The Alliance: U.S. & India Sign Major 10-Year Defense Pact
by Joe Katzman at June 30, 2005 09:35 AM
Yesterday, in my article on Bangladesh, I noted that the behaviour of its rising Islamists "is slowly forcing the US and India together over common strategic concerns."
Actually, Bangladesh is just one of many - and this week, The United States and India signed a 10-year agreement paving the way for stepped up military ties, including joint weapons production and cooperation on missile defense. Titled the "New Framework for the US-India Defense Relationship" (NFDR), it was signed on June 27/05 by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and India's Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
This is a big deal. A very big deal.
Our readers know that Winds has covered India with enthusiasm and promoted a US-India alliance for a number of reasons. Many of us are fans of the Anglosphere concept, and we also see the economic & cultural trends, historical and geopolitical logic, and moral sense behind such an alliance. I've even advocated a leaf from the British historical playbook via a "Mumbai Doctrine" for the Indian Ocean basin. As Pavitr Prabhakar could tell us, after all, "with great power comes great responsibility."
This agreement doesn't go that far, but it is a very important step. Under the NFDR, Washington has offered high-tech cooperation, expanded economic ties, and energy cooperation. It will also step up a strategic dialogue with India to boost missile defense and other security initiatives, launch a "defense procurement and production group," and work to cooperate on military "research, development, testing and evaluation." Given India's broken military procurement system, the know-how transfer will be every bit as valuable as the technology transfer - maybe more so.
And the agreement doesn't stop there...
As Winds' summary of China's Geopolitical driver and issues notes, however, the competition is implicit. Both China dn India need resources to fuel their growing and industrializing economies. Both have sizable expatriate communities in Africa, which has a lot of mineral resources and is unstable enough to be open to influence. Both also need to ship oil from the Middle East, and both will be shipping it through the Indian Ocean and watching the Straits of Malacca as an economic lifeline. Hence India's giant new naval base INS Kadamba, near Pakistan's deep-water port of Gwadar (built with Chinese help). Neither party has any interest in provoking anything, but both know that having a stronger position will matter down the road, and will affect everybody's calculations.
It doesn't get much stronger than being a geopolitical strategic partner of the United States. China doesn't have to be challenged directly or even mentioned to have its options hemmed, and that's what just happened.
Note, too, that the Vietnamese are also making friendly overtures toward the USA these days. Cam Ranh Bay is a very fine port - I wouldn't make a move just yet, but down the road it might make a fine foreign base for a naval ally with strong interests in the area.
Pretty soon some sad-eyed Chinese politician will have to campaign for election on a platform of being "stronger at home, and more respected abroad." Oh... right. Nevermind.
This is good news...
ARC: St Wendeler