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Yolvas
07-04-05, 16:48
India talks up axis against China


http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/GD08Df04.html

By Siddharth Srivastava

NEW DELHI - It is the kind of statement unexpected just prior to the arrival of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in India on Saturday. Addressing India's top army brass, Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Wednesday that India must keep an eye on China's modernization of its armed forces.

Mukherjee's assertions are a clear reflection of the kind of geopolitical turns that politics of the Asian region may take in the near future, with the US egging on India to rein in the growing influence of China.

"A watch has to be kept on Chinese infrastructure in Tibet and its technological and military modernization program and the growth of its navy," the defense minister said. He observed that India had been keeping an eye on the rapid growth of the Chinese navy, and its expected entry into the Indian Ocean region within a decade will introduce a new military factor into the Indian neighborhood. "The Chinese growth is being watched by various powers ... We must be alive to these changes and their implications on our strategy," Mukherjee said.

It has not been lost to observers that Mukherjee, in his same speech, was happy about India's relations with the US. "With the US, we have made progress in expanding the space for understanding of our security concerns and for defense cooperation. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent visit has opened new perspectives," he said.

Significantly, Mukherjee's statements came when Wen was in Pakistan meeting with President General Pervez Musharraf. The two signed a treaty of friendship. Though there is not much new to say, the treaty for the first time defines the strong five-decade-old relationship between the two countries, including military exchange. Coinciding with the Wen visit, Pakistan launched its joint production with China of the JF-17 fighter aircraft, a project that was initiated because of the hitherto ban on F-16 fighters by the US. Wen also spoke of joint nuclear energy production, making it apparent that China would do unto Pakistan what the US is seeking with India.

This is, however, not to rule out the importance of Sino-Indian relations, which have grown in leaps and bounds on the back of trade. It is another matter that business relations between the two countries have happened pretty much independent of government intervention.

While the two sides have been pragmatic enough to set aside important differences, such as boundary issues, in order to promote business, it goes without saying that India will always keep a keen eye on China, even if to keep the US happy. As Wen said in an address in Pakistan, the economic and trade relations between China and Pakistan did not match their political and strategic relationship. The situation is the opposite in the case of India and China.

US-India in the Chinese context
Indeed, there has been considerable rethinking within the Indian establishment about developments in Indo-US relations consequent to the visit of Rice, as well as the offer by President George W Bush to deepen strategic relations with India. Over the past weeks, as the import of the US offer has sunk in, experts and well as those in the establishment have been talking a different tune, even as India has ordered a cache of arms from countries other than US, to signal its irritation.

The engagement that the US is seeking from India goes much beyond just arms supplies: that offer has also been made to Pakistan. The US is looking to India to deepen economic relations, nuclear-energy cooperation, arms production as well as procure contracts for the estimated arms purchases by India to the tune of US$12 billion over the next few years that will include fighter jets, submarines, tanks and technological advancements.

The US has opened arms supplies to India, including the much-talked-about F-16 fighter jets that have been offered to Pakistan as well. India has been miffed at the US for removing a 15-year ban on the supply of fighter jets to Pakistan. It is clear now that India missed the wood for the trees, a phrase used by Shekhar Gupta, editor of the Indian Express, in his column recently.

Gupta argues that the US wants to engage India and move beyond the traditional hyphenation of US-India-Pakistan relations, and is looking at India as a strategic partner to fend off China. The US is seeking India beyond the axis of Cold War nations wherein India was seen to be allied closely with the former Soviet Union. This point is further emphasized by the fact that the US is strongly opposing the lifting of the arms embargo on China by the European Union, especially in light of the rising tensions between Taiwan and China.

Indeed, after an initial reaction of "disappointment", there has been a perceptible turnaround by India to the offer by US that includes cooperation in nuclear energy and joint production of military hardware. Mukherjee's clear enunciation of the thinking of the Indian establishment re-emphasized the perceptible turnaround made by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the US offered arms to Pakistan. After his initial reaction of "disappointment", Manmohan said, "We have said publicly about the F-16s issue at a time when we are engaged in peace talks [with Pakistan]. I am disappointed but we have to move forward and resolve outstanding issues."

However, he added, "India needs the strong support of the world community, including the US, to emerge as a major world power." India and Pakistan must devote more time and money for the betterment of their people, he said, making it apparent that it would not be wise for India to take a stand that completely counters the US. "Our common enemy is poverty, ignorance and disease. We should devote all our resources to fighting poverty. Our generation has an obligation to the future," he said.

In the past, the US has required Pakistan, whether it be to take on Soviet ambitions in Afghanistan or the post-September 11, 2001, "war on terror". It still does need Pakistan for support against Iran, as well as to nab cadres of al-Qaeda and the elusive big fish, Osama bin Laden. However, there is a growing feeling of disenchantment with Pakistan as well, given its record in buttressing terror and peddling nuclear secrets. Importantly, Pakistan's strong military dealings with China are quite well known, a facet that the US can never be comfortable with.

The reaffirmation of US interest in India being independent of Pakistan is further buttressed by the fact that the peace process between the two countries is firmly in place and has built a momentum independent of the overtures that the US is making. Musharraf is due to arrive in India in a few days to witness a cricket match. He will meet up with Manmohan, with the meeting being widely seen as a further firming-up of the peace process that has received a major fillip due to the agreement to initiate the bus service between Indian and Pakistan Kashmir, despite threats of terror.

From India's point of view, the supply of arms to Pakistan will hardly tilt the balance of power with India's conventional military superiority clearly established. At the same time, the chances of the two countries going to war are quite remote.

The US, by seeking out India, is clearly looking beyond Indo-Pak relations.

Siddharth Srivastava is a New Delhi-based journalist.

(Copyright 2005 Asia Times Online Ltd.

jobs home
02-03-09, 02:23
NEW YORK - Two recent pronouncements by US President George W Bush illustrate a new Western tendency to blame China and India for pressing global problems and divert attention from causes that originate in the West itself. On April 17, Bush denied special environmental exemptions for China and India since they "are emitting increasingly large quantities of greenhouse gases, which has consequences for the entire global climate".

On May 3, the American president argued that India's burgeoning middle class is "demanding better nutrition and better food ... and that causes the price [of food grains] to go up". US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had earlier elaborated on the quack doctrine that apparent improvement in the diets of people in India and China and consequent cereal export restraints are among the causes of the current global food crisis.

Bush's implication of China and India in global warming and food shortages has one common theme - that the rise of these two countries is problematic. In his April 17 comment, the US president said the economic growth of the two was "good for their people and good for the world", but suffixed it with the caveat that this is harming the environment. In his May 3 address, Bush said that "prosperity in the developing world is good", but quickly elaborated its supposed negative repercussions on food supplies.

In plain language, the American president is reflecting a deep-seated belief that Asia's rising powers are irresponsible "free riders" as opposed to the more benevolent and magnanimous West. Bush's accusations mask deeper structural malaises in the global environment and economy that can be traced back to Western over-consumption and exploitation of resources.

The US and the EU repeatedly chant that China and India, as the second and fourth largest emitters of greenhouse gases, cannot wash their hands of responsibilities by claiming differential treatment. What they do not highlight is the difference between measuring pollutants on a national basis and on a per capita basis. By virtue of their huge populations accounting for more than 30% of the world's inhabitants, China and India, taken as aggregate units of analysis, do appear as major offenders spewing toxic gases. ( Late last year, data from the International Energy Agency and other research organizations revealed that China had overtaken the United States as the largest source of greenhouse gases,)

apostille
07-04-09, 10:31
NEW DELHI - It is the kind of statement unexpected just prior to the arrival of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in India on Saturday. Addressing India's top army brass, Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Wednesday that India must keep an eye on China's modernization of its armed forces.
Mukherjee's assertions are a clear reflection of the kind of geopolitical turns that politics of the Asian region may take in the near future, with the US egging on India to rein in the growing influence of China.
"A watch has to be kept on Chinese infrastructure in Tibet and its technological and military modernization program and the growth of its navy," the defense minister said. He observed that India had been keeping an eye on the rapid growth of the Chinese navy, and its expected entry into the Indian Ocean region within a decade will introduce a new military factor into the Indian neighborhood. "The Chinese growth is being watched by various powers ... We must be alive to these changes and their implications on our strategy," Mukherjee said.
It has not been lost to observers that Mukherjee, in his same speech, was happy about India's relations with the US. "With the US, we have made progress in expanding the space for understanding of our security concerns and for defense cooperation. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent visit has opened new perspectives," he said.

Significantly, Mukherjee's statements came when Wen was in Pakistan meeting with President General Pervez Musharraf. The two signed a treaty of friendship. Though there is not much new to say, the treaty for the first time defines the strong five-decade-old relationship between the two countries, including military exchange. Coinciding with the Wen visit, Pakistan launched its joint production with China of the JF-17 fighter aircraft, a project that was initiated because of the hitherto ban on F-16 fighters by the US. Wen also spoke of joint nuclear energy production, making it apparent that China would do unto Pakistan what the US is seeking with India.
This is, however, not to rule out the importance of Sino-Indian relations, which have grown in leaps and bounds on the back of trade. It is another matter that business relations between the two countries have happened pretty much independent of government intervention.
While the two sides have been pragmatic enough to set aside important differences, such as boundary issues, in order to promote business, it goes without saying that India will always keep a keen eye on China, even if to keep the US happy. As Wen said in an address in Pakistan, the economic and trade relations between China and Pakistan did not match their political and strategic relationship. The situation is the opposite in the case of India and China.