Nov 27: India’s hegemonic designs

November 27, 2011

India’s plans to spend huge amounts on military build up and purchase of sophisticated arsenals from all over the world especially procurement of sophisticated weapons from France, Israel, Russia and the US are reflective of India’s hegemonic designs. It is a source of concern not only for Pakistan and other countries of the region but also China. Indian leadership’s vows that India will defend its national interests beyond South Asia and Middle East, which shows its real face. At the same time India has raised the bogey of Chinese threat. In a recent statement, Indian Army chief General V.K. Singh said: “Around 4,000 Chinese including the troops of the People’s Liberation Army of China are in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK)”. India takes recourse to blatant lies and projects the presence of Chinese troops in AJK and GB areas, knowing full well that Chinese engineers and survey technicians were helping Pakistan Frontier Works Organization
(FWO) to rebuild and repair portions of Karakoram Highway (KKH) damaged due to flash floods and earthquakes. Nevertheless, India plans to recruit 100,000 soldiers over the next five years to deploy them on Indo-China border and IOK. In fact a mountain strike corps and four divisions are being raised.

Disregarding the needs of the teeming millions living below the poverty line, India is on a shopping spree with more than $100 billion in hand, and entering into defence deals with developed countries. After signing nuclear deal with the US, Nuclear Suppliers Group’s countries are selling also nuclear-related materials and equipment to India. Apart from France, Britain, Germany, Japan – a strong opponent of nuclear proliferation – eyes the lucrative market. India as a state is rich but it is a land of appalling poverty where more than 400 million people are living below a meanly defined poverty line. Multi-millions are living in slums and sleeping on the footpaths, because Indian government is diverting a very large part of its resources to become a regional power, world power and member of United Nations Security Council. After the approval by the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, top leaders of the developed countries visited India to benefit from its
prodigious economic growth.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, during his visit to India launched a fierce attack on Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of allowing terrorist groups to form safe havens in its territory. He said terrorist groups were free to launch attacks on India and NATO troops in Afghanistan from Pakistan. His comments echoed the remarks made by British Prime Minister David Cameron who during his visit to India by end of July 2010 had said that Pakistan could not be allowed to “look both ways” or export terrorism to its neighbours. During her visit to India the same year, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel in reply to a question said: “India is suffering as a consequence of terrorist attacks. We still remember the attack in Mumbai. At that time we criticised what was done by these perpetrators. We want to do whatever we can to ensure that these terror attacks are not repeated.” It is true that foreign relations are no altruistic pursuit but extremely
self-centered, self-serving motivated actions. But it is difficult to imagine that heads of above three European countries could stoop so low as to issue statements against Pakistan just to appease India for selling their military hardware and other stuff to India.

After Indo-US nuclear deal, India has the capacity to increase from its current production capacity of six to 10 additional nuclear bombs a year to several dozen per year. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to India was the latest in a series of high-profile visits by leaders of almost all major countries. A slew of 30 agreements signed by the two sides, covering areas ranging from nuclear and space co-operation, defence and business to counter-terrorism and culture, showed the expanded scope of the relationship. The multi-million dollar programme for joint production of a fifth generation fighter aircraft could be a milestone in collaboration. India’s traditional defence relationship with Russia was that of a customer, with Moscow meeting 70 per cent of its arms and equipment requirements. Russia has also offered the best terms in its defence deals, supplying India with technologies and hardware, like nuclear submarines, which other countries
were not willing to give, and without restrictive conditions like end-user clauses. He also extended full support for India’s bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council and other bodies like the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

New Delhi allocated $11 billion to build and buy six new-generation submarines in what would be one of the biggest military contracts that India ever signed. The Times of India had reported that the Defense Acquisitions Council, chaired by federal Defense Minister A.K. Antony took the decision on the deal. Since January 2010, India is preparing for a possible ‘two-front war’ with China and Pakistan. Indian newspaper had reported that Indian Army was now revising its five-year-old doctrine to effectively meet the challenges of war with China and Pakistan, deal with asymmetric and fourth-generation warfare, and enhance strategic reach and joint operations with IAF and Navy. Work on the new war doctrine – to reflect the reconfiguration of threat perceptions and security challenges – was underway under the aegis of Shimla-based Army Training Command. The then head of the command Lt/ General AS Lamba said that a massive thrust in Rawalpindi to quiet
Pakistanis within 48 hours of the start of the assault. In 1998, India and Pakistan had detonated nuclear devices and drew flak from US, the West and Japan who suspended economic aid to both the countries. Japan, having seen death and destruction during Second World War when the US had dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has been the most vocal opponent of nuclear proliferation. Many student organizations and members of civil society had sent delegations to India and Pakistan to make a fervent appeal to India and Pakistan to abandon further development of nukes.

Earlier, Japan had declined to sign a civilian pact with India because it was not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and had barred Japanese companies from supplying nuclear products to India. But seeing that countries of Nuclear Suppliers Group would benefit from multi-billion dollar business from India, Japan does not like to be left behind. On 29th October 2011, Japan agreed to resume civil nuclear negotiations with India that were stalled after the Fukushima disaster. This means that commercial considerations won and principles were sacrificed by those who had earlier taken a principled stand.

(The writer is Lahore-based senior journalist.)