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  5. Arming without Aiming: India's Military Modernization by Stephen Philip Cohen

For this to happen, Washington must hold out the large carrot of technology and weapons transfers, which are politically problematic for many reasons, specifically the restrictive domestic legislation on defense hardware. One solution lies in the United States co-developing technology with India, as it does with Israel. Since new technology is not yet developed, it cannot be subjected to restrictive U. However, a few acquisitions of American equipment are notable. Marine assault vessel, can provide rapid sealift capacity for Indian forces, presumably allowing for intervention elsewhere in South Asia or the Indian Ocean region.

The large Boeing airlifters replace obsolete Soviet aircraft and have greater capabilities. It remains to be seen whether India will use its new assets to develop a true power-projection capacity. Unless India can start building aircraft carriers on its own, its recent purchase of a carrier and carrier-borne jets from Russia will be largely symbolic. The planned acquisition of a nuclear submarine with nuclear-tipped missiles raises weighty questions about Asian nuclear stability, but this purchase will not come to fruition for many years.

India is hedging all around. India continues to buy Russian equipment due to prices and a misplaced sense of autonomy. There could be a major Indo-Russian rupture very soon, however, since Indian ships were recently turned away from a planned joint exercise after showing up in Vladivostok. India will buy what it really needs, such as fighter jets, from both Europeans and Russians, who are less likely than the United States to attach conditions to such purchases. On the other hand, it will continue to buy from the United States items unrelated to immediate threats, such as power-projection equipment, though New Delhi has no immediate plans to conduct expeditionary warfare.

Now that India has the money to buy and build, it must decide on its priorities and with whom to partner. In this, the United States remains a contender, but not the obvious or automatic first choice. Recently India rejected offers from two U. This was followed by the resignation of U. Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer, which some thought was related to the bidding. The Indian defense establishment is uneasy about using an American airplane on missions potentially involving combat with Pakistan, a formal U.

There may also be U. In the end, we believe, the decision was mostly political, as India intended to preserve supply reliability. The United States continues to have a poor reputation as a military supplier. The decision also signaled to Washington that New Delhi cannot be taken for granted, as the Obama administration has largely done. India would have given the order to a U.

Since this guarantee was not available, and awarding a U. The Indian state has failed to develop a timely, transparent, and legitimate military procurement system. On the one hand, both the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP and Congress Party are very fearful of the specter of scandal, but on the other hand corruption continues to be rife as the Tehelka sting operations and other scandals have shown.

The result is that the acquisition process has become highly bureaucratized, to the detriment of force capability and readiness. We agree with the late K. As you note above, India has recently purchased significant quantities of military equipment from the United States, with more deals potentially in the pipeline. What does the United States stand to gain from these sales? The United States should see India as a long-term strategic investment and perhaps a partner. India could assume more responsibility for stabilizing chaotic areas of the world.

They are steps in the right direction, but New Delhi sees them primarily as business deals that are paid for and that the United States supplies, no strings attached. Recently, Senators John Cornyn and Joe Lieberman introduced committee amendments that require the Secretary of Defense to examine the possibility of selling India F fighters. However, we think India is unlikely to buy another high-profile fighter jet unless the current strategic balance in the region or the current trajectory of the U.

We think U. Tony Zinni. The Big Stick.

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