Par­rikar to Visit USA

De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar’s visit to the US in De­cem­ber is ex­pected to pro­pel the Indo-US re­la­tion­ship to a new level

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE - Ran­jeet Ku­mar

De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar’s visit to the US in De­cem­ber is ex­pected to pro­pel the Indo-US re­la­tion­ship to a new level.

THE IM­PEND­ING VISIT OF the De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar to the United States on De­cem­ber 9 and 10 would build on the al­ready deep en­gage­ment be­tween the two sides in de­fence and strate­gic arena. It is sig­nif­i­cant that the visit has been sched­uled within six months of the visit to New Delhi of the US Sec­re­tary of De­fense Ashton Carter in June this year dur­ing which the path for long-term de­fence and strate­gic part­ner­ship be­tween the two largest democ­ra­cies had al­ready been cleared. Par­rikar’s visit would be ex­pected to pro­pel the re­la­tion­ship to a new level.

The visit is tak­ing place on the back of re­ported US de­ci­sion to sell F-16s and Bell AH-1Z Viper at­tack he­li­copters to Pak­istan. This US de­ci­sion has irked In­dia as it in­tends to rearm In­dia’s arch ri­val with so­phis­ti­cated mil­i­tary air­craft. which cer­tainly are not meant for use against ter­ror­ists or the Tal­iban. US arms sup­plied to Pak­istan have al­ways been used against In­dia and once again the Pak­istani Army has been suc­cess­ful in black­mail­ing the US lead­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est US Con­gres­sional Re­port, the Pen­tagon has cleared mil­i­tary hard­ware worth $5.4 bil­lion af­ter the 9/11 ter­ror­ist at­tack on the US De­fense Head­quar­ters in Wash­ing­ton DC and the World Trade Cen­ter in New York. This in­cludes the so­phis­ti­cated F-16 fight­ers. In­ter­est­ingly, the mil­i­tary hard­ware were sup­plied to Pak­istan in the 10-year frame­work, for which the logic given was that Is­lam­abad needs ca­pac­ity build­ing to fight ter­ror­ists in its border ar­eas. How­ever, Pak­istan has al­ways been suc­cess­ful in dup­ing the US Ad­min­is­tra­tion, though, ex­perts also say that the US has never been obliv­i­ous of the ac­tual use of the weapon sys­tems and plat­forms sup­plied to Pak­istan. Though, both US and In­dia claim to be strate­gic part­ners, US has never lis­tened to In­dian cries of arm­ing Pak­istan at the cost of In­dia’s se­cu­rity.

Par­rikar would take for­ward the de­ci­sions reached be­tween the two sides and fur­ther dis­cuss ways and means to pro­mote the ‘Make In In­dia’ pro­gramme of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in the de­fence sec­tor. The US has also evinced keen in­ter­est in ask­ing its de­fence sec­tor to man­u­fac­ture in In­dia for its armed forces and ex­port them too to Third World coun­tries. Sources in the In­dian Min­istry of De­fence said that the US and In­dia would dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­i­ties of rais­ing the level of bi­lat­eral ex­er­cises and re­view the progress made in the joint work­ing group on air­craft car­rier as well as iden­tify tech­nolo­gies that could be ob­tained by the In­dian armed forces un­der the for­eign mil­i­tary sales pro­gramme of the US Gov­ern­ment. To cre­ate ground for the in­ter­ac­tions be­tween In­dia and the US, two high level In­dian del­e­ga­tions would be vis­it­ing the US. The In­di­aUS De­fence Pol­icy and Pro­cure­ment Group will meet in Wash­ing­ton on Novem­ber 13, in which Asha Ram, the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral (Ac­qui­si­tion) would be lead­ing the In­dian side. The In­dia-US De­fence Pol­icy Group will meet four days later, when the In­dian De­fence Sec­re­tary G. Mo­han Ku­mar will have a meet­ing with the US Un­der Sec­re­tary of De­fense Pol­icy Christine E. Wor­muth.

Dur­ing the last visit of Ashton Carter four ma­jor is­sues were agreed upon. The first one was the New De­fence Frame­work, which will build upon the ear­lier one and would give di­rec­tion to the bi­lat­eral de­fence and strate­gic part­ner­ship for the next decade. Re­gard­ing projects the two sides fi­nalised the joint de­vel­op­ment of Mo­bile Elec­tric Hy­brid Power sources and the Next Gen­er­a­tion Pro­tec­tive En­sem­bles. The two sides had also agreed to pursue projects of co-de­vel­op­ment and co-pro­duc­tion that will of­fer good pos­si­bil­i­ties for US de­fence sec­tor to build de­fence part­ner­ship with In­dian com­pa­nies in­clud­ing the pro­posed ‘Make in In­dia’ pro­gramme. The two sides had also agreed to take for­ward co­op­er­a­tion on jet en­gines, air­craft car­rier de­sign and con­struc­tion, etc.

Dur­ing Carter’s visit, the two sides had dis­cussed In­dia-US strate­gic part­ner­ship and had also ex­changed views on emerg­ing re­gional se­cu­rity dy­nam­ics. Dur­ing the forth­com­ing Par­rikar visit to Wash­ing­ton, the two sides would carry for­ward the dis­cus­sion on is­sues rang­ing from the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in South China Sea where the US Navy had dared the Chi­nese Navy to chal­lenge, when the Amer­i­can war­ships had ven­tured very near to the ar­ti­fi­cial is­land cre­ated by China for mil­i­tary pur­poses and ex­pand­ing its ter­ri­to­rial lim­its in the South China Sea. Afghanistan, Cen­tral Asia, West Asia and In­dia-Pak­istan re­la­tions are also ex­pected to fig­ure dur­ing the talks. By or­der­ing the 15 Chi­nook and 22 Apache he­li­copters, the In­dian Gov­ern­ment has al­ready im­pressed the US Ad­min­is­tra­tion with its se­ri­ous­ness in en­gag­ing with the US de­fence firms. The US is al­ready eye­ing more or­ders from In­dia. Boe­ing has of­fered the F-18 Su­per Hor­nets to be man­u­fac­tured in In­dia to ful­fill the needs of the In­dian Air Force for the medium multi-role com­bat air­craft. Also, Boe­ing has al­ready an­nounced that ei­ther Apaches or the Chi­nooks would be as­sem­bled in In­dia.

If th­ese devel­op­ments ma­te­ri­alise, USIn­dia re­la­tions will as­sume new di­men­sions as the US com­pa­nies would for the first time en­ter In­dian de­fence sec­tor di­rectly. Dur­ing Par­rikar’s visit to the US, all th­ese is­sues will cer­tainly be ex­plored.

De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar’s visit to US and ex­pected meet­ing with US Sec­re­tary of De­fense

Ashton Carter may kick­start new di­men­sions in US-In­dia re­la­tion­ship

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