Indo-US cooperation and the Pakistan angle
The recent visit of the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to the United States was under spotlight for two specific reasons — the meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after the UN General Assembly meet and the meeting with President Barack Obama on further strengthening of relations with the US.
While it is indeed significant that Indo-US cooperation and engagement has increased substantially, including the defence realm, over the past decade one point keeps niggling at the core of this relationship — why isn’t the US putting pressure on Pakistan in dismantling terror networks across our border?
The outcome of the two meetings have been on expected lines. The Indo-US Joint Statement has referred to the increasing and more intensive bilateral defence cooperation, including trade and military exercises; enhancing partnership in defence technology transfer, joint research, co-development and co-production. The Sharif meeting, which was largely opposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party and other vocal groups in the light of recent killings on the borders, was just another of those meetings without any commitment on the part of Pakistan in dealing with terror networks there. India has to be firm, while it engages the neighbour diplomatically, including military diplomacy.
We have analysis of the Prime Minister’s visit by Lt General (Retd) V.K. Kapoor and Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch. Also of significance is the media call with eminent scholars on the eve of the Prime Minister’s visit which, among other issues, underlines that if US investment, particularly in defence, has to increase, then foreign direct investment (FDI) has to be better than 26 per cent.
In this issue, we have two important interviews — one with the President & CEO of ReconRobotics who details the company’s micro-robotic technology which has been “giving the warfighters precisely what they need.” The other interview is with Senior Vice President of Rockwell Collins, Colin Mahoney who talks about the company’s culture vis-à-vis overseas companies.
We have show report on India’s first Naval and Maritime Exposition (NAMEXPO) 2013 held in Kochi recently. Organised by the Con- federation of Indian Industry (CII), the show had mixed response, but sure enough it has a long way to go to establish itself on the firmament of naval expositions. R. Chandrakanth was at NAMEXPO talking to a few companies on the prospects of the naval equipment market and the emerging thoughts have been that while the prospects are phenomenal, the acquisition process needs to be speeded up and the FDI cap has to be increased from 26 per cent.
The issue of increase in FDI cap has been a recurrent theme and it is time that the powers that be look at it on a priority basis. But then we will have to wait for the parliamentary elections to be over in 2014 and a stable government in place to take such a bold decision.
Meanwhile, we look forward to your feedback as it will help us sharpen our coverage of news and analysis.
Jayant Baranwal Publisher & Editor-in-Chief