Indo-US Defence Ties — Be Realistic

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

 

Aditya Bhola ,MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Ashton Carter the United States Secretary of Defence is again in India for the third time in a year indicating the there is real some substance in the Indo-US ties in the coming times. By agreeing to sign the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), India has sent out a clear signal that it has no inhibitions about being bound in strategic engagements with the U.S. Once concluded, the agreement would give American aircraft and warships access to Indian military bases for logistical purposes, including refuelling and repair. In turn, India’s military will enjoy similar access to U.S. bases. Earlier India used to maintain a distance with U.S as far as Defence engagement is concerned due to its neutral non-aligned defence policy. But after realising the practical issues India started to change its stance since 1991. It started to engage with not only U.S. but Israel also with an open outlook. Both the countries common interest in issues concerned with China like South China Sea etc. which makes the strategic partnership more natural. But still there are concerns in Indian Defence establishment regarding U.S. policy on Afghanistan & Pakistan. There are still concerns regarding the sale of F-16 fighters to Pakistan, silence on Gwadar Port project and action against terrorist organization in Pakistan. Unless these concerns are addressed there will be a trust deficit between the two which will deter the full fledge engagement between the two. Yet, signalling growing strategic maturity, New Delhi has de-coupled US-India ties from the AfPak paradigm and is, in fact, pushing to militarily associate India with US Central Command, which is responsible for America’s military interests in AfPak, Iran and West Asia . That has allowed the defence relationship to steam along nicely. An expanded Indo-US defence framework agreement was extended for a decade till 2025. As US policymakers never tire of repeating, the US does more exercises with the Indian military than with any other. So , India should also take a practical outlook while engaging with power U.S.  so as to make best of it.

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