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It's been a while, but as they say, better late than never. We finally made some time to redesign our blog and soon we will have our own independent website. The blog helped us reach a huge audience and generate a lot of interest in this area. As a result, the format and (utility) of the blog seems overwhelmed, hence the transittion to the dedicated site. The URL for the new site and content will be disclosed soon. Till then, enjoy the blog and continue to contribute to our posts.
US, India close to civil nuclear agreement: Burns
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | January 28, 2006 12:14 IST
Please click on link for original news item


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 7:35 PM


Business ties linked to India-US relations: Lockheed
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, January 30, 2006

American defence major Lockheed Martin, in the race to sell 126 combat jets to India, on Monday said the status of India-US diplomatic ties would influence its plans to supply military hardware to the country.

"Governmental relations in the national security arena have an impact on our ability to do business," said Robert Trice, Lockheed Martin's senior vice president for business development.

"We in the (US) industry follow the lead of our government. Everything we do has to have the full support of the US administration and Congress," he told a news conference in New Delhi.

Lockheed Martin's F-16 fighter is one of five jets currently being considered by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for its plan to acquire 126 jets as part of its modernisation programme. Boeing is also in the race with its F-18 jet.

Trice is in India as part of the Lockheed Martin delegation that will attend the Defexpo 2006 arms fair here. Defence majors from the US will have the largest presence at the four-day event.

In the past, India has been reluctant to source defence hardware from the US in view of that country's complicated procedures for arms sales and its sanction regimes that have resulted in spares being withheld in the past.

Asked if any possible deal between India and Lockheed Martin would be vulnerable to such concerns, Trice said: "Anything can happen."

But he hastened to add: "We would not be here if we were not hopeful of establishing a long-term relationship."

The Indian government is expected to announce soon its formal "request for proposals" for the 126-jet deal. Besides the US-made jets, other aircraft being considered are Sweden's Gripen, Russia's MiG-29 and France's Mirage 2000.

The US government has thrown its weight behind the pitch made by Lockheed Martin and Boeing but some Indian experts have cautioned against any major arms deals with US firms, especially in light of complexities being encountered with the India-US civil nuclear deal of 2005.

Trice, however, noted that the US-India Business Council was lobbying with Indian and American politicians to convince them about the long-term benefits of bilateral ties in economics and defence.

As all arms contracts worth over Rs 6 billion ($136 million) are governed by regulations that require foreign firms to source components worth 30 per cent of the total value of the deal from India, Trice said Lockheed Martin intended to forge "technical collaborations" with Indian partners if it bagged the 126-jet order.

"In most markets, we are not interested in having direct ownership (of assets) or in forming joint ventures... We will transfer as much technology as the US government is comfortable with to create as many long-term jobs as possible," he said.

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 7:31 PM


Bumpy Ride for Indo-US Nuclear Deal
POLITICS: Analysis by Praful Bidwai
Inter Press Service News Agency

NEW DELHI , Jan 24 (IPS) - The "nuclear cooperation" agreement signed by United States President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, six months ago in Washington, has run into trouble over separation of India’s civilian installations from the military.

Please click on link below


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 10:59 AM


India summons US envoy over Iran
Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 14:21 GMT
BBC News - please click on link below for original news item.

India has summoned the US ambassador to Delhi after comments he made over India's relations with Iran.

US Ambassador David Mulford had warned that a deal giving India US nuclear technology could collapse if India does not back a UN motion against Iran.

He was told his comments were "inappropriate and not conducive" to US-India relations, India's foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Mr Mulford earlier said his remarks were taken out of context.

The US State Department said Mr Mulford was voicing his "personal opinion".

The US is pursuing action against Iran which it suspects of trying to develop a nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Mulford told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency on Wednesday that the US was keen to have India's support when UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meets to discuss Iran.

"If [India] opposes Iran having nuclear weapons, we think they should record it in the vote."

India's failure to do so, he said, would have a "devastating" effect on US Congress members who have yet to approve the nuclear deal.

"I think the initiative will die in the Congress. Not because the administration would want it to, but the Congress will... so I think this is part of the calculation that India has to keep in mind," Mr Mulford said.

Mr Mulford also said India had not met "test of credibility" in showing a clear separation of its civilian and military nuclear programmes - a key condition of the technology-sharing deal agreed last year, the PTI said.

'Sincere regrets'

Mr Mulford was summoned by India's Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran, on Thursday afternoon and told that his comments were "inappropriate and not conducive to building a strong partnership between the two democracies," a foreign ministry statement said.

It said that the ambassador was informed that India's vote on any possible resolution on the Iran nuclear issue at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would be determined by India's own judgement of the merits of the case.

"The ambassador expressed his sincere regrets, saying that his remarks had been taken out of context," the foreign ministry statement said.

India has rejected attempts to tie its stance on Iran to the deal with the US.

Washington agreed last year to share advanced civilian nuclear technology with Delhi, lifting sanctions triggered by India's nuclear tests in 1998.

State department spokesman Sean McCormark said on Wednesday that Mr Mulford was "reflecting" the "very strongly held feelings about Iran" in the Congress about the Iran issue.

"Ultimately, how India votes on this matter is going to be a decision of the Indian government. They voted to find Iran in non-compliance the last time around and we certainly would encourage and hope that they vote for referral this time around," he said.

Mr McCormack also sought to separate the civilian nuclear deal with how India votes on the Iran issue.

"We deal with the Indian government on these two issues as separate issues. Certainly, they come up in the same conversations," he told reporters in Washington.

Correspondents say Mr McCormack's comments are a move to defuse any potential political and diplomatic row that could erupt between the two countries ahead of President George Bush's visit to India in March.

'Serious apprehensions'

One of the key allies of the ruling Congress party-led coalition, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has also demanded the government must clarify its stand after Mr Mulford's comments.

"These remarks raises serious apprehensions regarding the nuclear cooperation deal being negotiated with the US," the CPI(M) said in a statement.

Mr Mulford has said that his comments to the Press Trust Of India had "been taken out of context".

"Iran is a matter where we know India will vote on the basis of its own national interest," he said.

The Press Trust of India is standing by its interview.


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 10:53 AM


Diplomat under fire over US-India nuclear deal comments
Last Update: Friday, January 27, 2006. 9:33am (AEDT)
The US Ambassador to India has been carpeted over comments that India's nuclear deal with his country could be in jeopardy if India does not back international action against Iran.

In an interview with the press trust of India, America's ambassador to India David Mulford, made it very clear that the US Congress was unlikely to tolerate an Indian refusal to vote against Iran at a meeting of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) next month.

He suggested the cost could be a landmark civilian nuclear technology sharing deal, signed by President George Bush and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last July.

The deal effectively marked the beginning fo a new relationship between the world's most powerful and most populous democracies.

It means India will be the only country getting advanced nuclear technology from the US, even though it conducted nuclear tests and refused to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Mr Mulford has since expressed his sincere regret for the comments, which he says were taken out of context.


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 10:08 AM


New Delhi faces a diplomatic balancing act ahead of Bush's state visit
By Jo Johnson and Caroline Daniel - FT
Published: January 27 2006 02:00 | Last updated: January 27 2006 02:00

When President George W. Bush makes his first visit to India in March, officials in New Delhi had hoped to be more than just tour guides.

Instead, they wanted to cement the strategic relationship by seeing the US move to lift restrictions on nuclear co-operation, a key step towards embracing India as a nuclear power.

Yet the trip threatens to be overshadowed by wrangling over how India will separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities and place the former under international safeguards.

A former US official said that US diplomats came to the conclusion earlier this month that nothing would happen by Mr Bush's trip in March.

He blamed the faulty origins of the deal, which was forged last July behind closed doors, late at night with no congressional consultation and few details.

"You reap what you sow," the official said.

While filling in those details is now proving problematic, the original ambition was simple: to end the anomalous situation created by India's refusal to sign what it regarded as a discriminatory Non-Proliferation Treaty and give up its option to become a nuclear weapons state.

It exercised this option in 1998, but could not be recognised as a nuclear weapons state by NPT signatories and attracted US sanctions.

Since the 1998 nuclear tests, it has been India's objective to circumvent the NPT by persuading a dominant power to recognise it as a nuclear weapons state and to use that endorsement to persuade other members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to follow suit.

Even so, New Delhi faces difficulties on two fronts. First, its atomic energy establishment is not yet fully on board. The Department of Atomic Energy has presented a draft separation plan that was, in the words of C. Raja Mohan, a security expert and commentator, "rather meagre and hardly credible".

Its second difficulty lies in securing the support of Communist coalition partners, who accuse the US of linking the talks to India's vote to send Iran's nuclear programme to the United Nations Security Council and berate the government for its abandonment of India's traditional anti-imperialism and stance of non-alignment.

The US faces equally tough domestic politics. Many congressmen, such as Tom Lantos, have made it clear that their support is dependent on India voting the right way on Iran. Administration officials have also sparked unease by appearing to link the two issues.

"We mishandled the Iran connection from the beginning and there has been a screw-up. We have made it harder for the Indians," says George Perkovich, vice-president at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The administration faces an articulate non-proliferation lobby concerned about the fate of the NPT, as well as bruised congressional feelings atthe lack of consultation when the deal was struck and a lack of strong advocates. Even Democrats who play a leading role in the US-India lobby have been reluctant to express clear support, waiting to see if they can deliver a blow to the administration by scotching a key policy.

On the plus side in the US, few congressmen want to offend Indian-Americans in an election year, and generally support closer engagement with India.

The US-India lobby is the largest on Capitol Hill, with nearly 200 members. "The US industry is supportive," says Ron Somers, of the US-India Business Council. "The business community wants the administration to take the lead, and we are waiting for word that the separation plan is in hand and credible, and then industry's voice will be heard on Capitol Hill."

Few believe India will miss the chance to do a deal that addresses its chronic energy shortage. If India does not secure a nuclear supply deal with the US, it will soon, for example, have no fuel to run its reactor at Tarapur in Maharashtra and is unlikely, in the absence of US consent, to be able to secure this fuel from anyone else.

"Even Russia has made it clear that it might not be able to supply fuel for Tarapur until India comes to an non-proliferation understanding with the international community," Mr Mohan wrote this week.

"If there is no progress before President Bush arrives here, India might as well forget about the nuclear deal."


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 9:56 AM


India's Congress party hails civil nuclear energy pact with US
Hyderabad | January 22, 2006 6:15:06 PM IST

The Congress party Sunday hailed the civil nuclear energy cooperation between India and the US as a significant diplomatic achievement.

In its draft resolution on "external security and international affairs", the party said the agreement would be implemented in a spirit of transparency and reciprocity as stated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"The Congress appreciated the technological, energy and other imperatives that formed the backdrop to the Indo-US agreement of July 18, 2005," it said.

In an obvious reference to the criticism by Left parties, which have accused the Congress-led government of surrendering to US interests, the resolution said: "India believes that it has the self-confidence and ability to take advantage of emerging opportunities, exercising its own independent judgment."

The party endorsed the signing of the new framework for US-India defence relationship in June 2005.

"This is an enabling document which would promote exchanges in the defence field, based on the mutual interest and benefit," it said.

The resolution paid tributes to the contributions made by the Indian-American community in US to strengthen Indo-US relations and in changing the perception of India through their professional excellence and notable achievements.


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 10:18 AM


Chamber Applauds Progress in U.S.-India Civilian Nuclear Initiative; Chamber Spearheading Major Effort to Secure Agreement
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 20, 2006--The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today applauded further progress by U.S. and Indian negotiators that would result in India agreeing to segregate its civilian nuclear facilities from its strategic facilities, a key step in achieving the broader goal of allowing the United States to share civilian nuclear technology with India.

"Obtaining a separation agreement is the next step in achieving the ultimate prize--a U.S.-India civilian nuclear cooperation agreement that will reduce the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation by opening India's civilian nuclear facilities to international inspection, cement and advance a strategic partnership between two of the world's greatest democracies, and provide significant business opportunities to American companies," said Lt. Gen. Dan Christman (Ret.), the Chamber's senior vice president of international affairs. "We know there is still work to be done, but the United States and India are making progress."

To win passage of that agreement, which requires congressional approval, the Chamber is hosting a Coalition for Partnership with India (CPI) to marshal a broad public advocacy campaign that will include action on Capitol Hill, a major education effort to raise awareness of the benefits of the agreement, and significant information programs outside Washington.

CPI will provide a forum for American businesses, academic institutions, associations, think-tanks, and like-minded individuals to support a deeper strategic partnership with India, including the sharing of civilian nuclear technology. The Chamber's United States-India Business Council, consisting of 160 of the largest U.S. companies investing in India, is a leading advocate of the Coalition. The Chamber's Christman serves as CPI's chairman.

"This agreement could provide the U.S. business community with $100 billion worth of new opportunities in India in the energy sector alone," said Christman. "Strengthening our strategic partnership with India will spur India's economic reform programs and open its markets to U.S. investment in key areas such as information technology, telecom, pharmaceuticals, defense trade, insurance, pensions, banking, real estate, and infrastructure."

Reducing India's reliance on oil and coal-fired power plants could help keep world oil prices lower and provide significant benefits to the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Chamber.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 9:37 AM


Business lobbies for US-India nuclear deal
Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:57 PM ET
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American companies are mounting a multimillion-dollar campaign to sell to Congress a landmark civilian nuclear deal with India which promises a "bounty of opportunity" for U.S. business and strategic interests, an organizer said on Thursday.

The lobbying drive is the most expensive ever mounted by business, said Ron Somers, president of the U.S.-India Business Council of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He did not specify the campaign's budget.

He said retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Christman, a former superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point now working for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will coordinate a broad effort as the Coalition for Partnership with India that groups businesses, think tanks and academics supporting the deal.

This will complement the U.S.-India Business Council, which has engaged the politically well-connected Patton Boggs law firm to lobby lawmakers, Somers told Reuters in an interview.

The high-powered campaign reflects both the importance of the nuclear agreement and the high hurdles it faces in Congress, Somers said.

Some members of Congress and experts worry the deal clinched in July undermines U.S. efforts to stop the spread of nuclear arms.

Somers said the agreement could open the door for U.S. companies to billions of dollars in non-nuclear as well as civilian nuclear-related contracts.

"It's going to unleash a bounty of opportunity that is even beyond commercial measure," including strengthening nonproliferation goals, he said.

For 30 years, the United States led the effort to deny India nuclear technology because it tested and developed nuclear weapons in contravention of international norms. Both India and its neighbor and nuclear-armed rival Pakistan have refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


But U.S. President George W. Bush now views India, a rising democratic and economic power on China's border, as an evolving U.S. ally and the new nuclear deal -- allowing India to purchase nuclear reactors and fuel -- is central to that vision.

Somers spoke as Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns was visiting New Delhi for talks that were expected to show progress on the nuclear deal in advance of Bush's visit to India in late February or early March.

Burns' focus was a plan to put India's civilian nuclear power plants under international monitoring, while weapons-related facilities would remain off-limits.

This separation plan -- the heart of the nuclear deal -- aims to ensure U.S. nuclear technology is never used for military purposes and in theory would make the civilian facilities less susceptible to proliferation.

"We believe the Congress needs to hear that industry is interested in this (nuclear) initiative ... We have been waiting for the administration to provide the signal that the separation agreement is going on well and that it would be (put) behind us," Somers said.

India, for its part, has retained the Barbour Griffiths Rogers lobbying firm of former U.S. ambassador to New Delhi, Robert Blackwill, to push the deal. His former aide, Ashley Tellis, has taken a leave from a Washington think tank to work on the deal at the State Department. Both men are leading advocates of closer U.S. ties with India.


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 7:37 PM


Why the United States needs India
January 02, 2006

K Subrahmanyam, the legendary strategic affairs expert, begins an exclusive column.

When international politics changes very fast and traditional diplomacy is inadequate to cope with those changes, statesmanly leadership would have to come up with imaginative statecraft to meet the challenge of a transformed world observes US Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice in her article in The Washington Post of December 11, 2005. Such statecraft will take time to find popular acceptability. Therefore the leadership has to exercise patience in order to bring about changes in popular perception.

In the US, it took both time and effort on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's part to convert the United States Congress which passed the Neutrality Act at the beginning of World War II to the position when it declared war on the side of the Allies.

Similarly, the policy of containment had to be pursued diligently and non-provocatively while there were great pressure on the US to confront the Communist bloc frontally. Then Secretary of State Dean Acheson is the acknowledged role model for Dr Rice. Henry Kissinger, President Richard M Nixon's national security adviser, had to plan his move for the US opening to China in utmost secrecy, even keeping then Secretary of State William Rogers out of the decision-making loop. Even after Kissinger and Nixon visited China in 1972 it took several years before formal diplomatic relations could be established between Washington and Beijing.

Dr Rice, following Acheson's example, is attempting to transcend the existing conventional doctrines and debates of the past and transform volatile status quos that no longer serve US interests. She recognises that the prospect of violent conflict between great powers is becoming ever more unthinkable.

Major States are increasingly competing in peace, not preparing for war. Therefore, the US is cultivating partnerships with Japan, Russia, the European Union, China and India. Thereby a more lasting and desirable form of global stability is being built leading to a balance of power that favours freedom. This development is unique in the history of the last 350 years.

To sustain US pre-eminence in this global balance of power and to win the peaceful competition with other powers, especially China and the European Union, the US needs India's partnership.

Secretary Rice and her colleagues consider India a natural partner, economic interaction with whom will enable the US tackle some of its long-term economic problems. The US and India have a convergence in terms of central security challenges they will face in the future such as terrorism, proliferation of chemical, biological and nuclear technologies, international crime, narcotics, HIV/AIDS and climate change. Both countries are democratic, secular, multiethnic, multicultural and federal and pledged to the supremacy of civilian control over the armed forces.

In the light of the above worldview and perception about India, it is logical that under the leadership of Dr Rice, who has great influence over President George W Bush, the US has decided to help India in its moves to become a world class power in the 21st century. Her worldview envisages India as a crucial factor in the development of Asian balance of power and world balance of power.

In India's industrialisation and development as a world power, energy is a core issue. President Bush and Secretary Rice are of the view that for the energy problems of the 21st century for large energy consumers like the US, China and India there are no simple hydrocarbon solutions. Therefore, it is essential to unshackle India from the bondage of the Nonproliferation Treaty and allow it free access to civil nuclear energy as the world re-evaluates the role of nuclear energy and re-embarks on research on both new generation fission and fusion reactors.

This vision and statecraft implied to translate it into reality, in Dr Rice's words, are ambitious and even revolutionary. However, she asserts that it is not imprudent. As happened on earlier occasions her ideas will take time to win acceptability in view of the heavy overburden of conventional wisdom.

There are already voices in America which question whether her views are shared by other branches of the administration, especially the Pentagon. Others have serious doubts about her premise that American statecraft 'must now be guided by the undeniable truth that democracy is the only assurance of lasting peace and security between States.' Her consequent assertion that 'implicit within the goals of our statecraft are the limits of our power and the reasons for our humility' is bound to raise eyebrows all over the world.

If the logic of Dr Rice's worldview is not accepted then her statecraft would not make sense to people. One of the major problems in advancing the US-India partnership, which is derived from her worldview and statecraft, is the lack of credibility in her worldview and policies on the part of an overwhelming majority of both the Indian and US elite.

In India, there is lack of credibility in the US being able to remedy the 'Freedom deficit' in the 'broader Middle East.' Many would cite the US tolerance of General Pervez Musharraf and its inability to persuade Pakistan to advance towards moderate Islamic State status as proof of the impracticability of her strategy.

But Dr Rice has no illusions on this score. She herself says that at the end of her term in office 'no one will be able to know the full scope of what our statecraft has achieved.' At the same she asserts her abiding confidence 'that we will have laid a firm foundation of principle -– a foundation on which future generations will realise our nation's vision of a fully free democratic and peaceful world.'

It is in this spirit her moves in nurturing the India-US partnership needs to be interpreted. It may not succeed in yielding significant gains to both sides in the immediate future. Between the two countries there are shared values, common threat perceptions, mutuality of economic, technological and strategic interests.

Their shared vision was reflected in the joint statements of then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then US President Bill Clinton and of President Bush and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. But they were not backed by the powerful logic of Dr Rice's worldview spelled out in her article.

On both sides widespread realisation is yet to dawn that in times of unprecedented change there must be transcending of doctrines and debates of the past to achieve transformation of volatile status quos that no longer serve one's purpose. In the US nuclear proliferation specialists are indulging in nitpicking on the basis of NPT logic which they insist should apply to India.

In India too, scenarios of Cold War and past US 'perfidy' are recalled to question the feasibility of the implementation of July 18, 2005 joint statement.

In India there is a small group which understands and goes along with Condoleezza Rice's logic. If the compulsions on the US and the stakes the US has in its partnership with India are understood properly then there will be enough confidence in the US that it means what it says when it declares its intention to help India in its moves to develop into a world class power in the 21st century.


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 8:50 AM


The global defense industry is constantly shaping how borders are protected, wars are fought, terrorists are tracked and caught, and global security maintained. We aim to track news, policy, military exercises and strategic affairs between the world's largest democracies - India and the United States.

Given the vast interest and passion we have in this field, we decided to launch this blog to give visitors the ability to track these developments, exchange ideas and link to other sources of Information. Our primary sources and links can be found on the main page. Some of the pieces published herein our ours, otherwise it is reproduced from other sources (news, think-tanks or publications) to provide our readers the ability to interact and respond. The link to the original source can always be found under the article. Articles and op-ed pieces written by us include thoughts and opinions that are ours, not those of any government or political party. Last but not least, this blog is not-for-profit, nor is it financially supported by any corporation, entity or organization. It is purely to be used for informational purposes and not commercial and/or profit motives.

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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.
Cooperative Cope Thunder
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