Wel­come Steps in Indo-US Co­op­er­a­tion

Will help In­dia’s rise as an in­de­pen­dent power

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

In­dia and the US are draw­ing ever closer in strate­gic terms, and this is wel­come. The agree­ment, in prin­ci­ple, to mu­tu­ally share lo­gis­tics, un­der the Lo­gis­tics Ex­change Mem­o­ran­dum of Agree­ment, reached dur­ing the re­cent visit of US de­fence sec­re­tary Ash­ton Car­ton to In­dia, is the lat­est devel­op­ment in this process. A De­fence Tech­nol­ogy and Trade Ini­tia­tive, un­der which sen­si­tive tech­nolo­gies can be trans­ferred to In­dia for do­mes­tic man­u­fac­ture, is in place since 2012. Two more agree­ments are be­ing ne­go­ti­ated, on com­mu­ni­ca­tions se­cu­rity and in­ter­op­er­abil­ity and on geospa­tial co­op­er­a­tion. These would help In­dia’s de­sir­able rise as a ma­jor, in­de­pen­dent power that en­gages with all other pow­ers.

In or­der to live up to this strate­gic vi­sion of ac­tive, in­de­pen­dent en­gage­ment with the rest of the world, In­dia needs to make good two ca­pac­ity deficits. One is in­sti­tu­tional ca­pac­ity for wide-rang­ing en­gage­ment with all rel­e­vant pow­ers. Right now, there is the risk of New Delhi be­ing over­whelmed by the flurry of ini­tia­tives em­a­nat­ing from the US and not hav­ing the re­sources to en­gage with other pow­ers. The other is tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­ity, to avoid be­ing the pas­sive, al­beit ea­ger, re­ceiv­ing end of a uni­di­rec­tional flow of ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy. This can­not be achieved by set­ting up yet another gov­ern­ment re­search in­sti­tu­tion. It calls for an ecosys­tem of vi­brant uni­ver­si­ties, ro­bust pri­vate sec­tor par­tic­i­pa­tion in de­fence-re­lated re­search and pro­duc­tion, and ex­ten­sive, but re­sult-ori­ented, work in pub­lic sec­tor re­search out­fits.

Even if the lo­gis­tics-shar­ing agree­ment falls short of open­ing a US base in In­dia, doesn’t it drag In­dia into a po­ten­tial anti-China al­liance led by the US? Af­ter all, a US in­ter­ven­tion over Tai­wan or in the South China Sea that makes use of, say, In­dian airstrips, is far more likely than an In­dian op­er­a­tion in the Caribbean, call­ing for use of US bases. The short an­swer is that an ar­range­ment that en­sures China’s rise stays peace­ful would avert the need for ex­ter­nal in­ter­ven­tion and suit every­one’s in­ter­ests, in­clud­ing China’s.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.