Leon Panetta visits India - boost in Indo-US defence ties ?

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by Yusuf, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    The US Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta, may visit India in June to iron out creases in bilateral ties.

    The visit will be the first by a high-level official of Pentagon to India after bilateral defence ties came under stress last year following New Delhi’s decision to drop two US contenders from the fray of a contract for 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

    Panetta will hold talks with Defence Minister A K Antony. While the dates for his visit are yet to be finalised, sources told Deccan Herald that he might also call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his stay in New Delhi.

    Sources said that the discussion between Panetta and Antony might include the pending deals like Logistic Support Agreement (LSA) and Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement or BECA for geo-spatial ties. They would also discuss pending defence deals and explore ways to boost ties, sources added.
    Panetta’s meeting with Antony will be followed by India-US strategic dialogue, which will be led by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his American counterpart, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    India-US defence relation was somewhat strained after New Delhi dropped F-16IN Super Viper of Lockheed Martin and F/A-18 Super Hornet of Boeing from the competition for the US $10.4 billion contract for supplying MMRCAs to the IAF.

    A day after New Delhi short-listed Rafale of French Dassault Aviation and Eurofighter Typhoon of a European consortium on April 27, 2011, the then US envoy to India Timothy Roemer announced his resignation. Roemer had earlier stated that if New Delhi picked one of the two US MMRCAs, it could mark the next step in India-America strategic relations.

    The Rafale of French Dassault Aviation later won the MMRCA contract.

    US records regret

    Though Washington put on record its disappointment over New Delhi’s decision on the MMRCA deals, the US subsequently moved to ease ties with India and focused on negotiations on other pending defence deals. The armies of the two countries held a joint exercise last month. The annual naval exercise MALABAR was held earlier this month.

    Keen to lift bilateral ties out of the shadow of MMRCA setback, India and US on February 21 last had the bilateral Defence Policy Dialogue in New Delhi. Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and US Acting Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Jim Miller co-chaired the dialogue, which covered defence trade, military-to-military training and exercises as well as technical cooperation.

    India and US last Monday held a political-military dialogue after a gap of six years. Joint Secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Ashraf Javed, led the Indian delegation, while the American side was led by US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Andrew Shapiro. Both the delegations had representatives from the Ministry of Defence and US Department of Defence.

    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/243409/us-bid-iron-strained-ties.html
     
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  3. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    US open to defence ties with Myanmar: Panetta

    (AFP) June 2, 2012


    SINGAPORE — The United States would be open to forging ties with Myanmar's military if the country continues on a path of democratic reform, according to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

    "Obviously we encourage the reforms that they are hoping to put in place," Panetta told delegates at an Asia security summit in Singapore, the Shangri-La Dialogue, on Saturday.

    "As you know the State Department has taken steps to relieve some of the sanctions that have been placed on Myanmar and try to encourage them again to move in the right direction," he told representatives from 27 countries at the event, organised by the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

    "I think part and parcel of that, assuming that they are able to implement reforms and to continue the kind of political efforts at opening up their system, that a part and parcel of that would be discussions with regards to how we can improve our defence relationship with their country as well."

    After Myanmar carried out political reforms and freed democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, international sanctions have been eased on the government.

    Suu Kyi, during a visit to Bangkok on Friday, urged "healthy scepticism" over Myanmar's dramatic reforms, saying only the rule of law could cement recent political progress.

    A senior US defence official offered a more cautious forecast on expanding military ties to Myanmar, referring to it by its former name of Burma.

    "The secretary expects the government of Burma to continue on the path of reform and promotion of human rights, and once it shows progress in that regard, stronger military ties with Burma could be possible," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
     
  4. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Leon Panetta visits India - boost in India-US defence ties ?

    Panetta visit to boost India-US defence ties - Home - livemint.com

    India and the US will look to broaden defence ties during a visit this week by defence secretary Leon Panetta, officials said on Sunday.

    Panetta, a former chief of the US Central Intelligence Agency who took over as defence secretary from Robert Gates last year, is on his first visit to India in his current capacity.

    During his two-day stay on 5 and 6 June in New Delhi, Panetta is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, besides holding talks with his counterpart A.K. Antony. Panetta will also address the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses think tank.

    “The secretary has been eager to visit India since assuming his post last summer,” an unnamed US official was quoted as saying last week in a post on the US department of defence website.

    “We’re trying to have a relationship with India that is broad, strategic and continual. With India, we are getting to a place where this type of interaction is just part of the norm of the relationship, where we engage on a whole range of issues—strategic issues, cooperative issues and a whole range of cooperative issues,” the official said.

    Once mired in mutual suspicions, India-US defence ties have undergone a sea change from the days of the Cold War, when India was seen on the side of the former Soviet Union, and the US, with its military and other support to India’s arch-rival Pakistan, was seen as unsympathetic to India’s security concerns.

    In the 1990s, both sides moved towards greater contacts with the setting up of the defence policy group, institutionalizing a dialogue between the US defence department and India’s defence ministry.

    But India’s nuclear tests in 1998 and the subsequent sanctions soured the relationship, and it was only the removal of the strictures a decade ago that led to a resumption of civilian defence and military contacts in the form of joint exercises and dialogues.

    Panetta’s stopover in New Delhi after Singapore and Vietnam is unlikely to yield a far-reaching pact like the one clinched in 2005 when India and the US signed the landmark new framework in the India-US defence relationship that set the contours of their partnership for a decade. But his trip will be keenly watched as he could expand on what role the US would like India to play as Washington implements President Barack Obama’s “pivot towards the Asia-Pacific” strategy—underlining the US as a Pacific power despite planned cuts of about $500 billion in defence spending.

    “The core of what we’re trying to do in this swing through Asia is give a comprehensive account to everyone in the region about what the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific (region) will mean in practice,” the US official cited earlier said.

    In his speech at the ShangriLa Dialogue forum in Singapore over the weekend, Panetta reiterated the importance of the high-growth Asia-Pacific region to the US—naming China, India and Indonesia as examples of high-growth economies.

    Noting that the region has some of the world’s largest populations and the largest militaries, Panetta said, “While the US military will remain a global force for security and stability, we will of necessity rebalance towards the Asia-Pacific region,” according to a text of his speech posted on the website of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, which organized the Shangri-La Dialogue.

    The assurance comes against the backdrop of concerns among many countries in the region about the rise of China, its military modernization and the disputes over islands in the South China Sea that China claims as its territorial waters in its entirety.

    Chinese officials have been critical of the US’s shift of military emphasis to Asia, seeing it as an attempt to fence in the country and frustrate Beijing’s territorial claims.

    The new strategic guidance to the US department of defence released by Panetta in January says the US is “also investing in a long-term strategic partnership with India to support its ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region”—a key commercial sea route.

    “US economic and security interests are inextricably linked to developments in the arc extending from the Western Pacific and East Asia into the Indian Ocean region and South Asia,” the strategic guidance posted on the department of defence website said.

    On China, the guidance said the country’s emergence as a regional power “will have the potential to affect the US economy and our security in a variety of ways. ... the growth of China’s military power must be accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions in order to avoid causing friction in the region. ...Working closely with our network of allies and partners, we will continue to promote a rules-based international order that ensures underlying stability and encourages the peaceful rise of new powers, economic dynamism, and constructive defence cooperation.”

    “This is the hedging strategy” of India, the US and other countries in the region vis-a-vis China, said former foreign secretary and ex-ambassador to the US, Lalit Mansingh. “We don’t know which way China will turn, but we will be prepared, that is the idea.”

    India is often cited as having the potential to counter-balance China though the Indian government is reluctant to be seen as such.

    But India has in recent years signed defence pacts with a host of countries including Thailand and Vietnam, besides announcing its intention to post a defence attache in Seoul.

    On the bilateral front, Panetta will discuss defence trade with Indian leaders, as well as future US-Indian military-to-military relations, the outcome of the 20 May North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) summit in Chicago, and long-term trends in South Asia and the rest of the region.

    India has in recent years emerged as a major buyer of US military hardware, from an amphibious assault platform—the USS Trenton—to transport and reconnaissance aircraft.

    US envoy to India Nancy Powell was recently quoted as saying that defence hardware deals worth $8 billion were in the pipeline.

    Powell did not specify which firms she was talking about or when the deals will be signed, but embassy officials said she was referring to negotiations that include about a dozen Apache helicopters with engines for Indian jets, Reuters reported.

    “What India would like to see is joint research, development and manufacture of military hardware. We have not yet reached that stage of the offset policy,” Mansingh said.

    The situation in Afghanistan and US ties with Pakistan are also expected to be on the table, an Indian government official said, requesting anonymity.
     
  5. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    One important discussion that needs to take place between India and the US is how the US divides its military command around the Indian neighborhood.

    At present, the CENTCOM and PACOM basically divides Pakistan and India putting Pakistan as part of the Middle East and India as part of the Asia PAcific region. Apparently the Americans also believed that the Pakistanis are more a part of the ME than Indian subcontinent

    This division has to change and Indian defence collaboration has to include both CENTCOM, PACOM and possibly the AFRICOM collaboration as well as all these regions are in core Indian interests. Infact, the Persian Gulf and Central Asian countries are more crucial to Indian interests than most of the far off Pacific countries that PACOM is a part of.

    Without a re-organisation and better collaboration with India, the US will not be able to effectively co-operate with India on defence issues in this region. And this has to begin by reliasing the importance of Indian influence across the the three commands

    [​IMG]
     
  6. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    The existing divisions among US commands are not barriers. Communications exist across the commands. Or, I hope so.
     
  7. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    it's a good tatic on the part of the U.S, forge defense ties with India and on the other hand keep military supplies to pakistan, so that they can take down taliabn with the new upgraded F-16's.
     
  8. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    most of the state department officials as well as military senior officials are still very supportive of pakistan. they still think that taliban support for kashmir is
    ok and only the taliban support AF is not good. most of them have been grommed up from cold war era. so supporting pakistan is like one of 10 commendments. India US ties will be slow and gradual, as per the needs of the two countries, not because we are democracies or blah blah, but just cold strategic interests. also U.S will keep pakistan on sidelines, becasue it's pakistan to whom U.S will run to, in case of any dirty work which needs to be done
    in central asia.
     
  9. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    one more thing, pakistan is banking on the US military hardware stuck in Afghanistan. it is playing a wait and watch game. righ now it wants the U.S to give some of teh equipment to pakistan, so that pakistan can use that as a black mail against india. India will have to see how of that equipment is U.S willing to give it to pakistan. even though the political relationship between PAK and US is down. I'm still not sure about the military relationship. some in the U.S army would be more than willing to leave the war equipment to the pakistani army in the name of good will or strategic interest.
     
  10. latsar

    latsar Regular Member

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    India should buy these hardware from US and route it out through Iran if the US is unable to get it out of Afgan.
     
  11. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    well paki army has their eys set on U.S military equipment stuck in afghanistan. it remains to be seen as to how U.S will to pakistan.
     
  12. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    I really don't think it matters which command India falls into as the relations between India and US have reached another level and there is cooperation all round. We are having joint patrol from Hormuz to Malaccas. Like Ewald said, communication will be seamless.
     
  13. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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    China warns US against Asia-Pacific plans

    The warnings came in the People's Daily - the main newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party - and Liberation Army Daily - the main paper of the nation's military, and amplified milder comments from the Foreign Ministry on Monday.
    China warns US against Asia-Pacific plans
     
  14. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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    Pentagon chief heads to India amid US focus on Asia

    By Dan De Luce (AFP) – 2 hours ago

    HANOI — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta headed to India on Tuesday for talks focusing on Washington's strategic shift towards Asia, as US officials eye New Delhi as a potentially pivotal partner.

    Security ties to India have steadily improved in recent years but US officials have yet to realise the goal of a game-changing alliance that could check China's role and empower the two countries' economies, analysts say.

    During his two-day visit, Panetta is expected to discuss expanding defence ties, the NATO war effort in Afghanistan and China's increasing economic and military power in the region, US officials said.

    Panetta is due to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon on Tuesday afternoon along with other officials, before giving a policy speech on Wednesday, officials said.

    In President Barack Obama's new strategy blueprint unveiled in January, India is the only country mentioned by name as a vital partner.

    US officials say the two countries share democratic traditions and similar concerns about China's stance as well as the threat posed by Islamic extremists in South Asia.
    AFP: Pentagon chief heads to India amid US focus on Asia

    "Strategically, we see India as a partner with a lot of common interests," a senior defence official said on condition of anonymity.
     
  15. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    @W.G.Ewald and Yusuf

    Ofcourse there may be communication between PACOM and CENTCOM, but when you get down to the opreational level in mil to mil ties there is exchange of liason officers that will sit in one of those commands and exchange information. If for example India has liason officers sitting only in the PACOM section, then there is no operational exchange of info about what is happening in CENTCOM.

    Ofcourse, it could be that GoI at the moment just doesn not want the kind of contact with the US where there is exchange of operational information for being seen as too much in the "US camp"

    In any case, there is some interesting "Wikileaked" info on what was happening on this particular issue
    http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/article1579399.ece
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  16. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    ** double post**
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  17. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    That is an interesting issue that you raise.

    As far as the US is concerned, Indian involvement is confined to Pacific Command.

    And yet, Pakistan is in the Central Command's focus.

    Therefore, logically it means that the US relates India as a bulwark for China and not with Pakistan!

    The US and India's perceptions on Pakistan, it appears, is not the same.

    In short, we are being viewed in the US strategic calculus against China!

    It does not suit us, but then something is better than nothing is what MMS and Sonia feels!
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Sridhar,

    It is all political placebos,

    Strategic partner and so on and so forth.

    Yet, nothing concrete and no Javelins either!

    Pleasant words at best!
     
  19. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Panetta to encourage India for larger role in war

    Panetta to encourage India for larger role in war - seattlepi.com
     
  20. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well I think a lot has changed with the US view on Pakistan in the last year or so.

    The US has been pushing for Indian involment in Afghanistan, and the GCC countries which are all CENTCOM countries. With US pivoting to East Asia, I think it would be natural to expect India to take a broader security role in the Arabian sea and forge and possibly inherit the close security ties the US has with the GCC bloc. This would be of great value vis a vis the Chinese.

    We have the Defence dialouge this week and the MEA linked strategic dialouge later so lets see what outcomes are dicussed in the next month or so. I would hope that Javelin missile sales like these are not really curtailed because it would be stupid on the part of the Americans to do so.
     
  21. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    U.S.-India to Talk Defense Tech Transfer, Co-Production | Defense News | defensenews.com

    ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT — The Pentagon is looking to broaden its military relationship with India in the coming years across a multitude of areas including technology transfer and co-production of equipment.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is scheduled to speak about this and other defense-related issues in meetings with a number of Indian officials during a two-day visit to New Delhi. He is supposed to meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defense Minister A. K. Antony and national security adviser Shivshankar Menon.

    U.S. and Indian officials are also expected to discuss military equipment modernization and technology transfer, a senior defense official said.

    “We are going to be basically trying to figure out now and over the coming years how we keep moving our bilateral defense trade relationship forward,” the official said.

    During the past decade, New Delhi has purchased more than $8 billion in U.S. weapons. India’s defense industry is expected to grow more robust and sophisticated in the coming years, the official said.

    “We really think that India’s military modernization is an important thing that we support,” the official said.

    U.S. officials also plan to discuss co-production opportunities. This is already occurring with C-130 cargo plane spare parts, the official said.

    “We want to talk about high-tech cooperation,” the official said. “We want to talk about a lot of places this relationship can go. Those will be … advances that flow out over years.”

    The U.S. relationship with India has steadily improved during the past decade, following the implementation of sanctions, which have since been removed, after New Delhi conducted a nuclear weapon test in 1998. The militaries of both countries have participated in a number of joint exercises that have increased in scope and complexity.

    Last year the countries partnered in more than 50 military-related activities.

    “We believe that is very important to help India modernize its capabilities and develop its military capabilities so it can be a net provider of security in the region and internationally,” a second senior defense official said.

    Panetta has traveled to India as CIA director, but this is his first visit as the defense secretary.

    He will give a major policy speech at India’s oldest think tank, the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA), where he is expected to elaborate on the role the Pentagon envisions India playing in its new Pacific-focused military strategy. India is the only country mentioned by name in the strategy.

    DoD believes India will play a critical role “promoting peace and stability and economic prosperity in the broader Asia-Pacific region,” the second senior defense official said.

    To that end, the United States wants India to play a larger role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan through economic and training support.

    “Over the last 10 years, for a variety of reasons, India has not played a particularly active role in Afghanistan, even though steadily it’s increased its economic investments in Afghanistan, helping with the economic reconstruction of that country,” the official said.

    India has trained Afghan army and police in the past, “but on a relatively small scale,” the official said.

    The Pentagon hopes New Delhi will consider an increased training role.

    “We welcome India playing a more active role in Afghanistan, a more active political and economic role,” the official said. “We welcome India’s contributions to training the Afghan national army and Afghan national police.”

    The meetings in New Delhi come as U.S. relations with Pakistan have been strained. Pakistan shut down U.S. supply routes into Afghanistan after a U.S. strike mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

    As U.S. and NATO forces begin drawing down troops in Afghanistan in advance of the planned 2014 exit, defense officials expect neighboring nations to play a larger role in the country’s reconstruction.

    “We would like to see all of the neighbors, including Pakistan and India, harmonize their approaches, because they do share an interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the official said.
     

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