Isn’t this big news?

U.S. & India Sign Major 10-Year Defense Pact

Why is it that, after three years of crying about how George Bush has been ignoring the rest of the world and going it alone in the War on Terror, that Legacy Media has barely let out a peep about this?

The United States and India signed a 10-year agreement paving the way for stepped up military ties, including joint weapons production and cooperation on missile defense. Titled the “New Framework for the US-India Defense Relationship” (NFDR), it was signed on June 27/05 by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and India’s Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Given India’s size, emerging wealth, and strategic location, this seems to be exactly what the doctor ordered. And the deafening silence from Bush critics just strengthens my belief that it’s not the lack of allies that they don’t like, but who those allies are. Or rather, who they aren’t.

More:

Under the NFDR, Washington has offered high-tech cooperation, expanded economic ties, and energy cooperation. It will also step up a strategic dialogue with India to boost missile defense and other security initiatives, launch a “defense procurement and production group,” and work to cooperate on military “research, development, testing and evaluation.” Given India’s broken military procurement system, the know-how transfer will be every bit as valuable as the technology transfer – maybe more so.

And the agreement doesn’t stop there…

During the ceremonies, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed India’s position that all military technology restrictions should be dropped. He won’t get his wish immediately, but they’ll be eased considerably, from fighter aircraft to the even more important maritime patrol category. Those barriers will diminish even further as trust and cooperation grow.

In the area of missile defense, for instance, efforts will begin with efforts to secure approval of Patriot PAC-3 missiles for India (previous offers had involved less advanced PAC-2s). No word on whether the Israeli-American Arrow THAAD missile defense system, which India has previously sought, would also be approved.

Furthermore, the MFDR envisages joint and combined exercises and exchanges between both sides, naval pilot training…and increased cooperation in the areas of worldwide peacekeeping operations and expansion of interaction with other nations “in ways that promote regional and global peace and stability.” [emphasis mine]

That. Last. Part. Is. Huge.

It could affect things going on right now, of course, in any number of ways. But even more importantly it could form the foundation of a more secure future, safer from both little threats and large.

Remember this next time we hear about how that cowboy in the White House is acting all unilateral and everything. In fifty years this could be seen as a major turning point in 21st Century history.

You really should go read the whole thing. Apparently no one in Legacy Media is going to talk about it much…

Comments

  1. YES! This is huge. India is the most populous democracy in the world and a rapidly developing economic power. Culturally, they are a member of the Angloshpere sharing the same basic values as our closest allies – the UK and Australia, and us. Besides being an important ally against terrorism, they are the natural counterweight to China in the region. They have a strong military that will benefit from American technology and joint training. We get access to bases and training sites in a region of the world we have not had before. The Indians have good reason to resent the Chinese as well. They got their asses kicked in 1962 in a nasty border battle. With India signed up, we have a pretty good circle of containment around China. Japan to the East is starting to wake up and re-arm, South Korea is still strong ally (despite protests by idiots for Americans to go home) and Taiwan (who we should do more to help) is to the South. And while Vietnam is hardly an American ally, they really hate the Chinese and had their own border war with China in 1979. The Russians to the north seem to be getting weaker. The Chinese would kill (a lot of Russians) to get their hands on Siberia. They need to wake up, join the free world and prepare to defend themselves. Having spent a lot of time there, I would like to see Sri Lanka get over their internal strife and join us in this big alliance of democracies that seems to be forming. They are in a great location strategically and, like the Indians, share our democratic values. I also have this hope: In a year or two, when I buy a kid’s toy or coffee mug, I’ll turn it over and it will say ‘made in India.’ I cringe every time I see ‘made in China’ and realize some of my money has gone there.

  2. This is aimed straight at China. It is a necessary approach, given China’s militancy and expanding technology theft. This is the approach we took 25 years ago by building up Iraq to contain Iran (which he did), but this arrangement is less likely to cause serious blowback.

  3. China may be the target, the immedate issue is getting Pakistan & India to be at peace vs threatening each other.

  4. I find this pretty scary. The main reason is the India/Pakistan thing. #1, the US is now allied with two countries who seem to want to destroy each other and use nuclear weapon tests to scare each other. Secondly, India seems to be doing its fair share of warmongering. OK, Pakistan may not be the best behaving country in the block but India’s threats seem totally out of proportion. Then again, maybe it’s a psychological game I don’t understand. I’m sure I don’t understand the Asian mind when it comes to threats. (North Korea just doesn’t make any sense, and neither does China sometimes). Maybe this posturing is necessary. Regardless, it doesn’t give me great confidence in India’s leadership. They seem overly aggressive. I know it makes military sense but does it make political sense? Maybe the US is just going for the lesser of two evils – allying with India or facing China with no major regional allies. (Unfortunately Australia doesn’t really count in the vs. China stakes, size-wise).

  5. I don’t find it scary at all. Travel to different parts of the world and see where there are people who actually admire the U.S. and share our values: democracy, respect for human life, rule of law, beer, and free enterprise. In most of the Middle East (except Israel) you’ll find none of these. In India, you’ll find them all. India is a natural U.S. ally based on shared values – their strength and location are bonuses.

  6. I’ll agree with Nicholas’ ‘scary’ assessment on this point: We are trying to play both sides of a scary issue (Pak vs. India). The potential downside is, of course, nuclear war if we screw up royally. That’s scary. But we’ve made great headway with Pakistan over the past few years, and if they can be drawn into our circle of friends (rather than being sort of an outsider…welcome but only because they’ve got things we need) it will be a major breakthrough. India is well on the way to being a 21st Century society, and if Pakistan can be nudged in that direction we will not neccessarily gained an ally but we’ll have removed a potential enemy. (I’m talking the people of Pak, not the government, mostly.) The obvious long-term benefits here are options concerning China. But I don’t think we should overlook shorter-term gains as well. First of all, although it doesn’t border Afghanistan, many of our future basing and overflight concerns will probably be able to be solved via India if Pakistan sours. And though the fight right now is in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s not going to stay in the Middle East forever. India will become a strategic crossroads (land, air, and naval) in the War on Terror. So this is a long-term deal with long-term ramifications but also will be invaluable short-term, I think. Maybe not as immediate as two divisions of Indian troops in Iraq (yeah, very complicated I know…), but I think there’s a lot more here than ‘encircle China’.

  7. One last thought: What if Secretary of State Rice can broker a Kashmir deal? For all we know, these agreements and arms deals might be setting up something along those lines…

  8. Murdoc – sure hope you are right. They have slugged it out on the border a few times already – India usually getting the best of it. Hopefully, the nuclear thing will act a deterrent to both sides against further such nonsense. We are allied to Pakistan because we need them – and hold our nose at the fact it’s basically a military dictatorship. We are now allied to India because they are a strong democracy.

  9. Yes, it would be a good thing for the US to have both India and Pakistan as firm allies as long as they can both be made happy with the arrangement. From what I can tell India is a little more advanced but really they aren’t that different. This would be a good example of showing that the US is not anti-Muslim (as anyone in their right mind can see) and in fact religious harmony would be nice for all parties involved. I know some Muslim Indians and they are smart and good people and I imagine they’re fairly representative of both parties.

  10. The people may not be much different. Their respective governments are. India’s a real democracy while Pakistan is a Dictatorship. Worse, if Pakistan had democratic elections, they may end up more like Iran than India.

  11. Keep in mind that India has some serious Muslim vs Hindue issues. Not all is beer and skittles in that land.

  12. OK, Pakistan may not be the best behaving country in the block but India’s threats seem totally out of proportion. Nicholas, Terrorists based out of (and supported by elements of the government of) Pakistan attacked India’s Parliment. If anything, they were disproportionately restrained in response. Could you imagine what would happen if Mexico had sent terrorists to shoot up Congress? I suspect we’d end up with a few new stars on our flag at the very least! (Of course, Mexico has no nukes, nor the means to deliver them under wartime conditions if they had them.)