the company's plans to lease combat aircraft, the official said it was a possibility, but only in the distant future.

"We cannot currently lease combat aircraft, because current legislation does not allow this," he said. "However, the relevant amendments to legislation are being considered by the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation."

Aside from combat aircraft, Sukhoi will display the prototype of a regional passenger plane at MAKS 2005. According to Sukhoi officials, a digital mock-up of the plane is 90% complete.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:49 AM


Pentagon team plans Delhi visit next month
After the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal, the cementing of military ties has begun. Pentagon’s Defence Cooperation Security Agency (DSCA) chief Lt General Jeffrey B Kohler is expected here next month to make a classified technical presentation on the anti-missile Patriot Advanced Capability-3 system, F-16 and F-18 fighters.

Defence Ministry sources said Gen Kohler’s visit may see the Indian Navy possibly acquire USS Trenton, an Austin-class amphibious transport dock ship, along with minesweepers. The DCSA, which oversees US military foreign sales, may also offer the P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft to the Indian Navy on lease basis.

On July 25, the Pentagon informed the US Congress about the possible sale of USS Trenton to India while moving the amendment to Department of Defence Appropriation Bill.

Vice-Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Yashwant Prasad, is leading a Navy team to the US this month to examine the Trenton before acquisition plans are finalised. USS Trenton was commissioned on March 6, 1971 in the US Navy and has been offered to Indian Navy at a rock-bottom price.

Accompanying Gen Kohler will be representatives from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, makers of PAC-3 systems and F-16 and F-18 fighters. They are expected here between September 5 and 9.

During his visit, Gen Kohler will meet Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt, Secretary (Defence Production) Dhanendra Kumar, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister M Natarajan, armed forces chiefs and senior officials from Ministry of External Affairs and National Security Council Secretariat.

Though classified presentations on military hardware by the US are often described here as sweeteners, Defence Ministry officials are eagerly waiting for technical briefings on the PAC-3 anti-missile defence system, F-16 and F-18 fighters.

The PAC-3 system is an improvement of its previous avatars as it uses kinetic energy rather than explosives to knock down an incoming cruise or ballistic missile. Given that India has a no-first use policy, it needs to beef up its anti-missile defence capability.

Although Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that New Delhi will build its own anti-missile system, the fact is that Indian expertise in this strategic area is quite limited and PAC-3 will at least bridge the gap before the indigenous system comes of an age.

The American forces use a mixture of PAC-2 (which uses explosives) and PAC-3 systems to tackle the broad spectrum of ballistic missiles.

Technical presentations of the F-16 and F-18 fighters—these will include briefings on the on-board radar and armaments—will help the Defence Ministry as India plans to acquire 123 multi-role fighters for the IAF.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:47 AM


Russian Air Force to China and India in military exercises
The Russian Air Force will join China and India for military exercises, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force Vladimir Mikhailov said Thursday.

"Russian strategic aircraft, and also Su-24M2 bombers and Su-27SM fighters will practice mid-air refueling during military exercises in China and India, in addition to military and transport aviation," Mikhailov said on the eve of the Russian Air Force Day on August 12.

These exercises allow pilots to "acquire valuable flight experience in various regions of the world, in unknown terrain and in varying climatic conditions," Mikhailov said.

Mikhailov mentioned the Vostok-2005 military exercises conducted in Tajikistan in April - "Many doubted that the front-line aviation could accomplish its combat mission in adverse weather conditions. But despite snow in the mountains and limited visibility, Su-24 planes and modernized Su-27SM fighters took off from the Russian Kant base in Kyrgyzstan, covered almost 900 kilometers, destroyed targets at a Tajik testing ground, and safely returned home."

The first Russian-Chinese anti-terrorist exercises will be held on August 18-25 in the Maritime Territory (the Russian Far East) and on Shandong Peninsula (northeastern China) and will involve 10,000 troops. Russia will send 1,800 troops, a group of Pacific Fleet ships, 17 long-range planes, other aircraft, and a marine infantry company.

The first Russian-Indian anti-terror exercises, IndRo-2005, will be conducted in India in October 2005, and will involve the air force units from both countries. Russia and India plan to make these exercises an annual event.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:44 AM


IAF to have joint air exercises with US, Britain
The Indian Air Force will be conducting joint air exercises with its US and British counterparts in November and early next year, Air Chief Marshall S P Tyagi, said today.

The United States Air Force will come here for joint exercises in November this year while the Royal Air Force of Britain will be coming next year," Tyagi, who is on a maiden visit as air chief to Kashmir, said.

In the past, the IAF had held joint exercises in France, South Africa and Singapore showcasing its air capability and other aspects, he said.

In response to a question, Tyagi said he had no information about any plan envisaging air cover for the territorial army during counter-insurgency operations.

"We have been providing logistic support to the forces, but no such instructions have been given so far," he said adding that if orders came, the IAF would carry them out.

"A decision on the issue has to be taken very carefully. We cannot use air strikes in our own areas on our own people," he said referring to the civilian population.

Asked if there were any air space violations on the borders with Pakistan or China, the air chief said "I am not aware of any such instance".

He said that besides being updated on new technologies, the IAF had been busy with disaster management since the tsunami struck the southern areas of the country on December 26 last year.

"Within hours of the tsunami, our flying officers were airborne to carry out relief and rescue operations in Nicobar. Early this year, we had what we call 'white tsunami' in Jammu and Kashmir," Tyagi said.

Over 40,000 people were evacuated from the avalanche-hit areas during one of worst natural calamities in the state. For the first time, the IAF flew fuel tankers to the Valley making special concessions in the flying norms in view of the gravity of the situation, Tyagi said.

He said the air force officers carried out 5,500 hours of flying in assisting the civil administration till date including providing relief during the recent floods which struck many States of the country.

On the plans to carry out special recruitment drives for youth of the State, Tyagi said two drives had been conducted in October last year and May this year. "Let me make it clear that they (Kashmiri youth) are more than welcome," he added.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 11:30 AM


US-India-China: Giants at Play
Washington is in the throes of an Indian summer. As the mercury rises, so does the buzz surrounding Manmohan Singh’s recent trip to Washington. Dr Singh returns home with an assurance of US friendship and President Bush’s personal commitment to expand civil nuclear cooperation with India at the expense of a strained international non-proliferation system.

A major driver in the administration’s radical overtures to New Delhi has been China. India’s burgeoning economy, democratic ideals, and second largest standing army in the world have caught the Bush administration’s eye as it looks to preserve US preeminence in Asia by balancing China with India. This ambition partly underpins the US’s decision to make India a ‘‘major world power.’’

Yet in the midst of its India euphoria, the Bush administration ought to curb its enthusiasm and consider an axiom from the Mahabharata: for a king ‘‘no one is his friend, no one is his enemy. Circumstances make enemies and friends.’’

While India has a pressing stake in curbing China’s rise with US assistance, there seems to be limited awareness in the US of shared Sino-Indian interests that may produce friction in the US-Indian relationship. Three areas come to mind: economics and energy; domestic politics; and geo-politics.

Like China, India is a developing country whose priority remains maintaining growth and alleviating poverty. An important ingredient in this mix is trade. After the EU, the US is currently India’s largest trade partner at $20 billion. But look who’s next in line at around $15 billion: China.

Stronger economic ties will create stronger constituents for peace in both countries and raise the threshold for conflict. This raises a key question. In what scenarios would India deem siding with the US against China worth jeopardising its commercial links with China?

India and China are also united in their quest for energy to fuel their growth. Their competition for equity stakes in exploration projects has been stiff. But both sides are also calling for exploring joint-bidding options and an Asian oil and gas grid to end what the Indian Oil Minister has dubbed ‘‘wretched Western dominance.’’

Much to the US’s dismay, their partners have included Iran where they share stakes in certain projects. Secretary Rice has made clear US opposition to a future Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline but India has remained defiant as per Dr Singh’s rejoinder: ‘‘This is an affair between Iran, us, and Pakistan. If the three countries agree, that should be the end of the matter...We are not a client state.’’ The Indian Oil Ministry has even called for extending the pipeline to China though the prospects seem remote. Meanwhile, the pipeline itself remains fraught with challenges related to security and cost-effectiveness.

Even as the US agrees to assist India in generating nuclear energy, it is unlikely to wean India from Iran or Iranian energy. Tehran is an invaluable friend to New Delhi in a tough neighborhood and energy security is a critical priority for India. Keeping its options open may put it at odds with the US even as it competes and cooperates with China.

A Sino-Indian convergence also exists in the WTO where both are championing the developing world’s cause of greater market access to the developed world including the US.

There is a historical context to this, including China and India’s colonial legacies and their involvement in the Afro-Asian summits. The Cold War may be over, but developing and developed countries remain. While India and China will jockey for leading the former bloc, the US should be prepared to hear them speak with one firm voice.

India may also break ranks with the US on China due to domestic politics. In the Congress-led coalition government, the Left parties are a key ally and are increasingly asserting their views in foreign policy. The main Communist party has called for putting the June 2005 US-Indian defense framework agreement ‘‘in a dustbin’’ because it compromises India’s sovereignty.

Yet the Left is more amenable to closer ties with China. Should it continue to come to power in New Delhi as part of India’s revolving coalition governments, it may throw up roadblocks to a US-Indian strategic relationship that is even obliquely anti-China. The United States will have to live with the different shades of opinion in India’s colorful democracy on India’s US and China policy.

A final trigger for Sino-Indian convergence is the US’s sole superpower status and its propensity for unilateralism. India like China has watched this trend with great concern and continues to withhold any meaningful support to US efforts in Iraq.

One expression of this discontent is a fictitious account published by a former Indian Army Chief titled The Writing on the Wall: India Checkmates America in 2017. The book describes how the US’s disregard of the UN leading up to the war in Iraq puts India on notice that it could face military action . India responds by modernising its military and concluding an agreement with Russia, Vietnam, and China. Following a short war that pits India against Pakistan and the US, India withstands a US missile attack and knocks out telephonic communications across the US with an electromagnetic pulse, ending hostilities.

From fiction to reality, in their first stand-alone trilateral meeting last month, the Foreign Ministers of India, China, and Russia called for a ‘‘democratisation of international relations, a consistent application of the principles of multilaterality in problem settlement, and the strengthening of the role of the United Nations.’’

In short, as India leverages US strength for its own ends, India’s Nehruvian strain of non-alignment and multilateralism may not always be able to digest the US’s preponderance of power. Here too, India may be compelled to close ranks with China and others.

Few in the US would argue against the merits of a stronger US-Indian relationship. Areas of cooperation include promoting democracy; protecting Indian Ocean sea-lanes; combating terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and engaging in trade and hi-tech commerce.

But an abundance of common interests does not codify loyalties. In today’s era of open boundaries and economies, states have diffuse interests and threats and require fluid foreign relations. India has a range of national interests that the US will not always be able to fulfill and vice versa. Greater sensitivity in both capitals to a dissonance of national interests is ironically critical to an honest and durable relationship.

But will the Bush administration tolerate ‘‘deviance’’ from a strategic partner as it injects political capital, money and machinery into the relationship? Time will tell. Meanwhile, as a new and promising chapter begins in US-Indian relations, US policy makers and analysts would be prudent to ponder Sino-Indian convergences along with applauding US-Indian ones.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 11:24 AM


U.S. Acknowledges India as Regional Force
Cooperation between Washington and New Delhi reached new heights on July 19, when President Bush announced his intention to provide civilian nuclear technology the world’s most populous democracy. While the announcement came in for criticism by the arms control community and will necessitate a congressional ok, with, the White House was also quick to note that India’s civilian nuclear programs are already open to international inspection and the country has a spotless record on proliferation. It is understood that the deal will also help reduce India’s dependence on imported energy sources; one of the factors that drives its relationship with Iran.

The grand reception given Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in mid-July by the Bush Administration, including the first State Dinner since the President’s reelection last year and only his fifth since taking office, suggests that the White House wishes to secure a firm partnership with the dynamic country of more than one billion persons. India may also prove to be a strategic counterweight to China’s growing global might.

While the recent elevation of the U.S.-India relationship may be centered on India’s burgeoning energy needs and its concomitant dependence on imported energy sources, it was built upon the solid foundation of cooperative military ventures conducted since the Cold War’s demise opened the door for New Delhi to reassess its strategic position both regionally and globally.

U.S.-India Military Cooperation

The United States and India have cooperated with one another in the military realm since the late 1980s. In recent years, maritime piracy and terrorism and its links to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, for example, have brought about unprecedented levels of international cooperation in order to police the world’s oceans. One driver for this cooperation has been the U.S.-devised and -led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a cooperative international program designed to prevent rogue states from receiving materials and equipment used to construct weapons of mass destruction. While India is not yet a PSI participant, Washington has been keen to get New Delhi to sign on. Indian participation is important as the Indian navy has the operational capability to make its presence felt in the most vulnerable regions such along the 500-mile long Straits of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia.

India and the United States have engaged in joint naval cooperation since the mid 1990s most recently completing the Malabar 04 joint exercises in October 2004. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was in India in early December 2004 discussing a range of issues with Prime Minister Singh and Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Rumsfeld told reporters, “The defense relationship is a strong one and something we intend to see is further knitted together as we go forward in the months and years ahead.”

Blue Water Fleet and Shipbuilding Expansion

India’s relatively recent acquisitions and modernizations are indications of their commitment to a “blue water” navy. India has commissioned new frontline warships such as the INS Brahmaputra, a Delhi-class missile frigate with major high-technology components manufactured in India. In April 2000, the Indian Navy commissioned a 24,000 ton fleet replenishment tanker, the INS Aditya. This tanker, which can double as a command platform, is a necessary component for a naval force to operate for long periods of time on the open ocean.

The navy has also refitted and modernized the INS Viraat, previously India’s only aircraft carrier, with close-in weapon systems (CIWS) for defense against sea-skimming cruise missiles, improved radar and electronic-warfare equipment, and a new communications suite.

The navy also acquired the former Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov as well as two Russian Akula II fast attack nuclear submarines. The Gorshkov deal was finalized in 2004 after years of haggling. Reportedly, the ship will undergo an extensive refit costing some $800 million to include modifications to allow the operation of the Mig-29 Fulcrum’ naval fighter, 30 of which India will take delivery of as part of the carrier purchase. Also reportedly purchased were six Kamov-31 attack and reconnaissance anti-submarine helicopters, torpedo tubes, missile systems and gun units, costing an additional $700 million. It is estimated that the ship will enter service in 2008 as the INS Vikramaditya.

India also has vast plans for keeping its shipbuilding facilities up to date. Dedicating $110.6 million of the 2005 defense budget to this purpose, India’s domestic shipbuilding facilities will be much better equipped to deal with the 19 warship orders placed over the last two years. Despite this, the Indian navy will have a difficult time keeping an adequate number of ships in their fleet as the current shipbuilding rate is but two-and-a-half per year while the navy’s retirement rate is six per year. The newly allocated money will help equalize the countries shipbuilding capabilities with the navy’s demand for new warships.

India’s Strategic Imperative

India seems to have several reasons for its naval expansion. In an interview with Bharat Rakshak (, a consortium of Indian military web sites, former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Madhvendra Singh said, “Today, a navy is not just for safeguarding your borders. It is also an instrument of state policy. There are common concerns like terrorism, protection of sea lines of communication, piracy and transportation of weapons of mass destruction. With the growing concern about international terrorism, it is necessary that on account of its unique location, size and potential in the Indian Ocean, India plays a more meaningful role.”

India has long desired the capability to secure its exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from the coastline, as well as key trade routes around the Indian Ocean. The Indian economy is one of the largest in the world and is the second largest GDP among emerging countries based on purchasing power parity. India’s textile industry is the single highest foreign exchange earner and accounts for 20 percent of India’s industrial output and about 30 percent of India’s exports. The consequences of a disruption in maritime shipping could be devastating to this industry. India therefore will look to take responsibility for ensuring free passage of goods through the Indian Ocean.

The World Energy Outlook 2002 conducted by the International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded that by the year 2030, India would have a 94 percent oil import dependency. The IEA is an international energy policy advisor serving its 26 member countries, including the U.S. Due to its dependency on imported energy sources, India faces very real risks of having that supply disrupted. U.S. overtures to share non-military nuclear technology to boost electricity production in India can be understood in this light.

U.S.-India Cooperative Naval Exercises

India has pursued a cooperative relationship with the United States Navy and has entertained invitations from regional states to patrol vulnerable shipping lanes in southeast Asia. In the modern age, the U.S. Navy has been the only substantial naval force in the Indian Ocean.

One of the most recent joint military exercises between the United States and India occurred in October 2004. These exercises, known as Malabar 04, involved close to 2,000 U.S. and Indian naval personnel and took place off the southwest coast of India.

Participating in the exercises from the U.S. Navy were the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63), the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51), the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Alexandria (SSN 757), and P-3C maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. The Indian navy participated with the destroyer INS Mysore, the frigate INS Brahmaputra, the tanker INS Aditya and the Shishumar-class submarine the INS Shankul. The Shankul , a locally-constructed German Type 1500 submarine, is equipped with eight 21-inch torpedo tubes, anti-ship mines and has a crew of 40.

The 2004 exercises were the sixth of their kind between the Indian and United States navies. What began as simple communications checks and basic maneuvers quickly became full-scale “war-at-sea” exercises. Other exercises during Malabar 04 included small boat transfers, maneuvering as a group, nighttime underway replenishments, and visit, board, search and seizure drills. U.S. Navy public affairs noted that Malabar 04 was designed to “increase the interoperability between the two navies while enhancing the cooperative security relationship between India and the United States.”

After practicing boarding operations and search and seizure techniques learned from the U.S. Navy, the Indian navy have considerably improved its skills at fighting the growing scourge of maritime piracy and terrorism. India took a further step when it commenced joint exercises with the Japanese Coast Guard. Termed Sahyog Kaijan 2004, the exercises involved a mock hijacking of a merchant vessel. India and Japan share a common strategic ground with regard to their dependence on oil shipping routes in the Persian Gulf.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 11:25 AM


White House faces tough questions on India nuclear deal
Reuters Posted online: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 at 1003 hours IST
Updated: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 at 1234 hours IST

Washington, August 2

WASHINGTON: A recent US-India nuclear agreement was so hastily concluded the Bush administration is only now beginning to figure out how to implement it in the face of tough questions from the US Congress and nonproliferation experts.

The agreement, announced July 18 after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met President George W Bush at the White House, upends decades-old nonproliferation rules and will require changes in US law and international policy.

US officials are optimistic the Republican-controlled Congress will approve steps to fulfill Bush’s promise to sell civilian nuclear technology to India. Such sales are now prohibited under US law because India refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT, and is producing nuclear weapons banned by the pact and other agreements.

With the new deal, the United States in effect accepts India as a nuclear-weapon state. US and Indian officials had aimed to conclude an agreement before Bush makes an expected trip to India in early 2006. But the atmosphere seemed ripe while Singh was in Washington, so US and Indian negotiators worked around-the-clock to seal a deal.

Early grumblings among lawmakers and experts who believe the accord weakens nuclear-weapons controls suggest Bush could face a battle to amend or waive US law. Congressional sources say a growing Indian-American community will be a factor in supporting the accord.

So far, “the administration has no clear plan” to implement the agreement, said a Republican participant in a recent briefing for congressional staff. The participant said officials had “no good answers” on how the deal would affect international security.

US officials involved in the deal acknowledged there were many unanswered questions about implementing it. These include how long it would take for India to separate its civilian and military nuclear programs, so the civilian side could be put under international monitoring. Undersecretary of State R Nicholas Burns plans to visit India in September and it is hoped those talks will yield answers, a senior official said.

Some experts worry Bush will press Congress to act before India fulfills promises to adhere to international standards to stem the spread of nuclear weapons and missiles.

The senior official said the administration would not propose legislation for at least a month or two and would await Indian action to meet new nonproliferation commitments. “It will take months for the Indians to begin (to meet) some of their commitments and to complete others,” he said. “The Indians know we’re going to wait and see all this occur.”

He said once the process was underway, the administration would ask Congress and member nations of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which seeks to control nuclear-technology exports, to modify laws and policy.
After India tested nuclear weapons in 1998, Washington led international condemnation. But Bush has accelerated an embrace of the world’s largest democracy. His aides say India shares US values, does not transfer nuclear technology to troublesome entities and desperately needs to expand its energy sources.
Many officials also see India as a counterweight to China, and view the deal as an opportunity to revive a shaky US nuclear industry.

Robert Einhorn, formerly the State Department’s top nonproliferation official, said the strategic case for strengthening US-India relations has broad support. But the nuclear agreement is a setback for nonproliferation and will make it harder to advocate stricter rules for Iran and North Korea, Einhorn told an American Enterprise Institute programme. “The administration lowered the bar too far,” he said. He said India, unlike the five nuclear-weapons states recognised under the NPT — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — is still producing weapons-grade plutonium and should be encouraged to stop.

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 11:02 AM


Defence deal with US doesn't compromise our security: Pranab
Indo-Asian News Service

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) Seeking to allay apprehensions about the defence framework agreement signed between India and the US recently, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday asserted that the pact signals the US willingness to buttress India's defence capabilities and does not compromise national security in any way.

"The document, more than anything else, signals the US willingness to enhance defence cooperation with India and strengthen our defence capabilities," Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, in a statement Tuesday.

He alluded to anxieties expressed in parliament and in the press about various implications of the deal, including India's freedom to decide on committing troops in support of the US-led coalition operations in Iraq and elsewhere and New Delhi serving the larger American agenda. Responding to these fears, he said, "Some have expressed concerns that the document adopts vocabulary and language, and therefore the world view of the US; and that it promotes US security interests and not ours, and therefore compromises our security. None of these apprehensions are justified.' "It is in our interest to see how we can exploit this change of attitude to our advantage. It is an enabling document that provides a framework within which specific cooperation can take place," he said. "It is up to us to see how we develop this. This will not be dictated to us. It will be decided by mutual agreement," he asserted. The New Framework Agreement for the US-India Defence Relationship was signed during Mukherjee's visit to the US June 28.

The framework, according to Mukherjee, does not contain any commitments or obligations and updates the agreed minutes on defence relations between India and the US in January 1995. The agreement sets the roadmap for defence ties over the next 10 years and "visualizes an enhanced level of cooperation covering military-to-military relations as well as a defence industrial and technological relationship", said an official statement.

It emphasises cooperation in maintaining security and stability, defeating terrorism, preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction and protecting the flow of commerce through land, air and sea lanes. The pact was signed ahead of the historic visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the US July 18-20. Listing various advantages that can accrue to India if the framework agreement is used in a creative manner, Mukherjee said the defence pact would help promote cooperation with the US "to strengthen and modernise India's armed forces and defence industries." "The pact establishes a new defence procurement and production group under the existing defence policy group to promote a defence, trade, production and technology partnership with the US," said Mukherjee, stressing the role of the pact in increasing India's "manouevrability in international affairs."

--Indo-Asian News Service


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 10:57 AM


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This blog focuses on current issues concerning defense and national security for the world's largest democracy - India. It is updated regularly providing readers with in-depth information on technology transfer, acquisitions, counter-terrorism, security and military collaboration and strategic dialogue between India and the United States. The site includes links to top defense policy & research institutes, think-tanks, military sites and research organizations.
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