Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Arms for hugging, diplomacy for fighting

Based on the recent gun fight that transpired between the diplomats, the powers that be should consider shuttering the embassies and opening arms purchase liaison offices (APLO) which also happen to deal with visas and stuff (as a side business).

Truth be told, I have never understood how this things work. The same fighter plane that the USA sells to Pakistan was being offered to India as well (and caused a lot of hurt Stateside when St Nickolaus refused to buy). Perhaps this is to create confusion in war-time, you would not know if the approaching plane is a friend or foe (until it is too late). Perhaps they will be providing different jerseys for different teams (just like football).

Also, is it too much too request that we consider NOT buying any more of this expensive crap (with all the associated corruption). Why not simplify the matter: India pays an annual fee to the USA for protection against foreign invasion (Pakistan can pay China). Maybe we are actually seeing things upside down, it is corruption that is the cake (everything else is just decoration and icing).
A 26-member delegation led by General Vincent K Brooks, commanding general of the US Army Pacific, will be here on March 18-20 for the 18th meeting of the India-US executive steering group (ESG). The Indian delegation, in turn, will be led by director-general of military operations Lt-General P R Kumar during the talks.

"The ESG will discuss measures to further crank up military-to-military ties through joint combat exercises, doctrinal and operational exchanges. The two armies are slated to conduct their annual Yudh Abhyas counter-terrorism exercise at Chaubatia (Uttarakhand) in July-August this year," said an official.

The exercise, the last edition of which was held at Fort Bragg in the US last May, was to be held earlier this year but got delayed by a few months amid the diplomatic wrangling during the Devyani Khobragade episode.

The expansive India-US defence cooperation over the last decade has seen the armed forces from the two countries conduct over 70 exercises, including the high-end Malabar naval combat exercises. India has also invited Japan to join the Malabar wargames in August-September this year, an offer which was extended during Japanese PM Shinzo Abe visit here in January.

The US has already bagged defence deals close to $10 billion over the last decade in the lucrative Indian defence market, with the latest being the $1.01 billion one for six additional C-130J "Super Hercules" aircraft.

The other deals on the anvil are the ones for 22 Apache attack helicopters, 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, four P-8I maritime patrol aircraft and 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers, together worth another $4 billion or so.

Desperate to displace Russia as India's largest defence supplier, the US is promising to treat India on par with its closest allies like the UK and Australia for providing cutting-edge military technology


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