An IDC Report 


New Delhi, 15 August 2003

In continuation of our report on the Joint Statement of the Indo-US Defence Policy Group (DPG), made by Mr Ajay Prasad and Douglas Feith in Washington DC over the weekend, we present below a view from USA.

The Indian members of the DPG listed below are a powerful team involved in formulating the Defence Policy and Plans. The Indian media does not appear to have been told much, but the article below gives us a US perspective. The strengthening of defence ties between the two countries ‘is seen by defence experts as the inception of an Asian NATO.’

Ajay Prasad, Defence Secretary

KVS Prasad Rao, Chief Controller, DRDO

Ranjit Issar, Additional Secretary Defence

Jayant Prasad, MEA Representative

Gautam Mukhopadhya, Jt Secretary Defence

Rear Adm Ajit Tewari, Naval Headquarters

Maj Gen Dev Raj Singh, Army HQ

Maj Gen DH Sunnerwal, Army HQ

Air Vice Marshal BN Gokhale, Air Headquarters

Indo-US Security relations are at a crossroads and this seems to worry the Russians. There are subtle indicators through media articles, not to trust the Americans but only Russians who have stood by India for several years. Pioneer had a nice long piece and a seminar organised by Russian companies tried to convey the same message that Russia was India's largest Defence supplier and could be trusted. The SU 30 MKI deal is worth $3 billion and if aircraft carrier Gorshkov goes through as many say it will, for around $600 million, possibly when PM Vajpayee visits Russia later this year, then Russia will continue to be the largest Defence supplier to India for some years. SMERCH batteries are also on the cards.

The USA is definitely looking for a piece of the Indian Defence pie and Israel and South Africa are the new kids on the block. For various reasons the $1.3b deal for 66 AJT Hawk-115s from UK is not moving forward or is it?

These are interesting times for India as the Chinese who intruded into Arunachal Pradesh may say and HT had a nice center-piece this week explaining how George Fernandes as a firebrand Socialist had turfed out Coca Cola and IBM, and now Indian Defence is cosying up to USA. The Defence Minister's personal views on this matter and commitment will be crucial and maybe now he will have to embrace capitalism, as socialism has not able to eradicate India's poverty, but liberalisation is doing it.

India must play its cards well with both Russia and USA and the next generation will be the gainers. We offer these thoughts on India's 56th Independence Day as we celebrate the beginning of our FOURTH year on the net. Thank you visitors. JAI HIND.


By Jim Hauser

Talon News

August 12, 2003

WASHINGTON (Talon News) –– The India–U.S. Defense Policy Group (DPG) met in Washington last week in what was the fifth meeting of the DPG and the third meeting since December 2001. New proposals were exchanged to develop a defense technology relationship to include production, research and development and if possible, joint development.

Both sides noted successful joint military training exercises held in the past and agreed to hold larger and more sophisticated exercises in the future. The strengthening ties between the two countries are thought by defense experts to signal the inception of an "Asian NATO" which could drastically alter the balance of power in Asia.

On the Indian side, the DPG was headed by Defense Secretary Shri Ajay Prasad and from the U.S. side by the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith. In addition to the meeting of the DPG, Mr. Ajay Prasad also called on the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld also dropped in at the meeting of the DPG where he spoke of the strategic significance of India and the value of closer India–U.S. defense relations.

From a military perspective, the United States and India are already, for all intents and purposes, allies and both share a strong military relationship with Israel. The Bush administration has already given its approval for Israel to sell India three Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control Systems aircraft. It is also expected that approval for the sale of the Israeli Arrow-2 anti-missile system, jointly developed by Israel and the United States, will soon follow.

The combined technologies would strengthen India's defenses against possible missile attacks from Pakistan or China. The sale of Israeli military technology to India would also mark a shift away from India's dependence on Russian military technology. Currently Russia provides around 70 percent of India's weapons imports.

Vivek H. Dehejia, Associate Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, stated in a recent Front Page Magazine article, "It is time for principle to trump expediency, and for India to come out of the closet, and declare itself publicly, and at the highest level, an ally of the United States and Israel, and fully join the ranks of the international coalition of the willing, fighting the good fight against global terrorism."

"Apart from the strategic and security advantages to be gained through such an arrangement, there is a strong moral argument to be made for the natural alliance of democratic and peace-loving states, who wish to be assured of the security of their borders, which are threatened by rogue states, and that of their own citizens, who are threatened by international, mainly Islamic, terrorists," said Dehejia. "Such an alliance could rightly be dubbed an 'axis of good,' a salutary and beneficial counterbalance to one or more axes of evil that today imperil global peace and prosperity."

The development of a strategic India–U.S. military relationship would also express India's rising continental Asian status as a great power with interests and capabilities across the continent instead of being seen as merely a regional leader. This is an issue that both Indian and foreign observers have labeled as a prerequisite for a full partnership with the United States.

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