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  Year 2012 Must Become A Defining Year for India  


By: Hari Sud
January 13, 2007
iews expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.


India is tired of being politely ignored by all powers of the world. Nobody wishes to consult India in economic, diplomatic or political matters. US simply ignore India when India requests a permanent seat at the UN, Security Council. China and Japan of recent are non-committal on Indo-US Deal support at the NSG (Nuclear Supplier’s Group). Russia wishes that India stay as their client for military supplies or else they will turn lukewarm. US has given India a go ahead to buy civilian nuclear power plants, if the 123 Agreement is completed satisfactorily. The legislative process to get this approval was a drag. The deal will generate a huge amount of business between US and India and US knows about its benefits. Iran has reneged on a deal to sell LPG to India on an already agreed price. Negotiations for the aforementioned deal were completed two years back. Israel, on one hand wishes to gain a major foothold in India through its high tech weaponry. On the other hand it continues to hob knob with Pakistan thru the back door. Both know fully well that Pakistani recognition of Israel is not likely, since the religious leaders in Pakistan oppose such moves. But Israel continues to try. Tiny Sri Lanka does not listen to India and wishes to continue its war on its Tamil minority. Unlucky for them, Tamils are determined, not give up the fight without a proper recognition of their rights. Even military lead Myanmar offered better oil & gas exploration blocks to China than to India. Pakistan is training and sending Jehadis to Kashmir & rest of India to destabilize it. They are also quietly arming Taliban in Afghanistan and nobody has told them firmly to stop. They will back off very quickly, if Washington wishes so or $5 Billion a year in military & economic aid could be cut off. Poverty stricken Bangladesh can resort to unproved border firing on border any day and get away with it. All the forgoing are recent happenings. In short nobody cares much about India politically, diplomatically or militarily. They all expect India to come thru quietly, if they need India’s support. All this happens because India is considered as a soft state. India does not exert strongly enough to let everybody know that no more kicking. Rather, it is India’s turn to do the kicking. India has a strong economy; a strong military and political unity to exert its influence all around. Economy by year 2012 will be $1.5 Trillion strong and Indian military would have received deliveries of all the weapons it has ordered in last 5 years. Indian leadership has to take a stern view of all the mischief that is happening on Kashmir and Bangladesh border. All big power requests for caution are to be ignored; least they want to take the responsibility for civilizing the mischief mongers. Internationally, greater stress is to be placed to become part and partial of decision-making process at the United Nations and prevent misadventures like Iraq.

First thing First, India Need to be at the UN, Security Council Permanently

There cannot be any reason in the world, which could be given to deny India the permanent position in the UN Security Council. US are holding the key to it. Without its support it will not happen. Whether India adopts a low-key approach or is noisy about it, it does not matter. This objective has to be achieved. Diplomatically, all the current permanent members of the Security Council are lukewarm about it. They are neither yes nor no about it. In fact, it is more no than yes, because it will dilute their exalted position in the international body. Chinese acquired this status in 1973 (after Nixon visit) and since then they have gained in every walk of life. Investment has zoomed from zero in 1980 to $60 Billion in 2005. Political and diplomatic consultation between China and US are always ongoing. Every couple of month a high official of a cabinet rank from US visits China for consultation. It is a rarity that anybody from US or Europe comes visit India on official business, state visit by head of the states, aside. India has not been tied into the international diplomatic initiatives. If at all, India is consulted, it is more like passing information after the initiative is already underway. At the UN, Chinese who were expected to represent the less developed countries, have turned sissies. They have put business and monetary interests ahead of the world interest. Everybody knew in 2003 that US had less than perfect intelligence on Iraq, but Chinese & Europe decide to believe it and voted for war. Chinese vote was a surprise. It seemed that China attaches more value to their business interests than to morality and lies. UN needs a new voice, an independent voice full of wisdom and feel for others. It is the missing ingredient in the current UN decision-making set-up. This fallacy needs to be rectified. India’s presence at the decision making table is absolutely essential. US are pushing for Japan’s inclusion. Trust me, Japan’s vote will always be in US pocket. Hence, then what did the world body gain by including Japan in the Security Council. Nothing is the answer.

All the above arguments aside, India is 17% of the humanity. It is bigger than combined Europe and America. It is a functioning democracy. It has fought its own wars. It has lost one and won three others. Hence its track record is well established. Its economy in 2012 will be very large, larger than the three other permanent members of the Security Council. Then why is that India is out and lesser nations have a permanent seat at the Security Council table. It defies description.

Enough is enough; India cannot be sweet talked anymore into not pressing this issue any more. A date is to be set firmly, in which US objections aside India will force a vote on this issue at the UN General assembly. If India wins the vote then Security Council will be re-constituted. On the other hand if the current UN set-up has its way then India is at liberty to rethink its future participation in the UN or at least downgrade its overtly enthusiastic role in the peacekeeping missions abroad.

The world powers have five years to deliberate. After year 2012, none of their objections will be listened to.

Economic Might of India to Recognized by 2012

India has a tough time seeking any recognition for its achievements. That is India’s Prime Minister view also. He expressed his misgivings about it recently. China gets all the cheers, even though their achievements are a bit phony. With $1.5 Trillion economy in Year 2012, the third largest in the world, India will be in the lead over and above most of Europe and Japan. With high valued merchandise and services exports of $300 Billion, India will be in a better shape than China, financially. China may have $800 Billion in merchandise exports, but these are low margin low value merchandise with poor quality and poor durability rating. Their export numbers may look attractive, but return is poor. Low return is the price they have to pay for a huge capital input. In the end it leaves them nothing to crow about. All arguments about poverty and under privileged people in India, although true, are a broad sword, which the West uses to discredit India. They miss out on achievements and successes. They have to look at their own poverty and under-privileged class before they criticize India.

Growing economy causes growing pains. These are no different in US or Europe. US suffered a major catastrophe economically in thirties, but recovered. Europe was in a self-destruct mode from 1914 till 1945, but it recovered. India will suffer many growing pains, but it will recover. Any shortcomings in the Indian economy including high deficit are growing pains. No country in the West is free from it. As a matter of fact US is world’s largest debtor but that has not hindered it from growing economically.

India’s Military Prowess by 2012

As a matter of policy, India has earmarked only 2.5% of its GDP for defense. It is a miniscule amount when Indian economy was only $300 Billion. It was easy for China & Pakistan to push it around. They both spend a lot more on defense. Hence it was easy for them to push India around (Pakistan in Kashmir and China in its unnecessary border dispute). Each was aware that India does not have a military muscle to make its argument stick. Although, Indian military made best use of its equipment and training, but that was not adequate in this fast moving, technology driven military doctrines of today. Still the Indian military, made its presence felt in 1999 Kargil war and in 2002 confrontation with Pakistan after the Indian Parliament attack.

In 2012, India will spend close to $38 Billion on defense; again 2.5% of GDP. That is a respectable amount and far cry from $7 Billion in 1999. The latter amount is steadily increasing every year as the economy is growing. A lot of new equipment is on order. Recently published reports have stated that India has placed orders worth $22 Billion for military hardware abroad in last 5 years. A lot more orders will be placed in next five years. The Air Force, the main strategic strike force, is equipping itself with new Hawk jet trainers. Existing hardware is being upgraded with mid life upgrades. The modified Russian built SU-30 MK1 strike aircraft, has proven itself to be best in the world today. Orders for 129 new and more powerful jet fighters will be placed in a year or two. Navy has acquired stealth capability with orders for newer submarines. A refitted Russian aircraft carrier will join the navy in two years. Navy’s anti missile defense has been improved with Israel’s Barak missiles. Soon a second hand troop carrier will be purchased from US, which will give Indian marines an awesome capability to land 3,000 troops anywhere in the Indian ocean. If all goes well then India will soon test its own nuclear submarine with nuclear tipped missile. It has been under development for the last ten years. All the forgoing gives Indian Navy an unparallel strike capability in the Indian Ocean. Army has undergoing a strategic re-direction. It is preparing for nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. Special forces, which previously were domains of American & European armies, have become important for India. Ten battalions of these forces have been trained so far. Additional specialized Special Forces are under training in jungle, snow and mountain warfare. New hardware and network centric warfare training has already unnerved India’s enemies. Artillery the main strategic-arm of the army capable of inflicting strategic defeat on the enemy is being upgraded with mobile and shoot & scoot guns and Pinaka & Smerch multiple rocket Launch system.

Defense against enemy missiles reaching Indian cities have received a major boost recently with the testing of Indian developed anti-missile system. It is a major leap forward. Although the critics have dubbed it as experimental, yet it has brought home one subject i.e. very soon Indian cities will be out of range for enemy’s nuclear missiles.

India’s strategic nuclear forces have not acquired the needed edge. These are in the infancy. Some of the missiles to carry nuclear weapons long distance are not ready yet. But in next 5 years, a strategic force with nuclear capable missile will emerge. These will counter the threat from any quarter. The latter is a significant reminder to India’s enemies to think before they act.

With this awesome military power at India’s disposal by year 2012, the world has to take a note. This includes that India cannot be denied its due role in world affairs.

Iraq is the Last Time Outside Powers Have Had their Way In Indian Ocean Littoral States

America went to Iraq with high ideal of democracy, preventing nuclear weapons spread and removal of a tyrant from power. On the paper these ideals looked good. Truthfully, there was hardly any truth behind any of the charges. World was forced into believing that nuclear weapons in Iraq are round the corner. It was all a lie. In fact reverse was true. Iraqis did not hate Saddam Hussein as much as they hate Americans. Iraqis also love order which Saddam Hussein provided and which Americans are having difficulty providing. Americans and civil war (now raging in Iraq) has killed more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein ever killed. Hence, the Iraqi people are asking, who is the bigger tyrant – Americans or Saddam Hussein? America has received a bloody nose in Iraq. They just failed to anticipate all this and relied on bad intelligence.

If they ever had asked anybody other than their pet friends in Europe then they would have got a better advice. India knows more about Islamic culture and their resistance to occupation of their land than most of the sycophants in US and Europe. They should have asked India for advice. They did not ask and now are about to receive a strategic defeat on the lines of Vietnam. Ever since the Iraqi vote at the UN, which the dutiful Chinese obliged, the less developed world is losing faith in Chinese capability to look after the poor man’s interest. The world needs another power to sober up all the warmongers. India has to provide this leverage. If India were present as veto power in the Security Council in 2003, then the carte blanche handed over to the Americans would have been different. India either would have voted against any war on trumpeted charges or would have asked for time frame, definite objectives and quick withdrawal. None of these were asked, hence the Iraqis see the Americans as occupiers. This has given Iraqis one objective of their own i.e. to throw the Americans out.

If the above were to happen in year 2012, whether India had a veto right or not, India would have whole-heartedly opposed this US invasion? Indian military muscle although much smaller than US would have played a decisive role in preventing this invasion. In return US would have retained its prestige and civil war in Iraq would have been prevented.

Hence, Why is Year 2012 So Important to India?

Hence, year 2012 is to me made into a defining year for India. No more pushing around and no more ignoring India. No more politicking in India’s neighborhood to upset India by passing military hardware to Pakistan for free. No more enacting local laws like the one, which US enacted in 1978 to block civilian nuclear trade with India. On the other hand, India is to be treated at par with other major nuclear powers in formulating policies on world affairs. As an immediate measure, permanent UN, Security Council seat is to be handed over to India. It may be at the cost of taking away one seat from one of the lesser European power or expanding the Council to six. A move to give Japan a permanent seat at the Security Council table is a foolish move. Japan has a pacifist constitution, they cannot be expected to play a major military role anywhere in the world, if the situation demands. On the other hand, if all the handicaps on Japan are removed then they will be ready for another war in the Pacific. This time around they may wish to avenge the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

All in all, India’s presence on the world stage in overdue. It should have happened 25 years back. It was partly India’s leadership failure of that time. They messed up the economy for 50 years and became a joke for the rest of the world to relish. It was also a major leadership failure not to explode a full-blown nuclear bomb in 1974 instead of a small device. That would have put to rest all speculations on India’s capability. Chinese exploded their bomb in 1964 and US moved to normalize relations with them 1971. Again, India failed to blow up Pakistan’s military might in the West, in 1971, after their surrender in Bangladesh. Much of Pakistan’s military in the West stayed in tact. This allowed powers like Britain and US to start re-arming Pakistan on one pre-text or the other. Time has now arrived to correct those mistakes. The Western powers have to sit up and sober up to India’s existence. Otherwise they will find 1.1 Billion Indians mad at them for ignoring them. Again they have to look at Iraq scenario and ask themselves - Do we need India on the conference table to give them sound advice or we wish to continue, as is and stumble from one foreign policy debacle to the other. Conservatives in US may say that they have not lost the war yet. In everybody’s mind, US prosecution of war was so faulty that a victory has been thrown away. A quick withdrawal and retaining the governing mechanism of Saddam Hussein would have given US both prestige and prevented a civil war.

Hari Sud

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