In­dia and the US

Next Steps in Part­ner­ship

India Strategic - - CONTENTS - By Gul­shan Luthra and Nilova Roy Chaud­hury

US De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash­ton Carter and In­dian De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar ad­dress­ing the me­dia

NEW DELHI. IIt was in 2004 that In­dia and the United States had an­nounced The Next Steps in Strate­gic Part­ner­ship (NSSP) with an eye on fu­ture co­op­er­a­tion, and a year later, in 2005, Wash­ing­ton for­mally an­nounced that it rec­og­nized In­dia as a re­gional and global power.

Changes in po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship in both the coun­tries notwith­stand­ing, the two have moved for­ward since then. In­dian Prime Min­is­ter AB Va­j­payee and Dr Man­mo­han Singh, and now Mr Naren­dra Modi, have re­sponded well, al­beit pro­gres­sively, to the US ef­forts ini­ti­ated by Pres­i­dents Geroge W Bush and Barack Obama.

Mr Modi and Mr Obama have met sev­eral times over the past year, in­clud­ing in Vi­en­tiane most re­cently. Af­ter his of­fi­cial visit to Wash­ing­ton DC in June 2016, the In­dian Prime Min­is­ter de­scribed the US as

“an in­dis­pens­able part­ner” and out­lined his thoughts for “a new sym­phony” in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions. De­fence Min­is­ters and For­eign Min­is­ters of the two coun­tries have also met pe­ri­od­i­cally since then. The US de­clared In­dia a “Ma­jor de­fence Part­ner” dur­ing Mr Modi’s visit.

Al­though there is no NSSP 2016, both In­dia and the US talk tough on ter­ror, have raised strate­gic ties, and Wash­ing­ton has reaf­firmed sup­port for In­dia’s en­try into the Nu­clear Sup­pli­ers Group, af­ter an­chor­ing In­dia’s en­try into the Mis­sile Tech­nol­ogy Con­trol Regime (MTCR).

Sig­nif­i­cantly, while the In­dian De­fence Min­is­ter, Mr Manohar Par­rikar was in Wash­ing­ton end-Au­gust, the US Sec­re­tary of State, Mr John Kerry, was in New Delhi at the same time.

The two met their coun­ter­parts, Mr Ash­ton Carter and Mrs Sushma Swaraj re­spec­tively.

Wash­ing­ton has been urg­ing In­dia to sign four “foun­da­tional” agree­ments, the sec­ond of which, LEMOA ( Lo­gis­tics Ex­change Me­moran­dum of Agree­ment) was signed dur­ing Mr Par­rikar’s visit. The first one, Gen­eral Se­cu­rity of Mil­i­tary In­for­ma­tion Agree­ment ( GSOMIA), was signed in 2002.

Mr Par­rikar said that while im­ple­men­ta­tion of the LEMOA will be on a case to case ba­sis, no time­lines have been set for sign­ing the other two, the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and In­for­ma­tion Se­cu­rity Me­moran­dum of Agree­ment (CISMOA) and Ba­sic Ex­change and Co­op­er­a­tion Agree­ment ( BECA ) for Geospa­tial In­tel­li­gence.

LEMOA will fa­cil­i­tate ac­cess to each other’s bases but there is no pro­vi­sion for set­ting up any mil­i­tary force or base on each other’s ter­ri­tory. Both the coun­tries can now ac­cess each other’s bases though.

De­fence and Di­plo­macy go to­gether, and along with them comes trade and com­merce. In New Delhi, along with Mr Kerry, US Com­merce Sec­re­tary Penny Pritzker also held talks with her coun­ter­part, Com­merce Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man.

The agenda was the same in both the cap­i­tals, strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion in global arena to en­sure free and safe pas­sage of ship­ping through the oceans, delet­ing ter­ror­ism, fa­cil­i­tat­ing each other in lo­gis­tics, and sup­ply­ing new de­fence tech­nol­ogy sys­tems to In­dia.

Mr Par­rikar met rep­re­sen­ta­tives of sev­eral top US de­fence com­pa­nies while in Wash­ing­ton and also vis­ited Boe­ing’s fa­cil­ity man­u­fac­tur­ing the Chi­nook heavy lift he­li­copters in Philadel­phia. The In­dian Air Force is buy­ing 15 CH 47 he­li­copters and 22 Apache AH 64E com­bat he­li­copters from the com­pany.

It may be re­called that at the IDEX’05 de­fence expo in Abu Dhabi in March 2005, shortly be­fore the US an­nounce­ment sup­port­ing In­dia as a ma­jor power, US de­fence com­pa­nies told us that their wares were open for sale to In­dia. For in­stance, Boe­ing of­fered its F/A 18 Su­per Hor­net and Raytheon put up its fa­mous Pa­triot an­timis­sile mis­sile.

AMRAAM, SLAMRAAM and Dam­nRAAM (the first two re­ally are very so­phis­ti­cated mis­siles, the third is what­ever else) all seemed to be on the ta­ble for New Delhi. The de­mand for the four foun­da­tional

agree­ments came up later. Un­der­stand­ably, no man­u­fac­turer can sell mil­i­tary goods with­out govern­ment clear­ance, and what is sold, de­pends on govern­ment-to-govern­ment ne­go­ti­a­tions and agree­ments.

Co­op­er­a­tion un­der NSSP has re­sulted in In­dia buy­ing some $ 15 worth of air­craft and weapons so far from the US, with Boe­ing ac­count­ing for around $ 10 bil­lion worth in the last few years. Boe­ing, and the world’s big­gest arms man­u­fac­turer, Lock­heed Martin, have also of­fered to set up air­craft fac­to­ries in In­dia to meet the huge re­quire­ments of the In­dian Air Force (IAF) for re­plac­ing its in­ven­tory of 1970s and 1980s gen­er­a­tion com­bat air­craft.


Dur­ing the talks in New Delhi, at the sec­ond In­dia-US Strate­gic and Com­mer­cial Dia­logue which ended Au­gust 31, a strong mes­sage against ter­ror­ism, par­tic­u­larly prop­a­gated by and em­a­nat­ing from Pak­istan, se­cu­rity threats and “chal­lenges to the rule-based or­der” com­bined with a re­solve to raise the bi­lat­eral trade turnover to 500 bil­lion dol­lars emerged as key out­comes from the dis­cus­sions.

The In­dia-U.S. Strate­gic & Com­mer­cial Dia­logue (S&CD) is the pre­mier bi­lat­eral fo­rum for dis­cus­sions on trade, eco­nomic and de­fence-re­lated is­sues. The dia­logue is co- chaired by In­dia’s Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and Com­merce & In­dus­try Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man, and US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and Com­merce Sec­re­tary Penny Pritzker.

The dia­logue was held a day af­ter In­dia and the US signed the Lo­gis­tics Ex­change Me­moran­dum of Agree­ment (LEMOA) in Wash­ing­ton.

In a joint state­ment is­sued at the end of the two-day S&CD, the two coun­tries ac­knowl­edged that de­fence was “the bedrock” of the strate­gic part­ner­ship.

“Reit­er­at­ing that de­fence ties form the bedrock of the bi­lat­eral strate­gic part­ner­ship, the two Sides rec­og­nized the im­por­tance of the an­nounce­ment re­gard­ing In­dia as a Ma­jor De­fense

Part­ner of the United States and de­cided to take fur­ther steps ex­pe­di­tiously to en­able greater co­op­er­a­tion in the area of co- pro­duc­tion and co- de­vel­op­ment. To this end, the United States com­mit­ted to el­e­vate de­fence trade and tech­nol­ogy shar­ing with In­dia to a level com­men­su­rate with its clos­est al­lies and part­ners,” the state­ment said.

The strate­gic Dia­logue was el­e­vated into a Strate­gic and Com­mer­cial Dia­logue dur­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s visit to In­dia in Jan­uary 2015. The first In­dia-US S&CD was held on Septem­ber 22 last year in Wash­ing­ton.

Sec­re­tary Kerry ob­served , “The se­cu­rity threat is our big­gest chal­lenge. We must strike at the root cause of vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism,” adding: “It’s clear that Pak­istan has work to do in or­der to push harder against its in­dige­nous groups that’re en­gaged in ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties. We have been urg­ing Pak­istan to crack down on ter­ror camps and the sanc­tu­ar­ies in the coun­try.”

“We don’t make dis­tinc­tions be­tween good and bad ter­ror­ists. Ter­ror is ter­ror,” Kerry said, reit­er­at­ing Wash­ing­ton’s com­mit­ment

to bring the per­pe­tra­tors of the 26/11 and the Pathankot at­tacks to jus­tice

Speak­ing at a joint press con­fer­ence af­ter the S&CD, Mrs Swaraj said she and Sec­re­tary Kerry “agreed that nations must not main­tain dou­ble stan­dards, such as the cat­e­go­riza­tion of good and bad ter­ror­ists, nor must they act as sanc­tu­ar­ies and safe havens for ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions.” In­dia’s EAM said, minc­ing no words.

“We reaf­firmed the ur­gent ne­ces­sity for Pak­istan to dis­man­tle safe havens for ter­ror­ists and crim­i­nal net­works, in­clud­ing Lashkar- e-Toiba, Jaish- e- Mo­ham­mad and ‘D Com­pany’.

Sec­re­tary Kerry and I also agreed on the need for Pak­istan to do more to bring the per­pe­tra­tors of the 2008 Mum­bai and 2016 Pathankot ter­ror­ist at­tacks to jus­tice quickly,” Swaraj said.

Notably, the US State Depart­ment spokesman has thrice, since the Dia­logue, urged Pak­istan to act against ter­ror­ists who “at­tack neigh­bours.”

New Delhi and Wash­ing­ton have also, Mrs Swaraj said, “agreed to strengthen our co­op­er­a­tion in the area of mar­itime se­cu­rity. In ac­cor­dance with the roadmap for the Joint Strate­gic Vi­sion, we have launched a Mar­itime Se­cu­rity Dia­logue. Our Tri­lat­eral with Ja­pan has moved from dia­logue into ac­tion in key ar­eas of re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity and HA/ DR.” ( Hu­man­i­tar­ian As­sis­tance / Dis­as­ter Re­lief).

Sec­re­tary Kerry was also crit­i­cal of China in com­ments on its re­fusal to ac­cept the judge­ment of the Per­ma­nent Coun­cil of Ar­bi­tra­tion against it.

Mak­ing a ref­er­ence to In­dia ac­cept­ing the In­ter­na­tional tri­bunal judge­ment on Bangladesh, he said, “We dis­cussed how In­dia’s de­ci­sion to ac­cept a In­ter­na­tional tri­bunal judge­ment re­gard­ing its mar­itime bor­der with Bangladesh ac­tu­ally stands apart.”

“This is the kind of pol­icy that sup­ports the rule of law that brings us closer and in my judge­ment re­flects a sense of con­fi­dence and a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Kerry said. “It is a model of how po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous dis­putes can be re­solved in a ma­ture and peace­ful man­ner in­clud­ing the South China Sea where the US urges China and the Philip­pines to re­spect the judge­ment of the In­ter­na­tional tri­bunal which is fi­nal and legally bind­ing on both par­ties.”

Mr John F. Kerry calls on the Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi

Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and John F Kerry, Sec­re­tary of State of the United States of Amer­ica at the Open­ing Ple­nary in New Delhi

Kerry with Sushma Swaraj

Swaraj with Kerry, at the Joint Press In­ter­ac­tion in New Delhi

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