Wednesday, August 24, 2005

India-US Defense Cooperation

As I have predicted warming tie between the US and India. Today, Defense News came out with this article (subscription requires).

August 23, 2005
India, U.S. Prepare To Discuss Weapon Buys (By Vivek Raghuvanshi, New Delhi)

Indian and U.S. officials will discuss the possible sale to New Delhi of U.S. weaponry — including Aegis missile systems, an amphibious platform dock ship, anti-submarine patrol aircraft and Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 air defense systems — when Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kohler, the Pentagon's Defense Cooperation Security Agency chief, visits here next month.

Indian Defence Ministry sources said arming Indian destroyers with anti-submarine patrol aircraft and Aegis missile systems would help the ships detect Chinese submarines operating in the Indian Ocean region. India also considers purchase of an anti-ballistic air defense system like the PAC-3 or the Israeli-U.S. Arrow-2 a priority, and money is not an issue, a Defence Ministry official said.

The meeting between Kohler and senior Indian Defence Ministry officials will be the first since the two countries agreed to begin cooperating on civilian nuclear efforts here during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to United States in July.

Kohler will give officials here a classified technical briefing on the PAC-3, F-16 and F-18 multirole, multirange combat aircraft.

Officials also will discuss India's possible purchase of the USS Trenton, a decommissioned Austin-class amphibious transport dock, used to transport large numbers of troops over long distances. An Indian Navy official, however, said the Trenton is not in good condition.

The Indian Navy also wants to buy U.S. Aegis combat systems for its ships. The Navy official said the system can monitor large areas of the Indian Ocean, keeping an eye on Chinese ships and submarines there. The Aegis system can defend Indian sea-based assets from short-and long-range missiles, added the Navy official, who strongly advocated the purchase of this system.

Defence Ministry officials said Aug. 23 that the government likely will buy the Aegis system even though similar systems are available from other sources in the world at a cheaper price.

Of course this is only preliminary discussion and there was no concrete agreement. However such a scenario was unthinkable only a decade ago. Critics of the administration often cite poor relation with Western Europe as an example of poor diplomacy. But even under Clinton, the supposedly diplomatic President, India and the US had a cold and distance relationship. They fail to see that under the realignment of world politic, it is necessary for the US to be closer to some and further to others. Warming tie with the most populous democracy is a very encouraging sign. I would encourage the administration to work even harder at building trust and friendship with India.

5 Comments:

Blogger Joe Katzman said...

AEGIS is a fairly unique system, and offers standardization benefits for different forces which use it. Indeed, ships equipped with Co-operative Engagement Capability (CEC) allow every compatible ship in a multinational flotilla to basically network their radars, sensors, etc. so a ships can "pool" their sensoirs for a better picture, and even fire on targets they can't themselves see.

This sort of thing has driven AEGIS' selection by a number of American allies.

Similar is not the same, and if you're thinking in terms of naval ballistic missile protection, for instance, there's really only one choice. India is thinking that way.

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