‘Foreign-defence joint strategic dialogue with US not feasible’

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by ejazr, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.inewsone.com/2011/06/14/...strategic-dialogue-with-us-not-feasible/56604

    New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) With the US keen on a joint foreign-defence strategic dialogue with India, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Tuesday he did not favour such talks as this was not the way his ministry functioned.

    ‘We are following certain procedures and systems. As far as the defence ministry is concerned, so far we have not felt the need for any kind of two-plus-two (joint foreign and defence ministry) dialogue with any country at the ministerial level,’ Antony told reporters here on the sidelines of an army event.

    He was reacting to queries on reports that he had put his foot down on a US proposal to India to have a joint dialogue between their foreign and defence ministers.

    The defence ministry has objected to the US suggestion that the Indian ministers of defence and external affairs should hold talks with the American defence secretary and the secretary of state at joint meetings under the strategic dialogue process between the two countries.

    The proposal has now been given up and hence the two streams of dialogues on strategic affairs and defence between India and US the will now continue in existing bilateral formats.

    ‘The two-plus-two dialogue is not our practice. Our defence dialogues are always bilateral. They are more effective and more useful. So we believe that at the ministerial level, two-plus-two is not effective. That is why we have not so far
    engaged in any kind of two-plus-two with any country,’ Antony said.

    He said the defence ministry wanted to continue with the existing system of ministerial dialogues.

    ‘We don’t find any reason to change that system we are following from the very beginning. Let it be. With the US also, we will continue our defence dialogue,’ he added, referring to the bilateral visits of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates to India twice in the last four years and his own visits to Washington.

    ‘We have the defence dialogue. Our policy is only bilateral. So ministerial level two-plus-two is not the practice we are following…that is the main thing,’ he said.

    Clarifying that it should not be construed as anti-US, Antony said: ‘Don’t say it is against anybody. We are saying no to such dialogues with everybody. Our relations with the US are very, very friendly and this is steadily increasing,’ he said, noting that the next round of defence dialogue between him and the US defence secretary will happen in Delhi at a mutually convenient date.

    ‘Relations are improving, but we have a pattern (of dialogue) and that will not be changed,’ he made it clear.

    Antony had in April cancelled a ‘two-plus-two’ meeting with the US, citing assembly elections in India, including in his home state Kerala.

    On the $10.4 billion tender for 126 combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force, Antony made it clear that India will strictly go by the trial report and price of the contending aircraft.

    India had last month down selected two European firms — EADS and Dassault — to continue in the tender, rejecting the proposals from US firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Russian company United Aircraft Corporation and Swedish firm SAAB.

    ‘MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) is a business deal. It is not US-centric. Six candidates were there (in the fray). Everybody wants to get the contract. So all of them tried to win the contract, which is natural. I do not think it is any pressure,’ he said.

    ‘But Indian procurement system is so transparent, so open…there is no political decision or interference. Everybody will get a level-playing field and the ultimate decision will be based on a strict profession decision relying on trials and prices. There will be no other consideration,’ he added.
     
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  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I think this is an unnecessary step and mistake on the part of AK Antony. There is no reason to NOT have a join Foreign-Defence dialogue particularly when we are talking about the global picture.

    We need to work with the US to maintain and extend our influence or at least maintain the current balance of power in areas as far away as Africa and East Asia to closer areas like the Middle East and ASEAN including South Asia.

    Having a joint dialogue will allow us to be quick and proactive on this issue and to say that we don't have this joint dialogue with any other country is with all due respect a farcical reason to not have one with the US.
     
  4. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    US can not be trusted on Global Operations. We are looking for strategic solutions in region than following US policy of finding immediate short term resolutions. Antony is maintaining right stand on his part. If there is any real necessity of so, PMO will be doing the needful.
     
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  5. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    whats advantage /disadvantage of "two-plus-two dialogue" .is it sucessfull with other countries
     
  6. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    A dialogue is a dialogue. It doesn't mean we have to listen and follow everything the US wants. But it would have allowed us to have a quick response to global issues and both foreign policy and defense goes hand in hand.

    For example to tackle piracy we need foreign affairs to work with Somalia and Yemen and our defense to militarily tackle the pirates. There are other examples that can come up. But having a joint dialogue would have been quite helpful in understanding US priorities and apprising them of OUR priorities as well.
     
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  7. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    Recent Russian snub has made Antony dhoti shiver.
    An over reaction by MoD.
     
  8. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Bilateral dialogue is underway & unshaken. Strategic meets are on schedule. Why ministry-level engagement?

    2+2 meeting means sharing more info than required. Such engagement compromises ministry postures. Why indulge in something which will asymmetrically benefit opposite party when other means are efficient?

    Rest assured PMO can always meddle between departments & convey only the needful.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  9. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Antony has always been extra cautious to fault. In an apparent bid to keep his corruption free image he does the next best thing, delay decision making. Almost all decisions have been delayed, retenderd multiple times. Even now for the aircraft deal we see that after the technical decision has been taken still the commercial bids have not been opened. It will take donkey's years to get get a decision from our Def. Minister.

    This is the same gentleman who postponed his meeting with his US counterpart as he was preoccupied with the Kerela elections. Obviously for him the party and the state come before the nation.

    Ejazr is correct :
    If we are entering into defence deals and other far reaching agreements with the US we have to broaden our engagement with them. We cannot expect to see US in the context of Indo-Pak relations only. It is time we grew up as a nation and start thinking in line with our size and importance in the Global arena.
     
  10. debasree

    debasree Regular Member

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    first us stop giving aid to pakistan only then we should go for any meaningfull relation ship with us.
     
  11. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    I'm not sure US will stop giving aid to pakistan, recently they have put conditions on that aid, but they won't completely stop giving aid.
     
  12. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    This is music to my ears.
     
  13. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I don't see why "giving Pakistan aid" should be the reason why India should NOT have close relationship with the US. Militarily in a few years the US will become the top providers of military h/w ahead of Russia and Israel. And besides, US aid to Pakistan is hardly changing the balance of power in S. Asia. It is the Chinese factor that is more of a concern especially with regard to nuclear assistance.

    And India can then use the relationship Pakistan has with the US as a lever to influence Pakistan to change its act. The dialouge is to make sure the US understands our concerns and we understand theirs. We don't have to follow everything they say. And this will also give us leverage in our relationships with China too.

    And leaving Pakistan aside, joint US-India dialouge will be useful for building Indian linkages among US network of allies. For example, jump starting relationships with Japan, S. Korea, Egypt, GCC countries e.t.c. and using US influence to further Indian interests.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  14. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Even thought i greatly dislike the idea of India jumping into bed with the yanks, i must agree with what you've written.
     
  15. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    Ejazr.....I think you would make a better defense minister than Anthony. This guy is just not very bright and is more interested in his own political career and reputation than he is about getting the job done, or putting his Armed Forces in the best position possible. He is just not dynamic, and his whole "dhoti wearing style of doing business" is an embarrassment to Malayalees everywhere.

    He may be okay as Chief Minister of sleepy Kerala, but he is out of his depth as Defense Minister.
    I think this goes to a larger problem with Indian politics - primarily, the age of senior Indian politicians. Most of these guys are pushing 65 to 70 and are just too old, and not willing to do anything that might bear the risk of failure, or lose an election.

    Strategic relations at the international level is like business, in that, unless you are willing to take calculated risks from time to time - your are going to stagnate, or simply fall behind others.

    Every the US steps forward to broaden a strategic partnership with India, they get the Indians stepping back.
    At some point, the US is just going to say screw it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  16. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I am not discouraging close relations with US. MMS is pro-US & has changed core congress's no-US stance.

    This is not about, should we deeply engage with US or not. We are already engaged with them. These talks are mutually beneficial. This is about, what mean should be implemented. And I dont see any necessity to engage on ministerial level in joint meeting. All the concerns of both the parties can be efficiently conveyed in current strategic dialogue. There is CCS which receives inputs from the team engaged in strategic/bilateral dialogue & then can command the needful. We don't need to disclose ministry's internal stand on various issue to US.

    And again as I said PMO can always intervene & setup any required meeting at any demanded instance, no need to make SOP out for it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  17. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    I think the other issue is style of doing business. Indians are much more protocol orientated. Everyone should meet someone at same level of seniority, etc. You should never step over the chain of command. Personally, I think its part of the hangover from the British colonial days. This type of process leads to very slow decision making.

    Americans on the other hand care less about protocol and are more concerned about getting the task done, in whatever manner is most efficient and quick.
     
  18. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    ^^ You are largely right Mattster.

    Since inception GOI has always been traditional & little conservative in external operations. The mechanism adopted has its own pro & cons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  19. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    I think it boils down to the current system of the Govt. where decision making process has been largely delegated to consensus making process. Most of the decisions today are being taken by the GOMs or EGOMs rather than the ministry concerned or the PM.
     
  20. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    Now I agree with you completely on this. In India everything is a very slow grinding process. nothing gets done quickly.
    it's slow grinder. I can understand why US gets frustrated. even countries like sri laka and pakistan much more fast in decision making. may that's good for India. India's strategic equation will get better with US once US gets completely frustrated with pakistan.
     

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