An IDC Analysis 


New Delhi, 11 August 2003

A Joint Defence Policy Group (DPG) statement was made in USA over the weekend and we were heartened to note that all the issues discussed in the statement were the moot points of our analysis in the past. The progress of India–US military to military relations has been very impressive and the Indian and US Governments need to be congratulated. We hope that Pakistan can then be brought on line. A recent MPs team is making waves in Pakistan with very positive people to people contacts. Media is also playing a positive role and IDC wish to contribute to the debate.

USA was presented evidence on the involvement of the Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda networks in Pakistan and India, including all the financial transactions. The articulate and shrewd Foreign Minister of Pakistan Abdul Sattar former Ambassador to India was eloquent on CNN some time ago and felt there was meat in the evidence. Musharraf was definitely trying to control hardliners in Pakistan, and if India was not in an “Election Mode”, the time was ripe to hold talks but since that will not help the BJP at this juncture, winning elections is their objective and having USA on their side is the aim.

The tempo of Indo–US exercises increased to almost an average of six a year. US Navy’s ship visits to Chennai and other ports have increased to 14, some 180 security experts have gone to USA, courtesy US Aid and other grants and they have interacted very deeply. Dy PM Advani was now fully in the Security loop with over a million paramilitary forces and he met the Defence establishment in USA. The US establishment and Intelligence now understand how the Indian Defence structure ticks.

Julie Macdonald’s report on India–US military relations commissioned by Andrew Marshal’s office of Net Assessement was path breaking and though the Indian media decried it for the truths in it, all that the young management specialist did was pen Indian Military and Security and US equivalent Officers’ comments most cogently and truthfully. The truth about our disjointed structure and approach to Security and acquisitions was apparent, and as long as the bureaucrats control it, it will remain so. India will have to wait for a powerful Prime Minister who understands higher management of the Armed Forces and a CDS or a Chief who shakes the system with more maturity than Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat tried to do. Unfortunately Bhagwat was from the Cinderella service and so the impact was lost and the other services chose to keep clear.

INS Tarangini has spent two months in USA, all three services are interacting independently with USA while the MOD is interacting with the Pentagon and of course the issue of Indian troops to Iraq does figure in the DPG. The acquisition of badly needed PC-3 Orions figures prominently and the delegation included a senior Admiral who held talks on PC-3 Orions more than once and now they meet in September. The Indian Navy will do well by acquiring these MR aircraft and the other two services will also gain from their EW equipmenmt.

All this augurs well and even Arun Nehru who was late PM Rajiv Gandhi’s close relation and confidant commented favourably on strengthening India–US relations. Praful Bidwai writing in Frontline of course is against sending any troops to Iraq and that debate will continue, as the wording regarding support to Iraq is guarded but USA would give its left arm to get Indian troops involved. PM Tony Blair who is under pressure is trying to get a fresh UN resolution when India’s resolve will be tested.

Joint Statement by INDIA–US Defence Policy Group

The US India Defense Policy Group (DPG) met Aug 6–7, 2003 in Washington, DC. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith hosted the meeting and Defence Secretary Ajay Prasad led the Indian delegation. The strategic situation in the world has changed dramatically in recent years. Global terrorism, state sponsors of terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons are the key threats to international peace and security. The US and India are drawn together in an effort to deal with these new circumstances. As a result, President Bush and Prime Minister Vajpayee have re-defined the USIndia relationship: democracy, common principles, and shared interest are the foundation of our new strategic partnership. Since the last meeting of the DPG in May 2002, the US and Indian defense establishments have continued to expand cooperation. The past year's accomplishments include:

  • Combined special forces counterinsurgency exercise in Northeast India;

  • Combined Air Force exercise in Alaska;

  • Complex naval exercises on the East Coast of India;

  • Delivery of "Firefinder" radars to India;

  • Senior-level missile defense talks; and

  • Conclusion of a master information exchange agreement to facilitate cooperation in research and development of defense technologies.

During this year's DPG, the delegations emphasized the long-range strategic concepts that guide the new approach to the US–India relationship. They agreed that the work of the two countries together during the past year and planned activities for the next year are translating that strategic vision into action. The delegations discussed the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons and technologies of mass destruction, including the risk that terrorists will acquire such weapons. They also discussed measures to combat proliferation. 

The two sides agreed to establish a high-level dialogue on defense technology security issues. The two sides reaffirmed the shared view that missile defense enhances cooperative security and stability. They decided to hold a missile defense workshop in India in the next six months as a follow-on to an international workshop attended by US and Indian delegations at the June 2003 Multinational Ballistic Missile Defense
Conference held in Kyoto, Japan. The Indian delegation also accepted invitations to the July 2004 Multinational Ballistic Missile Defense Conference in Berlin and the 2005 Roving Sands Missile Defense Exercise.

The two sides welcomed the improved prospects for freedom and security in the Middle East. They underlined their commitment to furthering stability and security for the people of Iraq and the contribution that international cooperation could make to that process. They agreed to continue to seek ways for the United States and India to work together to support the people of Iraq. They also welcomed the establishment of Iraq's Governing Council and noted the important role of the U.N. Special Representative in addressing the needs of the Iraqi people. 

They discussed the success of Operation Enduring Freedom and reaffirmed the ongoing commitment of both countries to the future of Afghanistan. They agreed that a permanent end to terrorism is critical to ensuring a future of peace and stability in South Asia. The US and India have continued to work together to enhance their capabilities to combat terrorism and increase interoperability. 

The two delegations highlighted the importance of the ongoing series of joint and combined exercises in building interoperability between US and India armed forces and agreed to continue this interaction. They also agreed to continue to review counter terrorism equipment requirements for India's special operations forces. The two delegations welcomed the reports on the recent meetings of the Military Cooperation Group (coordinating military exercises and exchanges), Security Cooperation Group (coordinating sales and licensing), and Joint Technical Group (coordinating research and development). These groups will meet again in the coming months.
In addition to the areas above, the two delegations approved a range of activities for the coming year, including:

  • Specialized training programmes and joint exercises to be carried out by the armed services of the two countries, including an air combat training exercise.

  • India will host in coordination with the US a multinational planning exercise to develop standard operating procedures.

  • Continued development of a defense supply relationship, through the Government-to-Government Foreign Military Sales programme. A US team will travel to India in September to discuss the details of a possible sales of P-3 maritime patrol aircraft.

  • U.S. sale to India of training materials and specialized equipment to support India's peacekeeping training capabilities.

  • A Defense Planning Exchange to permit US and Indian defence experts to conduct discussions on defense strategy and planning.

Secretary Prasad also met with US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers. These meetings emphasized the importance both sides place on the growing bilateral relationship.

Next year, the DPG will hold its meeting in New Delhi..

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