INDIA – US DEFENCE DEAL

The trip of US president, Barack Obama was marked with a lot of pomp and show. He became the 1st U S president to visit India twice during his official tenure and also the first one to attend the Republic Day of  the country as a chief guest. But his visit to India was not a mere tour, instead he had many agendas in his mind which he wanted to talk on, during his 3 day visit.

Among the climate change, nuclear deal, counterterrorism talks, was the renewal of the  10 year defence framework agreement. In this discussion, working on many joint projects were decided including the co-production of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and specialised equipment for military transport aircraft; the establishment of contact groups to explore co-development of jet engine technology and aircraft carrier systems, and the upgrading of  bilateral, annual naval exercises . The establishment of a hotline between Narendra Modi and Barack Obama and their national security advisers is also an indicator of the two countries taking ties to a deeper, strategic level.

This move has also come in wake of China’s growing military power especially in the strategic Indian Ocean Region. At a time when China is on the rise economically, militarily and politically, Modi seems not only willing but eager to redefine India’s relationship with the United States especially when it has a long  history of suspicion and rivalry  with it’s neighbour. Modi has signed a joint statement with Mr. Obama criticising Beijing for provoking conflict with neighbors over control of the South China Sea. He suggested reviving a loose security network involving the United States, India, Japan and Australia. Over the past three years, between 2011 and 2014, the US surpassed Russia as the largest supplier of military equipment to India. It has sold India $10 billion worth of military gear. To protect itself, India may have made the correct move by shaking hands with the big brother but the question here arises is that in doing so, will it forget it’s long friendship with Russia who helped India in the times of distress? And now that country has hostile relations with US, which can impact the relations of India-Russia too.  It is a complex situation. India cannot ignore the west, if it wants to see a prosperous country. Constant patronage of  Russia should not hurt Indian interests.

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