Saturday, January 7, 2017

Major General S.G. Vombatkere - India's Sovereignty: Shifting Sands

NB: An incisive analysis by a retired Army officer. It shows us that clueless political executives eager to brandish their virility to score political points are not only ignorant of diplomatic norms, but their activities and decisions are undermining the security of the country. Our ultra-patriotic Sanghi's are so obsessed with raw power that their muscles have now come to reside between their ears - which is the wrong place, as armed forces personnel well know..DS

India's shift towards USA has strengthened the China-Pakistan bond to India's disadvantage… after Pakistan responded to India's post-Uri “surgical strike” with more attacks, with amazing ignorance some NDA-2 politicians bravely spoke of retaliation by abrogating the Indus water treaty and “stopping” Indus water... China's quiet threat that it could stop Brahmaputra water into India killed the brave words. … 

... because the post-Uri surgical strike was followed by brave “we-dun-it” declarations of having put an end to Pakistan's terror attacks, there has been unprecedented loss of Indian soldiers killed by Pakistan-sponsored attacks. And now Pakistan is carrying out joint military exercises with Russia.. No doubt the Pakistani Army knows that the Indian Army is gradually but surely being emasculated by its own politician-bureaucrat nexus... brave words by clueless politicians of India's willingness to carry out a nuclear strike on Pakistan, have only served to heighten tension… 

After a terror raid in India's northeast, the Indian Army pursued the terrorists and eliminated them. But a NDA-2 minister boasted that the army had killed the terrorists after “hot pursuit” across the border into Myanmar. This was an inexcusable faux pas in diplomatic relations... Today, Myanmar is cosying up with China militarily and economically. 

When Nepal had an internal problem with its Madeshi population.. India's NDA-2 government orchestrated a blockade of essential commodities into Nepal, causing immense suffering… Now we read that Nepal's army is carrying out joint military exercises with China. India is being out-manoevred mainly because of a combination of its own diplomatic ineptness and its falling into bed with USA as its subordinate partner

UPA-1 & UPA-2 PM Dr. Manmohan Singh staked his “kursi” on concluding two strategic agreements with USA: The New Framework Agreement for U.S-India Defence Relationship between the U.S Secretary of Defense and the Indian Defence Minister, on June 28, 2005; and The U.S-India Joint Agreement signed by U.S President George W. Bush and India's Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh, on July 18, 2005. 

The strategic agreements included civil nuclear co-operation, the Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture (KIA), and closer military ties. However, in India, public and media attention was focussed on the 123 Agreement pertaining to nuclear power, which was vociferously opposed in Parliament.

There were problems within USA too, for having signed a 123 Agreement with India, which was not a signatory to the NPT. In order to overcome the alarm at home, a legislation titled ‘‘Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006’’ came into force in USA on January 3, 2006. Though this legislation was not binding on India, its stated India-specificity caused alarm in India, because even though USA had signed 123 Agreements with other countries very similar to that signed with India, there was no country-specific U.S legislation that laid down strategic conditionalities like the Hyde Act did. The Hyde Act, albeit concerning nuclear energy cooperation, widens the 123 Agreement subject to India having a foreign policy congruent with that of USA. [Note 1 for relevant text]. The nuclear agreement was the Trojan horse for defence arrangements to further USA's strategic interests.

In September 2010, Admiral Willard, U.S PACOM Commander, visited India and proposed expanding the existing defence engagement of co-operation and inter-operability between the U.S and Indian militaries to a “much richer dialogue” including the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) and Communications Inter-operability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), to go "beyond bilateral exercises and sale of military hardware".  The United States government now projects what it calls "three foundational agreements" – CISMAO, LSA and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).

The NDA-2 government is reported to have signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) – an updated version of LSA – without tabling it in Parliament. It reportedly enables USA to use Indian seaports and Army and Air Force airports for refuelling, revictualling, deployment and actual warfare, and as rest and recoupment staging camps for US soldiers injured in USA's military adventures. Even though RM Parrikar says that LEMOA does not allow stationing US troops and logistics on Indian territory, USA has made its own rules in Sec.1292 “Enhancing defense and security cooperation with India”, of the National Defence Authorisation (NDA) Act 2017. [Note 2 for relevant text].

The NDA Act text spells out several aspects of cooperation, but those specifically relating to India's foreign policy are to“recognize India’s status as a major defense partner of the United States” and “continue to enhance defense and security cooperation with India in order to advance United States interests in the South Asia and greater Indo-Asia-Pacific regions”Thus, it is clear that India is a mere tool, a political pawn in the big power game of a declining power, and an abettor of USA's foreign policy, its politicians were thrilled at being named as USA's “major defense partner”.

The US clearly intends to use India as a base for its “China pivot”, and India's tilt towards USA & Israel (and therefore USA's “four eyes” UK-Canada-Australia-New Zealand camp) is shown by the appreciation of Israeli envoy Daniel Carmon, of India abstaining from votes critical of Tel Aviv at the United Nations since 2015. [“Grateful for shift in India's position, says Israel envoy”; The Hindu, Bangalore; January 1, 2017; p.10].

India, which traditionally voted in UN fora in favour of justice for Palestinians, has shown a shift away from justice, drawing appreciation from Israel. This shift away from the principles of justice is clearly because of the NDA-2 government's hate for muslims (in this case Palestinians). But more significantly, it shows a lurch of India's foreign policy towards congruence with that of USA, an abject acceptance of playing “chela” to a “guru” with dubious credentials.

True, this was started by PM Dr.Manmohan Singh, but PM Narendra Modi is pushing it with vigour and outstanding oratory. It is apt to recall that during an interview by Karan Thapar, when asked what was the difference between UPA and NDA, Arun Shourie said words to the effect that “NDA equals UPA scaled-up plus cow”. Dr.Manmohan Singh mortgaged India's sovereignty and Mr.Narendra Modi has taken a second mortgage on it.
J.S.DHALIWAL - Breaking The Chain of Seniority: A Shot in the Foot

India's neighbours: Pakistan has always been hostile to India, but India's shift towards USA has strengthened the China-Pakistan bond to India's disadvantage. Recall that after Pakistan responded to India's post-Uri “surgical strike” with more attacks, with amazing ignorance some NDA-2 politicians bravely spoke of retaliation by abrogating the Indus water treaty and “stopping” Indus water so that Pakistan would suffer. China's quiet threat that it could stop Brahmaputra water into India killed the brave words.

Indeed, precisely because the post-Uri surgical strike was followed by brave “we-dun-it” declarations of having put an end to Pakistan's terror attacks, there has been unprecedented loss of Indian soldiers killed by Pakistan-sponsored attacks. And now Pakistan is carrying out joint military exercises with Russia, drawing clear battle lines. A Pakistani general's cheeky “invitation” to India to join in the China-Pakistan economic corridor shows the disdain with which it treats India.

No doubt the Pakistani Army knows that the Indian Army is gradually but surely being emasculated by its own politician-bureaucrat nexus which has heaped humiliation on it. More brave words by clueless politicians of India's capability and willingness to carry out a nuclear strike on Pakistan, have only served to heighten tension.

After a terror raid on an army camp in India's northeast, the Indian Army pursued the terrorists and eliminated them. But a NDA-2 minister boasted that the army had killed the terrorists after “hot pursuit” across the border into Myanmar. This was an inexcusable faux pas in diplomatic relations with Myanmar. Today, Myanmar is cosying up with China militarily and economically.

When Nepal had an internal problem with its Madeshi population regarding its draft Constitution, India's NDA-2 government orchestrated a blockade of essential commodities into Nepal, causing immense suffering among the Nepali population. Now we read that Nepal's army is carrying out joint military exercises with China.

In short, India is being out-manoevred mainly because of a combination of its own diplomatic ineptness and its falling into bed with USA as its subordinate partner. The “NDA” in USA's NDA Act could well be mistaken for National Democratic Alliance!

India's sovereignty: India's strength in the international arena, and especially in the South Asia region, is predicated upon its diplomatic competence and its military capability. When the first is apparently being handled almost solely by PM Modi, and the second is being weakened by neglecting its weapons, ammunition and equipment supplies combined with an (albeit unintended) assault on the morale of its soldiers, one wonders how and whether India's sovereignty will survive. Source:

See also