Ahead of Obama’s India visit, a psi-war stoking China-India divide manifested early November, 2010 in the Indian print media. Former US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill, currently the Henry Kissinger Senior Fellow for US foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, was quoted as saying “I think it's fair to say now that China-India relations are not very good and in fact have been deteriorating for about last the 18 months.
“The Indians have a long list of Chinese transgressions, which in my judgment are accurate, having to do with Chinese policy on Kashmir and on the border dispute between the two countries and the so-called 'ring of pearls' of Chinese quasi-military installations in Bangladesh and in Sri Lanka and in Pakistan and so forth,” he said.
“So the relations aren't very good between the two. The Prime Minister keeps saying, and I think deeply believes, that there's no reason why India and China could not have a good long-term relationship. But it isn't clear that same degree of enthusiasm for that end state is felt in Beijing.
“Many Indian strategists think there's some evidence that China's preoccupation with Pakistan and its long-time close links is closely connected to the Chinese realization that if India is preoccupied, if not pinned down by cross-border terrorism from Pakistan and problems in the India-Pakistan relation, it will slow the rise of India as a great power.
“In other words, China is using Pakistan to slow India's rise..
“So China-India relations are not good, and I myself don't think they're going to get very much better on the geopolitical and security side. Now on the economic side, they're thriving, and of course, that's good for both countries.
“The Indians have no interest in thoughts of containing China, a concept that one sees in the American media from time to time. No way faster to clear a Delhi drawing room than to begin to talk about containing China.
“But what India would like is an agreement with the US that over the long term, the US and India will keep in close touch, both to the issue of Chinese behavior and trying to decipher it, and second, close touch on trying to shape Chinese external behavior in a positive way.”
Fourteen months earlier, correspondent Edward Wong had reported to New York Times from Tawang, an Indian township perched 10,000 feet in the icy reaches of Eastern Himalayas as follows (abridged): “The border with China is just 23 miles away; Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, 316 miles; and Beijing, 2,676 miles.
Tawang is not only home to one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most sacred monasteries, but is also the site of a huge Indian military build-up.
Though little known to the outside world, Tawang is the biggest tinderbox in relations between the world’s two most populous nations. It is the focus of China’s most delicate land-border dispute, a conflict rooted in Chinese claims of sovereignty over all of historical Tibet.
The roots of the conflict go back to China’s territorial claims to Tibet, an enduring source of friction between China and many foreign nations. China insists that this section of northeast India has historically been part of Tibet, and should be part of China.
Tawang is a thickly forested area of white stupas and steep, terraced hillsides that is home to the Monpa people, who practice Tibetan Buddhism, speak a language similar to Tibetan and once paid tribute to rulers in Lhasa. The Sixth Dalai Lama was born here in the 17th century. The Chinese Army occupied Tawang briefly in 1962, during a war with India fought over this and other territories along the 2,521-mile border.
In some ways, Tawang has become a proxy battleground, too, between China and the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of the Tibetans, who passed through this valley when he fled into exile in 1959. From his home in the distant Indian hill town of Dharamsala, he wields enormous influence over Tawang. He appoints the abbot of the powerful monastery and gives financial support to institutions throughout the area. Last year, the Dalai Lama announced for the first time that Tawang is a part of India.
Few expect China to try to annex Tawang by force, but military skirmishes are a real danger, analysts say. The Indian military recorded 270 border violations and nearly 2,300 instances of ‘aggressive border patrolling’ by Chinese soldiers last year.
China has grown increasingly hostile to the Dalai Lama after severe ethnic unrest in Tibet in 2008. This year, it turned its diplomatic guns on India over the Tawang issue. China moved in March to block a $2.9 billion loan to India from the Asian Development Bank, a multination group based in Manila that has China on its board, because $60 million of the loan had been earmarked for flood-control projects in Arunachal Pradesh. The loan was approved in mid-June over China’s heated objections.
J. J. Singh, the governor of Arunachal Pradesh and a retired chief of the Indian Army, said in June that the Indian military was adding two divisions of troops, totaling 50,000 to 60,000 soldiers, to the border region over the next several years. Four Sukhoi fighter jets were immediately deployed to a nearby air base.
‘The China-India border has got to be one of the most continuously negotiated borders in modern history,’ said M. Taylor Fravel, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is a leading expert on China’s borders.”
The report hardly touched the convulsions at the time in the body of Indian strategic analysts over “India-China border (becoming) more hot than India-Pakistan border.” In August 2009, D.S. Rajan, Director, Chennai Centre of China Studies, India had stumbled on a Chinese language article in an private Chinese website iiss.cn ¾, which was mistakenly confused with www.chinaiiss.org, official site of China International Institute of Strategic Studies. The writer of the article, using a pseudonym Zhanlue (which translates as “strategy”) hinted at possible “dismembering” of India into more than twenty parts, as “India’s sense of national unity is weak”. This created a furor in the Indian media. The furor warranted an official response from New Delhi calming down “alarmist” passions in media reports and demi-official assurances of the People’s Republic of China that the write-up came out in an obscure website transferred to the private website detected in India did not in any way represent Chinese policy which was geared towards steadily improving bilateral understanding and trade relations with India.
Indeed the editor of the website iiss.cn, Lu Wenji who transferred the article from its previous site, www.club.xilu.com, forum for public opinion, explained that she and her colleagues worked hard to find the identity of the writer, but said, “it’s too difficult to verify the identity and credentials, due to the anonymity of the Internet.”
But when the retiring Chief of Indian Navy (who was also the Chairman of Chief of Staffs Committee to be succeeded by incoming Indian Army Chief), Admiral Suresh Mehta publicly commented about the inadequacy of Indian Navy compared to China, there was vehement jingoistic reaction from the Indian strategic establishment. RSN Singh, a former military intelligence officer who had served the Research and Analysis Wing under the Prime Minister’s Office of the Indian government, spat venom on China as follows: “The recent remarks of the outgoing Indian Navy Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, where he ascribed China's economic and military prowess as beyond India's reach, is misplaced and exaggerated given China's present and evolving tangible and intangible assets.
“By all indications, China is a paranoid nation. It is so apprehensive about economic competition from India that it allowed some of its firms to produce fake Indian drugs and label them 'Made in India' for export, especially to African countries.
“China is so-ill reputed for its proliferation activities that one is compelled to believe that had it not been for its own problems in the Xinjiang region, it would have not hesitated to provide nuclear weapons or technology to the Taliban or the Al-Qaeda.
“China's internal situation is explosive not only in terms of the ethnic unrest in Xinjiang and Tibet, but in the Chinese hinterland, where there is a complete media blackout and no foreigners are allowed.
“Contemporary China has no such distinctions or achievements in military technology. It is only catching up with the inexorable technological agenda set by the western countries. Technological inventions and innovations cannot be a product of a fiat or diktat. They evolve under a given political, social and economic environment. Countries, which try to reach up to the shifting benchmark and rely on reverse technologies, can at best be second- best.
“Recently a Chinese strategic commentator suggested that China should balkanize India into 26 parts. The fact of the matter is that barring the border skirmish with newly independent India in 1962, China has been a humiliated empire, never winning any military engagement in its history.
“The story of military humiliations of China, which began with the first Anglo-Chinese War, better known as Opium War (1839-1842), continued well into the first half of 20th century i.e. till World War-II. The allied expedition during the Boxer Revolution in 1900 in China in which many western missionary facilities were burnt and thousands of Chinese Christians were killed, had left China comprehensively defeated.
In 1932, Japan had annexed Manchuria, which finally resulted in a full-scale war in 1937 which lasted till the end of World War-II. China's initiation of war against Vietnam in 1978 speciously on the plea ‘to teach it a lesson’ turned out to be a miscalculated adventure.
“On paper the Chinese Navy inventory appears to be formidable. But more than 70 percent of it is of average or poor quality. The major chunk of the submarines belong to the Romeo class, whose endurance is limited and are only suitable for coastal defense.
“Given the US direct and indirect presence in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, (China) is paranoid about the growing military assertiveness of Japan and is loathe to see a united Korea.”
“Given these robust external threats and internal contradictions, Beijing would do well to indulge in some deep introspection.”
That was September, 2009. The Obama visit in November, 2010 came as an enormous boost to Indian self-esteem as a rising global player. The Obama-Manmohan Singh communiqué spelt out, among other things, the frame-work of an enduring strategic partnership as follows: “Reaffirming their nations’ shared values and increasing convergence of interests, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama resolved today in New Delhi to expand and strengthen the India-U.S. global strategic partnership.
“Building on the transformation in India-U.S. relations over the past decade, the two leaders resolved to intensify cooperation between their nations to promote a secure and stable world; and exercise global leadership in support of economic development, open government and democratic values.
The two leaders reaffirmed that India-U.S. strategic partnership is indispensable not only for their two countries but also for global stability and prosperity in the 21st century.
Prime Minister Singh and President Obama called for an efficient, effective, credible and legitimate United Nations to ensure a just and sustainable international order. Prime Minister Singh welcomed President Obama's affirmation that, in the years ahead, the United States looks forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.
Prime Minister Singh and President Obama reiterated that India and the United States, as global leaders, will partner for global security, especially as India serves on the Security Council over the next two years. Both leaders underscored that all states have an obligation to comply with and implement UN Security Council Resolutions, including UN sanctions regimes.
In this context, the leaders reaffirmed their support for the East Asia Summit. The United States welcomes, in particular, India's leadership in expanding prosperity and security across the region. The two leaders agreed to deepen existing regular strategic consultations on developments in East Asia, and decided to expand and intensify their strategic consultations to cover regional and global issues of mutual interest, including Central and West Asia.
“Condemning terrorism in all its forms, the two sides agreed that all terrorist networks, including Lashkar e-Taiba, must be defeated and called for Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
“The two Governments resolved to further strengthen defense cooperation, including through security dialogue, exercises, and promoting trade and collaboration in defense equipment and technology. President Obama welcomed India's decision to purchase U.S. high-technology defense items, which reflects our strengthening bilateral defense relations and will contribute to creating jobs in the United States.
“Recognizing that India and the United States should play a leadership role in promoting global non-proliferation objectives two leaders decided to take mutual steps to expand U.S.-India cooperation in civil space, defense, and other high-technology sectors. These steps include the United States removing Indian entities from the U.S. Department of Commerce's “Entity List” and realignment of India in U.S. export control regulations.
“In addition, the United States intends to support India's full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes (Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group, and Wassenaar Arrangement) in a phased manner, as the Government of India takes steps towards the full adoption of the regimes' export control requirements to reflect its prospective membership, with both processes moving forward together.
“Taking advantage of the global nature of their relationship, and recognizing India's vast development experience and historical research strengths, the two leaders pledged to work together, in addition to their independent programs, to adapt shared innovations and technologies and use their expertise in capacity building to extend food security to interested countries, including in Africa, in consultation with host governments.”
In due course, India did obtain smooth cooperation and unreserved recognition as a legitimate nuclear power, albeit after taking adequate steps to conform to standards of the nuclear safety and non-proliferation regime, by the exclusive club of the masters of nuclear technology. But in the Sino-American competition over the African turf, Indian entry made little difference. And with patent proof of Chinese acquisition and development of superb military technology apart from its economic muscle, the chameleon of changing world order wore a different color.
Enigmatically, early 2011 George Friedman, founder of STRATFOR global geopolitical intelligence published a book entitled “The Next Decade”, in which he advocated diametrically the opposite of what Ambassador Blackwill suggested to the Indian media in November, 2010. Friedman said it is in the United States interest to keep “using Pakistan to slow India’s rise” as a naval power: “The biggest problem for India lies to the west, where there is desert, and Pakistan. That Islamic nation has fought multiple wars with the predominantly Hindu India, and relations range from extremely cool to hostile. …… The balance of power between Pakistan and India is the major feature of the subcontinent. Maintaining this balance of power is a significant objective for the United States in the decade to come.
“India maintains a substantial military that has three functions. First, it balances Pakistan. Second, it protects the northern frontier against a Chinese incursion (which the terrain makes difficult to imagine). Most important, the Indian military, like the Chinese military, guarantees the internal security of the nation—no minor consideration in a diverse country with deeply divided regions. There is currently a significant rebellion by Maoists in the east, for instance, just the sort of thing that it is the army’s job to prevent or suppress.
On the seas, the Indians have been interested in developing a navy that could become a major player in the Indian Ocean, protecting India’s sea-lanes and projecting Indian power. But the United States has no interest in seeing India proceed along these lines. The Indian Ocean is the passageway to the Pacific for Persian Gulf oil, and the United States will deploy powerful forces there no matter how it reduces its presence on land.
To keep Indian naval development below a threshold that could threaten U.S. interests, the United States will strive to divert India’s defense expenditure toward the army and the tactical air force rather than the navy. The cheapest way to accomplish this and preempt a potential long-range problem is for the United States to support a stronger Pakistan, thus keeping India’s security planners focused on the land and not the sea.
By the same token, India is interested in undermining the U.S.-Pakistani relationship or, at the very least, keeping the United States in Afghanistan in order to destabilize Pakistan. Failing that, India may reach out to other countries, as it did to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Pakistan does not represent an existential threat to India, even in the unlikely event of a nuclear exchange. But Pakistan is not going to simply collapse, and therefore will remain the persistent problem that India’s strategic policy will continue to pivot on.”
By February-March, 2011, shaken by the strategic shock of simulated pincer bite of “Arab spring” crawling in from Egypt and Tunisia, India was not seeing eye to eye at all with Europe and USA over the African-Mediterranean theater. Indeed, India has in the meanwhile expanded BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) cooperation over global climate change and economic governance issues.
But another bug of psi-war crept into India-China relations DS Rajan of Chennai Centre of China Studies again detected a virulent Chinese blogger, who suggested that to secure “Southern Tibet”, China should help create an Eastern Hindustan State” separating Indian North-east along the Siliguri line. Outraged Indian strategic thinkers highlighted the translation of the blog and its forceful rebuttal by DS Rajan in South Asia Analysis Group Paper 4390 dated 21 March, 2011 as follows: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controlled Global Times, under its ‘Forum for Discussions’ column appearing in its Chinese language version, ‘huanqiu’, on 4 March 2011, has carried a Blog article contributed by an individual writer ‘Zao An’, captioned ‘India issues letter of challenge by increasing troops in Southern Tibet: China’s war plan out’.
The article has alleged that in addition to the local police and armed forces, India’s three Mountain Divisions and one Reconnaissance Battalion are now deployed in what it called, ‘Southern Tibet’ (India’s Arunachal Pradesh); further according to it, India has stationed in ‘Southern Tibet’ its refueling and advanced early warning aircraft and constructed airports, capable of handling advanced Su-30 MKI aircraft. The total Indian troop strength in ‘Southern Tibet’ has reached more than 200,000. The writer ‘Zao An’ has also noted, what he describes as, ‘repeated statements of India’s high officials that India cannot lose a second war with China,’ India’s withdrawal of part of its armed forces deployed in Kashmir, New Delhi’s search for reconciliation with Islamabad, the increasing Indian ‘aspirations’ for deploying troops in Afghanistan and Tajikistan and lastly, remarks often made by the Dalai Lama that Tibet belongs to India, not to China’.
Zao An has admitted that India’s very recent actions in China’s South-west, have not led to a show down between the two sides for the main reason that the time is not yet ripe for this. China still enjoys sufficient internal stability and has inherent ability to protect it. Also, some countries led by the USA have come to face a kind of unstable situation; any conspiracy to besiege China is therefore doomed to end in a failure. The writer, has stated that still such factors have not prevented India from enlarging its military strength and expanding its ambitions to an ‘explosive’ stage and contrasted this with China’s approach considering negotiations as the mean to deal with Southern Tibet issue. India’s GDP is to go up this year, perhaps surpassing that of China and by next five years India’s population can exceed that of China. The Blog has then observed that under encouragement from various factors, it is likely that India’s swelling ambitions may cross the limits of its mind and that it may launch a ‘pre-emptive attack’ on China.
How to understand India’s action of increasing troops in ‘Southern Tibet’ over which China has sovereignty? Raising this question, the article has observed that the scope of India’s action is no longer restricted to its self-defense needs. It has been proven historically that ‘Southern Tibet’ belongs to China; that territory remains in the dreams of several generations of the Chinese. But ‘Southern Tibet’ with a 100 million population is under India’s actual control. The article has added that under such conditions, ‘we must see that India has no plans to really build-up Southern Tibet and instead wants to make Southern Tibet a springboard for carrying out a jump into China’s hinterland’.
Zao An further mentions that what is worrisome is that Southern Tibet has again suffered India’s onslaught. Under such a situation, it may not be possible for China to ‘recover’ Southern Tibet through peaceful means; to avoid any escalation to the situation, China has made clear that it will not resort to arms, which position is clearly understood by India. India’s dispatch of a
dditional troops into Southern Tibet is being seen as a reaction to China’s building of military infrastructure along the line of its actual control – construction of at least six airports and strategic high-ways capable of transporting weapons. ‘We have seen that though on surface, India has dispatched afresh its troops into Southern Tibet, the present phase may only mark an exploratory attack, but then exploratory attack can become an attack. At a key moment, India can even resort to the use of nuclear weapons against China. We cannot sit idle and watch India’s using of its military and weapons to occupy China’s precious territory’.
The Blog has further stated, ‘What we see therefore is an India which is getting aggressive with the sole purpose of defeating China, occupying more land and re-establishing a new great Hindustan!’
Zao An, touching upon the role of the Dalai Lama, has said that the latter is getting old and is in a delicate situation with regard to finding his successor. He wants to set up a ‘Greater Tibet’ and sell it to India. When he becomes 100 years old, he may draw his own ‘Dalai Lama line’, similar to the past ‘McMahon line’, providing for incorporation of ‘Greater Tibet’ into India. The article then raised a question-
India used the line drawn by the dead McMahon to takeaway Chinese territory, and will India similarly takeaway Chinese territory once again on the basis of the dead Dalai Lama’s line? Admitting that the Dalai Lama is still a person having some influence and capable of betraying China, the article has said that the Tibetan Government in exile is ‘recognized’ by India, which may provoke a clash between China and India in future.
Giving an advice to China, the Blog has stated, ‘under the conditions of we facing India’s shameless invasion into China’s Southern Tibet, China should at least prepare a three- stage plan. Identifying the first stage as “maintaining low intensity war status quo’, it has remarked that in the interest of short and long term stability of the country, China should no longer follow the path of harmony with respect to relations with India, instead it should set a limit to its tolerance. Maintenance of ‘low intensity war status quo’ can only be for three to five years, because once India’s population and economic growth exceed that of China, a rising India will not be content with its role in South Asia, and can certainly challenge China. While persisting in such low intensity resistance, China must guarantee its military superiority to the greatest degree, recognizing at the same time the possibility of China carrying out great scale bombing and attack against India. If China gains strong deterrence capabilities against India, India cannot do in Southern Tibet whatever it wants. Otherwise, India will gather strength; continuously compress China’s strategic space and bottom line, so as to maximize access to sovereignty over Southern Tibet.
According to the Blog article, China’s second plan should be to actually fight a low intensity war against India. To protect its sovereignty over Southern Tibet, such ‘lowest limit’ plan, can be developed by China into a ‘middle-level intensity war’ against India, so that India’s conspiracy to occupy Southern Tibet can be smashed within a shortest period of time and Southern Tibet can simultaneously be brought back to China’s practical occupation, enabling China to carry out speedy economic development there and thus to a great degree win the support of people there. In this way, the Sino-Indian dispute can become empty, requiring no action.
As per the Blog, China’s third plan could aim at generating a protracted confrontation with India; this may mean the beginning of division of India. China can thoroughly separate India and its North-eastern parts, deeply cutting along the Siliguri line. It can make use of the separatist forces in these parts for forming a completely new ‘Eastern Hindustan’. China can at the same time help Myanmar, Bangladesh etc. to support such a newly risen nation. In this way, New Delhi can be removed completely out of the regional affairs.
The article has observed that India claims Southern Tibet as its inalienable part. On the other hand, China considers Southern Tibet as a disputed territory. In this connection, it has raised two questions – Is such a position advantageous to China? Has the support of the United States to India put China in a weaker position? Zao An has answered them by saying that in return for US military help and technological support, India may like to continuously adopt a tough stand to deal with their common enemy that is China. China on its part has developed infrastructure in Tibet like the Qinghai-Tibet railway but it has no military connotation and does not look like a plan to carry out forward attacks. The infrastructure is for civilian use, but can be used for military purpose at the times of war. The writer has found that China’s stand is apparently weak. The signal China is giving to foreign countries is that the Chinese government is not having determination or will to protect its sovereignty over Southern Tibet. But, China is the home for Xunzu’s ‘Art of War’, which allows deception. If China is absolutely firm now, it will amount to allowing Russia and India to be more vigilant on China. This will not be beneficial to China. China should not therefore indulge in a military offensive against India. Though its military infrastructure across the border appears defensive, China may be in a position to use it for offence. China can make use of its rapid military transport capability to India’s surprise. China should not show off its military power. It should use its comprehensive national strength to settle its dispute with India.”
There were sober reactions too amongst Indian thinkers. Madhu Babu of Andhra Friends Discussion commented in Timepass Forum the same day as the SAAG Paper 4390 on the same “blog article of an individual analysts in the People’s Republic of China named Zao An” as follows: “Question arises –Are such opinions part of Beijing’s psi-war against India? Some analysts in India think so (SAAG Paper No.4356 dated 28 January 2011).
The writer Zao An’s views are being published frequently by the Global Times (Chinese language edition). The writer seems to possess an excellent background knowledge on topics covered. Notable is that an authoritative organ in China is giving space to them. The blog in question may therefore merit attention.
We must however consider such discordant notes emanating from China with utmost caution; we should keep in our minds that such writings are from individuals in China and do not reflect the government, Party or military positions in the PRC. The minimum, which we can take, is that at least, some in the Chinese society hold such jingoistic opinions, which by itself look important and deserves to be noted in India. Vice-versa, China too may be concerned about harsh anti-PRC comments made in India. Needless to say, mutual suspicions at both the sides need to be removed in the overall interest of India-China relations, particularly at a time when their leaders have come to recognize that there is enough space for the two countries to work together. Encouragement by both nations to People to People contact, especially among scholars of India and China, can specifically address the existing perceptional gaps between the two sides.”
In any event, the policymakers in Delhi and in Beijing were not diverted from a new strategic cooperation that was flowering in the matrix of an emerging compact between Brazil, Russia, India and China called BRIC, turned BRICS by the inclusion of South Africa. All five abstained in the UNSC voting on the “No-fly Zone” mandate sought by US-led coalition partners to intervene in Libya.
By end of April, Indian media reported US loss of military aircraft supply opportunity in India as follows: The U.S. was “deeply disappointed” as India’s Defense Ministry opted for European over American warplanes for the world’s biggest fighter-jet aircraft order in 15 years, snubbing the lobbying efforts by President Barack Obama.
India informed the U.S. that Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. “were not selected for procurement” for the warplane, the American embassy in New Delhi said in a statement, citing Ambassador Timothy Roemer. India’s Defense Ministry reportedly short listed the aircraft of France’s Dassault Aviation SA and the European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co.
Kapil Kak, a retired Indian air vice marshal and currently director of the Center for Air Power Studies, observed, however, that “A remaining uncertainty is that the defining nature of the U.S.-Indian strategic partnership might trump the purely operational and technical considerations” that have given an advantage to the European companies.
The ministry’s preference for the newer, European models “is not a political choice,” said V.K. Kapoor, a retired lieutenant general who monitors India’s military procurements. “It was a by-the-book technical assessment that the American F-16 and F/A-18, despite their upgrades, are not future- generation aircraft.” They can remain current for another five or 10 years, but this deal is going to determine the operational capacity of our air force for the next 30 years.”
Roemer statement said that the U.S. is “respectful of the procurement process” and will continue to “develop our defense partnership with India.”
Boeing said in a statement it was disappointed and will request a debriefing from the Indian air force on the decision.
Sweden’s Saab AB said in a statement that its Gripen fighter had been dropped from consideration for the planned purchase of 126 jets, a deal that Kak said may expand to 200 or more because of attrition among the Indian air force’s fleet of MiG-21 aircraft, some of which were built in the 1970s.
A spokesman for Russia’s state arms export agency, Rosoboronexport, Vyacheslav Davidenko, declined to comment on the reported exclusion of state- controlled OAO United Aircraft Corp.
Foreign governments and companies struggling to recover from global recession are competing to sell the $120 billion worth of arms that India may buy from next year to 2017 according to an estimate last year by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Pvt.
India has tripled its defense budget over the past decade to $32 billion this year, the world’s 10th-largest, as it tries to counter a quadrupling of spending in the same period by neighboring China.
U.S. President Obama had led a delegation of CEOs, including Boeing’s Jim McNerney, during his 2010 November visit to India in which the president urged increased trade between the two countries that he said will support tens of thousands of U.S. jobs. French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived a month later with the CEOs of Dassault and EADS, and Russia’s President Dmitri Medvedev followed to lobby for military sales.
And meeting in mid-April, the Heads of State and Government of the Federal Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa sealed the compact in Sanya, Hainan, China, and issued a joint declaration. “The Sanya Declaration by the heads of state and government of Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) marks a strengthening of this emerging country partnership on the world stage in at least two significant respects. First, BRIC has become BRICS with South Africa — a nation of 50 million people, abundant natural resources, a middle income economy, and tremendous potential — joining the forum as a full member. Secondly, the grouping has gained coherence as well as confidence in articulating forward-looking positions on global economic and political issues.
“Further, the Sanya declaration sends out a message on what is badly needed in international relations: a greater role and voice for developing countries — and specifically these five rising powers, which have a combined population of more than three billion, that is, more than 40 per cent of the global population.
“The Sanya Declaration calls to revamp the global monetary system and overhaul the governing structure of the international financial institutions to increase the voice and representation of emerging/developing economies.
“Similarly, the BRICS by terming the current monetary regime as ‘unrepresentative’, which doesn’t provide for stability and certainty has rightly called for expanding the special drawing rights from the International Monetary Fund. Reforming the two major world lenders has become sine qua non since the Wall Street fiasco. Total BRICS official foreign Exchange reserves were at least USD $ 4.179 Trillion dollars at end March 2011, of which (in trillions): China 3.0; Russia 0.504; Brazil 0.323; India 0.305, and; South Africa 0.047. This total amount far surpasses total IMF resources of $ 750 Billion Dollars or $0.750 Trillion.
The Sanya Declaration, dated April 14, 2011 specifically states:
“The 21st century should be marked by peace, harmony, cooperation and scientific development. Under the theme “Broad Vision, Shared Prosperity”, we conducted candid and in-depth discussions and reached broad consensus on strengthening BRICS cooperation as well as on promoting coordination on international and regional issues of common interest.
We affirm that the BRICS and other emerging countries have played an important role in contributing to world peace, security and stability, boosting global economic growth, enhancing multilateralism and promoting greater democracy in international relations.
In the economic, financial and development fields, BRICS serves as a major platform for dialogue and cooperation. We are determined to continue strengthening the BRICS partnership for common development and advance BRICS cooperation in a gradual and pragmatic manner, reflecting the principles of openness, solidarity and mutual assistance. We reiterate that such cooperation is inclusive and non-confrontational. We are open to increasing engagement and cooperation with non-BRICS countries, in particular emerging and developing countries, and relevant international and regional organizations.
We share the view that the world is undergoing far-reaching, complex and profound changes, marked by the strengthening of multi-polarity, economic globalization and increasing interdependence. While facing the evolving global environment and a multitude of global threats and challenges, the international community should join hands to strengthen cooperation for common development. Based on universally recognized norms of international law and in a spirit of mutual respect and collective decision making, global economic governance should be strengthened, democracy in international relations should be promoted, and the voice of emerging and developing countries in international affairs should be enhanced.
We express our strong commitment to multilateral diplomacy with the United Nations playing the central role in dealing with global challenges and threats. In this respect, we reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more effective, efficient and representative, so that it can deal with today's global challenges more successfully. China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to the status of India, Brazil and South Africa in international affairs, and understand and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.
We underscore that the concurrent presence of all five BRICS countries in the Security Council during the year of 2011 is a valuable opportunity to work closely together on issues of peace and security, to strengthen multilateral approaches and to facilitate future coordination on issues under UN Security Council consideration. We are deeply concerned with the turbulence in the Middle East, the North African and West African regions and sincerely wish that the countries affected achieve peace, stability, prosperity and progress and enjoy their due standing and dignity in the world according to legitimate aspirations of their peoples. We share the principle that the use of force should be avoided. We maintain that the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of each nation should be respected.
We wish to continue our cooperation in the UN Security Council on Libya. We are of the view that all the parties should resolve their differences through peaceful means and dialogue in which the UN and regional organizations should as appropriate play their role. We also express support for the African Union High-Level Panel Initiative on Libya.
“We believe that the United Nations has a central role in coordinating the international action against terrorism within the framework of the UN Charter and in accordance with principles and norms of the international law. In this context, we urge early conclusion of negotiations in the UN General Assembly of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and its adoption by all Member States.
“We support the Group of Twenty (G20) in playing a bigger role in global economic governance as the premier forum for international economic cooperation. We expect new positive outcomes in the fields of economy, finance, trade and development from the G20 Cannes Summit in 2011. We support the ongoing efforts of G20 members to stabilize international financial markets, achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth and support the growth and development of the global economy. Russia offers to host the G20 Summit in 2013. Brazil, India, China and South Africa welcome and appreciate Russia's offer.
We call for a quick achievement of the targets for the reform of the International Monetary Fund agreed to at previous G20 Summits and reiterate that the governing structure of the international financial institutions should reflect the changes in the world economy, increasing the voice and representation of emerging economies and developing countries.
Recognizing that the international financial crisis has exposed the inadequacies and deficiencies of the existing international monetary and financial system, we support the reform and improvement of the international monetary system, with a broad-based international reserve currency system providing stability and certainty. We welcome the current discussion about the role of the SDR in the existing international monetary system including the composition of SDR's basket of currencies. We call for more attention to the risks of massive cross-border capital flows now faced by the emerging economies. We call for further international financial regulatory oversight and reform.
“Excessive volatility in commodity prices, particularly those for food and energy, poses new risks for the ongoing recovery of the world economy. We support the international community in strengthening cooperation to ensure stability and strong development of physical market by reducing distortion and further regulate financial market. The international community should work together to increase production capacity, strengthen producer-consumer dialogue to balance supply and demand, and increase support to the developing countries in terms of funding and technologies. The regulation of the derivatives market for commodities should be accordingly strengthened to prevent activities capable of destabilizing markets.
“Accelerating sustainable growth of developing countries is one of the major challenges for the world. We believe that growth and development are central to addressing poverty and to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger is a moral, social, political and economic imperative of humankind and one of the greatest global challenges facing the world today, particularly in Least Developed Countries in Africa and elsewhere.
We call on the international community to actively implement the outcome document adopted by the High-level Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the MDGs held in September 2010 and achieve the objectives of the MDGs by 2015 as scheduled.
Climate change is one of the global threats challenging the livelihood of communities and countries. China, Brazil, Russia and India appreciate and support South Africa's hosting of UNFCCC COP17/CMP7. We support the Cancun Agreements and are ready to make concerted efforts with the rest of the international community to bring a successful conclusion to the negotiations at the Durban Conference applying the mandate of the Bali Roadmap and in line with the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. We commit ourselves to work towards a comprehensive, balanced and binding outcome to strengthen the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol.
“China, Russia, India and South Africa appreciate Brazil as the host of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development and look forward to working with Brazil to reach new political commitment and achieve positive and practical results in areas of economic growth, social development and environmental protection under the framework of sustainable development.
Brazil, China, India and South Africa remain committed and call upon other members to support a strong, open, rule-based multilateral trading system embodied in the World Trade Organization and a successful, comprehensive and balanced conclusion of the Doha Development Round, built on the progress already made and consistent with its development mandate. Brazil, India, China and South Africa extend full support to an early accession of Russia to the World Trade Organization.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the people of Japan with the great loss of life following the disasters that struck the country. We will continue our practical support to Japan in overcoming consequences of these catastrophes.”
The Sanya declaration has the potential of turning a new leaf in international relations, and profoundly impacting on the changing world order. Many South Asian geopolitical analysts, the present writers included, feel that the BRICS spirit and action plan would enhance India’s capacity as a global player, contribute to bridge India’s relations with neighbor and help maintain stability in the South Asian region for development, peace and prosperity of the nation-states in the region. ■