US more at ease with India's rise than China's ascent

Feb 16, 2009
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US more at ease with India's rise than China's ascent

WASHINGTON: The United States is more comfortable with the rise of India than it is with the ascent of China, a major new US strategic review
report has revealed.

The Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) 2010 has recognized ''a more influential role in global affairs'' for India including in the Indian Ocean region and beyond based on its commonalities with the US, while expressing Washington’s concern about the nature of China’s military development and decision-making processes.

The rise of China and India is a prominent theme underlying the QDR, a four-yearly document that offers a broad outline of US security posture that was released on Tuesday. While jettisoning the long-held goal of being able to fight two conventional wars at once (just when India is considering it) and recognizing a new range of threats including terrorism, the review also spells out US views of the two countries (China and India) it says will shape the international system in the years to come.

''As the economic power, cultural reach, and political influence of India increase, it is assuming a more influential role in global affairs,'' the review notes, adding, ''This growing influence, combined with democratic values it shares with the United States, an open political system, and a commitment to global stability, will present many opportunities for cooperation."

The review says India’s military capabilities are rapidly improving through increased defense acquisitions, and they now include long-range maritime surveillance, maritime interdiction and patrolling, air interdiction, and strategic airlift. ''India has already established its worldwide military influence through counterpiracy, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief efforts,'' it observes, adding, quite emphatically, that ''As its military capabilities grow, India will contribute to Asia as a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond.''

The US policy projection comes at a time when there is much talk of India and China jostling for position and influence in the Indian Ocean region, and there are doubts and hand-wringing in New Delhi over Washington sidelining India in Afghanistan. in deference to a Pakistan-China flaking move. But the 2010 QDR is distinctly upbeat about its India outlook overall compared to reservations – laced with respect -- about China.

THE QDR says China’s growing presence and influence in regional and global economic and security affairs ''is one of the most consequential aspects of the evolving strategic landscape in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.'' In particular, it notes, China’s military has begun to develop new roles, missions, and capabilities in support of its growing regional and global interests, ''which could enable it to play a more substantial and constructive role in international affairs.'' So far, the review is pretty much in line with what Washington apportions for India.

But it then goes on to say that while the US welcomes a strong, prosperous, and successful China playing a greater global role, ''lack of transparency and the nature of China’s military development and decision-making processes raise legitimate questions about its future conduct and intentions within Asia and beyond.''

Outlining China’s military expansion, the review says Beijing ''has shared only limited information about the pace, scope, and ultimate aims of its military modernization programs, raising a number of legitimate questions regarding its long-term intentions.''

''Our relationship with China must therefore be multidimensional and undergirded by a process of enhancing confidence and reducing mistrust in a manner that reinforces mutual interests. The US and China should sustain open channels of communication to discuss disagreements in order to manage and ultimately reduce the risks of conflict that are inherent in any relationship as broad and complex as that shared by these two nations,'' the Review notes, in an analysis that foresees a possible adversarial relationship.

The review says the US faces a complex and uncertain security landscape in which the pace of change continues to accelerate and the distribution of global political, economic, and ''military power is becoming more diffuse.'' The rise of China and India will continue to shape an international system that is no longer easily defined – ''one in which the US will remain the most powerful actor but must increasingly work with key allies and partners if it is to sustain stability and peace.''

''Whether and how rising powers fully integrate into the global system will be among this century’s defining questions, and are thus central to America’s interests,'' the QDR notes.

Virtually abandoning the US military's traditional goal of being able to fight two conventional wars at once, the QDR instead emphases a new range of threats, including irregular warfare and cybersecurity. Urging a rethink on the ''construct'' of national security, U.S defense secretary Robert Gates told reporters at Pentagon while releasing the report that ''we have learned through painful experience that the wars we fight are seldom the wars that we planned''

In one of several references to the Af-Pak imbroglio, the QDR says the United States recognizes that Pakistan is at the geopolitical crossroads of South and Central Asia, giving it an important regional role in security and stability. ''Our efforts in Afghanistan are inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan. Though our partnership with Pakistan is focused urgently on confronting al-Qaida and its allies, America’s interest in Pakistan’s security and prosperity will endure long after the campaign ends. While the epicenter of the terrorist threat to the US is rooted in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the war against al-Qaida and its allies continues around the world,'' it says.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
TOI has become uncle's always produce articles serving uncle's interest..China is rising fast and is challenging uncle in world arena.If uncle was so much at ease with india's rise then why for last 6 decades uncle has been undermining india in every field (be it kashmir,pakistan,bangladesh,afghanistan nuclear tech,space tech.etc).Now that india has developed all these tecs without uncles help they want piece of it or to curb india's stride in ABM,space,nuke tech<aviation etc.India has readched at a juncture in technological avancement that india can now easily jump into future tecs,which uncle wants to curb..

Secondly uncle wants to make india as their lapdog against china so as to keep chinese on their toes like they did with pakistan to keep india on leash.Its nice try by control china use indi and to control india use pakistan.


Senior Member
Jan 17, 2010
to control china use indi and to control india use pakistan.
savvy remarks!
The US policy projection comes at a time when there is much talk of India and China jostling for position and influence in the Indian Ocean region
China lacks naval capability to do this while consuming itself in South China Sea disputes


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
wait tell 2012 when china's 1st aircraft carrier floats.


Senior Member
Jan 17, 2010
Obama focus on coalitions may buoy U.S. arms exports
Andrea Shalal-Esa
Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:45pm EDTWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration's focus on building coalitions may spur more global arms sales for the world's leading weapons exporter, a welcome prospect for U.S. defense contractors facing a shrinking defense budget at home.

Barack Obama | Japan | Saudi Arabia | Turkey

The global recession may dampen or delay the foreign appetite for weapons orders somewhat, but many countries' arsenals are in urgent need of modernization.

Even in tough economic times, countries generally view defense accounts as a top priority, particularly given mounting concerns about enemy missile attacks and other threats, said Eric Edelman, who served as undersecretary of defense for policy during the Bush administration.

Edelman, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Finland, said demand would likely remain high for cutting-edge U.S. products such as precision munitions, unmanned aerial vehicles and missile defense capabilities.

"A lot of countries are going to be looking for American goods and services," said Edelman, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. "There is a good market out there."

U.S. defense cuts announced by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in April are also spurring American companies to pursue foreign orders more aggressively, he said.


U.S. companies are already vying for huge fighter and helicopter orders from India, helicopter work in Australia and shipbuilding work for Saudi Arabia and others.

Exports should also be buoyed as orders materialize from Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway -- the partner countries helping to develop Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet. Valued at over $200 billion, the radar-evading jet is the world's biggest weapons program.

Israel, Singapore, Japan and Spain were also interested in ordering the fighter, said Marine Corps Brigadier General David Heinz, head of the F-35 program. Work could start on pricing airplanes for Israel by the end of the year, he said.

Some lawmakers, keen to maintain production of the F-22 fighter, also built by Lockheed, have revived the idea of exporting that fighter to a select few allies, such as Japan.

At the same time, Lockheed's C-130 transport plane and Boeing Co's C-17 could pick up extra orders in Europe, given delays in the A400M plane developed by EADS.

Raytheon Co, which says big demand for Patriot missiles from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Taiwan boosted global sales by 20 percent last year, forecasts even greater growth of 22 percent to 24 percent in 2009.

U.S. arms deals soared nearly 50 percent to $24.8 billion in 2007, accounting for 41.5 percent of all such agreements. The top five buyers were Australia, Turkey, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. [ID:nN04224011]

Analysts and industry executives say President Barack Obama is likely to continue the Bush administration's focus on training and equipping foreign militaries. Sales may even get a boost from Obama's drive to build coalitions and partnerships.

Obama "is beginning to realize that we just don't have as much money and power as we used to," said analyst Loren Thompson with the Virginia-based Lexington Institute.

"That is making him start to think, how can I improve my trade balance? How can I get other countries to carry some of the burden of global security? How can I reduce the price tag of my defense establishment?"

More sales of U.S. weapons systems would make it easier for American troops and partner countries to operate together on the battlefield, using common systems to share data, communicate and coordinate any strikes, Thompson said.

Michele Flournoy, the current undersecretary of defense for policy, last month underscored the growing importance of concerted action. She said Washington could use targeted arms sales to help U.S. partners increase their capacity to deal with emerging threats, such as Iran's missile program.

"When we look at the full range of security challenges that we face -- terrorism, proliferation, economic security issues, climate change -- there is not a single one that the United States alone can deal with effectively," Flournoy said. "You need coalitions and partners to deal with these challenges."

The Pentagon is assessing allies' needs to establish a basis for deciding what weapons are provided to whom.


Richard Grimmett, a security specialist who compiles the Congressional Research Service's annual report on international arms sales, said the global recession might slow the blockbuster sales of recent years, but there would still be plenty of orders for spare parts and upgrades.

Paul Nisbet, analyst with JSA Research, said Democratic control of Congress and the White House offers an opportunity to reform U.S. export control laws that companies say hamper their ability to compete overseas. Lawmakers often weigh in to keep sophisticated systems like the F-22 solely for U.S. use.

Military services are also sometimes reluctant to export key weapons to protect the American technical edge.

But Edelman notes that it often take years before such weapons are then actually fielded by foreign countries, a lag time that helps protect the U.S. lead.

The next test for the arms trade could be whether the U.S. Senate acts to approve treaties negotiated with Australia and Britain to ease restrictions on defense trade.

But getting those treaties ratified by the Senate would take a "certain amount of political capital," and it was not yet clear that the Obama administration viewed the issue as a top priority, he said.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
US arms cartel cranking up its presence in Indian weapons bazaar

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

Some months before Bob Dylan wrote these lines about the US weapons industry in the song Masters of War, outgoing President Dwight Eisenhower coined the term ‘Military-Industrial Complex’ in his 1961 farewell address.

He cautioned against its “total influence... economic, political, even spiritual...felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government”. As a former general and war hero himself, Eisenhower recognized the imperative need for military muscle powered by domestic industry.

Yet, he warned, “We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

Half a century later, the influence of the now notorious ‘mil-ind complex’ remains not just undiminished, but has expanded enormously. Successive American presidents, including professed pacifists such as Jimmy Carter who took office after the Vietnam War promising to curb arms trade, have been unable to staunch its rampant growth. Contrary to popular perception that this monster grows mostly during Republican administrations, even Democratic dispensations have bowed before its clout.

Galloping to vulgar proportions during the Reagan years, when the so-called toilet seat scandal (in which the Pentagon paid $600 for each toilet seat and $3,000 for a coffee pot in examples of procurement system run amok) erupted, it did not end even after the Cold War. The Clinton administration continued to feed the beast. And then there was 9/11... and Iraq...and Afghanistan... and Pakistan. Today, the beast is casting its shadow on India.


The idea that there are ‘masters of war’ whose bottomline is benefited by conflict is not really new. Decades ago, in an essay titled ‘El Pentagonismo, Sustituto del Imperialismo’ (Pentagonism, Substitute of Imperialism), Dominican writer-politician Juan Bosch called the US a “Pentagonized society ” where international policy is not controlled by the civil government, but by “Pentagonism” that needs frequent wars anywhere so it can generate wealth by creating industries, and jobs by bagging arms contracts.

In his 2003 novel Scarecrow (also made into a movie), Australian writer Matthew Reilly depicts a group of leaders of a worldwide military-industrial complex , who engineer wars for profits. In 2005, Nicholas Cage played lead role in Lord of War, a movie endorsed by Amnesty International that highlighted arms trafficking by the ‘mil-ind complex’.

The truth may not be as cynical or sinister, but the fact is wars, or at least a constant state of tension and potential conflict, is good for the arms industry and its bottomline. At a time of tremendous economic convulsions and stagnation in the US throughout the decade after 9/11, major players of the so-called mil-ind complex, among the top five, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, and General Dynamics, continued to mint money hand over fist, often selling weapons and technology to antagonists: Israel and its Arab/Gulf opponents, Greece and Turkey, China and Japan/Taiwan/South Korea. Pakistan, which for decades has been a loyal client of the US arms industry, and India, a more recent convert, may well be the latest suckers in this double-edged game.

For all the talk of making the world a better place that fetched the US president a Nobel Prize, things don’t look like changing much in the Obama administration. Perhaps a little minor tinkering in the script to humour the self-righteous, but otherwise it is business as usual for the milind folks.

If anything, with increasingly sophisticated weaponry and warfare tactics (think drones, robots, ballistic missile defence etc), unending conflict , and newly instigated match-ups (China vs India, Japan, South Korea etc) the mil-ind monster is set to expand its footprint even more.


To begin with, despite the natter about the decline, if not demise, of the US, American military muscle remains undiminished. Out of a total projected world military spending of $1.4 trillion in 2010, Washington is expected to account for half, nearly $700 billion. That’s more than the rest of the world combined.

Most of this is spent and consumed internally as the mil-ind giants, in cahoots with lawmakers, milk the system in a Faustian spirit to generate economic activity and jobs, spurred on by wars abroad.

According to one estimate, between May 1999 and May 2009, employment in the US private sector only rose by 1.1%, by far the lowest 10-year increase in the post-Depression period. Take away the health sector and it was negative. The manufacturing sector shrank by nearly 20%. No prizes for guessing where the growth came from. Military production has more than doubled from the year 2000 and added tens of thousands of jobs.

Although exports constitute only around 10% of the US mil-ind complex’s revenues, selling overseas is increasingly coming into play to keep the assembly lines, especially obsolete ones, humming. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Lockheed Martin’s F-16 plant in Fort Worth, Texas, which has lived on meagre orders from Pakistan and Taiwan in the past few years after even the US Air Force moved on to newer toys.

According to a US Congressional Research Service report on ‘Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations’, in 2006, Washington agreed to sell $10.3 billion in weapons to the developing world, or 35.8% of these deals worldwide. Russia was second with $8.1 billion, or 28.1%, and Britain was third with $3.1 billion, or 10.8%. The buyers? Pakistan topped with $5.1 billion in agreements, followed by India with $3.5 billion, and Saudi Arabia with $3.2 billion.

Since then, the script has changed slightly. Broke beyond salvation and eyed with suspicion, Pakistani purchases are tailing off even though it still hankers after crumbs thrown by Washington and manages to rustle up enough borrowed money to cater to its military’s fetish for expensive new weaponry (citing India as a threat).

But the big new market is India In the past few years, US companies and their rivals in Europe have been smacking their lips at the prospect of multi-billion sales to New Delhi. Although India’s defence expenditure, at only around 2% of its GDP, is still among the lowest in the world on a per capita basis, its growing economy has expanded its military budget to $30 billion plus annually. A military that has been run to the ground with obsolete equipment and technology is also seeking newer hardware to keep up with the times and face challenges of the 21st century.

So, 2010 may well be the watershed year in which India is coaxed to leave behind a tattered Pakistan (whose only weapons may well be irregular warfare in the form of terrorism or the ultimate nuclear threat) and cajoled into a matchup with China, whose military budget is more than three times India’s at $100 billion plus.

In course of the year, New Delhi will receive not only US President Barack Obama, but a host of European leaders from Germany, France, Italy and UK, all plying their military wares (among other things). At the root of this sales pitch: fears expressed in some Indian quarters about China’s policy of encirclement and Beijing’s imminent domination of the Indian Ocean and beyond.

That line of thinking pretty much underscores most of India’s recent and upcoming military acquisitions, including the order for 126 multi-role combat aircraft that will be the single largest deal in Indian history.

“What India currently has in terms of planes is sufficient to take care of Pakistan,” says Mohan Guruswamy, director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, who was in the US last week to promote his book Chasing the Dragon: Will India catch up with China? “It’s China that India is now worrying about.” Indeed, much of US arms sales are now premised on a match-up with China, with Pakistan, looking increasingly fragile, a mere sideshow.


While some analysts credit hawks in the Bush administration with planting “China-is-a-threatto-India” in New Delhi’s mind, thereby compelling New Delhi to step up its defence acquisition and force level to deter Beijing, the truth is a little more layered.

It was New Delhi which cited China (and by implication, its nuclear transfers to Pakistan) as the prime reason for its 1998 nuclear tests. It was only after the Bush administration’s strategic embrace of India, culminating in the nuclear deal, that China became overtly testy and cranked up its border confrontation with India which was largely on the backburner till then. While India saw China surrounding it with a string of pearls strategy, Beijing viewed New Delhi’s dalliance with US and its allies Japan, South Korea, Vietnam etc, equally suspiciously.

All this suits the great American mil-ind complex perfectly in Republican years or Democratic, although the system is better lubricated when conservatives and Cold War relics are in power in the White House and on the Hill.

At no time was its clout better displayed than during the Bush years, when a coalition of conservative thinktanks (such as the Center for Security Policy), milind backed lawmakers, hardline administration officials and the arms merchants joined hands to push projects like missile defence systems and new fighter jets. By one count, there were 22 alumni of the CSP serving in the Bush administration.

The story goes that at one CSP dinner, then defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld joked that “I was thinking of calling a staff meeting, but I think I’ll wait until tomorrow.” Of the 32 former executives, consultants or major shareholders of weapons manufacturers who were appointed to important positions in the Bush administration, eight had ties to Lockheed Martin, according to a report in the Nation journal.

Key company alumni included undersecretary of the air force Peter Teets, who had authority over the acquisition of military space systems, and Everet Beckner, who was in charge of nuclear weapons activities at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

“In short, the nuclear weapons industry doesn’t need to lobby the Bush Administration, to a significant degree, they are the Bush Administration,” said William Hartung , author of How Much Are You Making on the War Daddy? A Quick and Dirty Guide to War Profiteering in the Bush Administration, who wrote the Nation article.

It’s not just Cold War warriors and policy wonks who bat for the arms lobby; many lawmakers do too, compelled by the need to keep jobs in their constituencies and states.

When India announced its intention to buy 126 multi-role combat aircraft in a deal that could be worth at least $10 billion to begin with, Missouri’s Republican senator Kit Bond headed off to New Delhi in no time. The prime reason: Boeing manufactures the F-18 Super Hornet jets in St Louis, Missouri, where bagging the 126-plane India order could mean continued employment for 25,000 people, not to speak of profits for Boeing.

Bond met with the Prime Minister, the defence minister, the national security advisor and the external affairs minister, among others, openly lobbying for the F-18 Super Hornet. “Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, the F-15 and F/A-18 are the finest tactical fighters for our nation’s and our allies’ defence,” he said at one point.

“The US is looking to India as more than just a marketplace for our defence products, but as a technology, aerospace and strategic partner for our future endeavours.” That deal is still up in the air (the Russians, Swedes, French and British are also in the race) as New Delhi puts the bidders through user trials etc, but don’t expect the Americans to sit back.


American officials though insist that there is more to American military sales to India than mere mercenary motive of its mil-ind complex. A senior administration official who reviewed US-India military ties with this correspondent recently pointed out that many Washington sales were policy driven, including helping India during the Kargil War.

In fact, Boeing got into the act with its F-18 pitch only after Condoleezza Rice alerted the company to Washington’s decision to offer an even better deal to India after it decided to agree to Pakistan’s pleas for F-16 s. While that example also goes to illustrate how US sells weapons to two antagonistic sides, US officials say the role of the arms lobby, at least insofar as India goes, is vastly overstated.

Last month, this ‘dual-face’ policy came under scrutiny again when US defence secretary Robert Gates was asked in Pakistan why the US was rearming both parties. Gates ducked the question but US officials later said if the US did not sell the weapons the two countries could get them elsewhere.

In Gates-speak: “I think we have to make these decisions judiciously. But we also do not simply want to turn over these military relationships to other countries who don’t have as many scruples as we do in terms of making these decisions.” In other words, Uncle Sam knows best.

Indian experts are divided though on whether the US arms sales to India is merely a mercenary act driven by the mil-ind complex or a strategic investment engineered by Washington. “US military sales to India are miniscule in the overall context, so profit is hardly the motive,” says Manohar Thyagaraj, a defence consultant who founded Paragon International to promote US-India trade.

He estimates that nearly 90% of US defence production is internally consumed. Still, he concedes, as India’s defence budget inches up to 3% of a growing GDP (from its current 2%), even American firms are starting to look up India. The 126-jet deal, he says, is not worth just $10-12 billion initial capital cost, but could also mean an additional $35 billion revenue over the lifecycle of the plane. Small wonder the deal has Kit Bond so excited and involved.

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