absolutely superlative article by brahma. beware of greeks bearing gifts as was said in a different context by cassandra.
i once wrote that american interaction with india is war by other means. so it is indeed, and we have fresh proof of the same right here, right now.
i reiterate that the way out is to stop obsessing on energy. far more important is national security.
but the benedict arnolds of india have forever been willing to sell the nation out to aliens for absolute peanuts. observe the mitrokhin archive, the iraqgate scandal.
the indian public, media and officials have such a poor self-image that the yank has figured out that flattery will get him everywhere. they also know that on the contrary the inscrutable chinese and the fanatic pakistani will always say "show me the money". and so he does.
what a shame. what a sell-out. the yank is nobody's pal but his own, and he shows by his actions that he is well-versed in realpolitik. the indians negotiating with him are but babes in the woods being led out to slaughter, to mix metaphors wildly.
as for energy, i have come to the conclusion that it is a huge red herring. the Congress+Marxists, courting that saudi king, the iran-pakistan pipeline etc. are surely motivated by the usual reasons (corruption and ideology) to support pakistani and chinese interests. let us take the worst-case scenario: india has a big energy crunch. the very worst thing this will do is to reduce GDP growth to, let's say, 2-3%. why, this is the very Nehruvian Rate of Growth that the Congress has always wanted to foster because that allows them to safely pursue vote-bank politics and mohammedan/christist appeasemnt in the way, bless them, that only they know how to. they luxuriated in it for 50 years, thus the nehruvian penalty, so why is that suddenly anathema to them? they also managed to convince most indians that the Nehruvian Rate of Growth was their birthright. why, the Congress and the Marxists can just turn on the PR charm again and do a repeat.
let's say india really fails to get all the oil and gas it needs. this is when the serious energy crunch kicks in above.
but then india has mountains of coal. absolutely huge amounts of coal. the problem with coal is that it is dirty and produces much global warming and greenhouse gas. but who cares? if india needs energy, india will use its coal; after all who's going to stop it (that is if it has its nuclear weapons and missiles)? the only way india may grudgingly acquiesce to not using its coal is if it is guaranteed supplies of oil and gas. that would be a powerful bargaining position (if india has the nukes and the blue-water navy to support it). blackmail may not be pretty, but, by god, it works. why should india be more concerned about the global environment than all the other big countries, who have messed it up so badly so far? why is it india's job to be the good, environmentally sensitive guys? it's india's coal, after all, so india will burn it, and who's going to stop india? after all, the americans think iraq's oil is america's, and nobody is stopping them either, are they? why? they have lots of nukes, that's why, and big gunboats. and just like china is using tibet's rivers as weapons of mass destruction, india's coal can be used as a weapon too unless someone provides india with alternatives. like hydrocarbons or solar technology.
and speaking of blue-water navy, the united arab emirates and saudi arabia and so on must remember that india is the nearest large naval power. in an emergency, india's western fleet sailing into gulf ports would be a powerful incentive for these dictatorships to open up their oil and gas pipelines. and bangladesh can remember that if india were to open the farakka barrage, what is left of their country after global warming eats away at it will also be under water. simple question: myanmar pipeline or your country turns to water. which do you prefer? of course, all this assumes cojones and not cupidity on the part of the ruling class.
secondly, i do believe that we have reached peak oil. (natural gas may continue to be an option). that supports the idea that there is no point bending over and greasing up for these arabs in the vain hope that they will be kind to india. they won't because they have demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that all they want is for their religion to take over the world, which means they will support the only mohammedan nuclear power come what may. (see how much pakistan has been able to leverage its chinese screw-driver nukes). let's be realistic, the arabs are india's enemies. indeed, they are everybody's enemies (except possibly of the chinese who are in a marriage of convenience with them -- as reflected in the views of their respective fifth-columnists in india).
thirdly, nuclear energy offers far less than meets the eye. despite all the hoopla, yank nuclear technology is obsolete and dangerous because they have not built any for 30 years and have no current experience, so they are going to experiment on indians! and there is no way the NSG is going to sell uranium to india. china will ensure that. so the indo-us accord amounts to a humongous eyewash and india gets nothing for mortgaging its nuclear future and all possibility of security. (this should be familiar territory with a frisson of deja vu for the Congress. nehru got nothing from china in return for mortgaging away its very large interests in tibet and making india extremely vulnerable to nuclear blackmail, water blackmail etc, and selling tibetans down the river in the bargain).
fourthly, the whole energy issue is really distorted. india could immediately reduce 20% of its demand for oil if only the roads were not so totally jammed. look at the gargantuan amounts of energy wasted through congestion. furthermore, the use of energy in india is modeled on the profligate yankee fashion, and frankly, the world cannot afford another american-style energy consumer. look at how money is being poured into increasing the number of cars and 2-wheelers being sold in india. look at how the far more environmentally sustainable hand-cart and bullock-cart have been eliminated in favor of those disgusting auto-rickshaw-trucks and mini-trucks, all adding to the unending guzzling of oil. far better to invest in infrastructure and to give incentives to things like rail and water transport. there is no reason why, eg. in kerala, the waterways cannot transport much of the bulk cargo.
fiftthly, nuclear energy is extremely dangerous and its byproducts infinitely long lived and massively dangerous. the answer is to create incentives for sustainable energy, in particular solar energy, which, if harnessed, will end india's energy shortages for ever. why does nobody have any faith in the dictum 'desperation encourages inspiration'? if there is no other way of creating energy -- and if there are some large sums of money to be made -- there will be innovation in solar energy. this is the only sustainable answer. you have to trust in the ingenuity and greed of the motivated individual inventor.
sixthly, the hydrocarbon exporters are not looking to depend on a single customer, that is, china, which will screw their asses to the wall with buyer power. the arabs and others will *need* india as a customer (assuming india's economy continues to grow). therefore, if it comes to that, even if india is a latecomer to the game, suppliers will be willing to negotiate with india. it's not as though the pieces of paper, the contracts for hydrocarbons, that china has negotiated with them are sacrosanct. china would be the first to admit that contracts are not worth the paper they are written on, as they demonstrate daily. the only thing that china can do is to intimidate and terrorize its recalcitrant suppliers with, guess what, nuclear missiles and a blue-water navy. so why can't india do the same with reluctant suppliers, if india has the nuclear missiles and a blue-water navy?
seventhly, please dont give me that ill-informed bullshit about india being a pacifist nation with no maritime history. india is not. in fact the greatest naval action and flotilla in world history until the invention of steam-powered navigation in the 19th century ce was the gigantic fleet assembled by raja raja chola, which sailed a few thousand miles clear across the indian ocean and subdued the maritime srivijaya empire in sumatra circa 1000 ce. indians are no strangers to warfare and throwing their weight around. the spanish armada was piffling compared to raja raja chola's fleet.
thus, india is compounding error after error. in the mistaken belief that hydrocarbons are critical to its growth, scared that hydrocarbons have been sewn up by others (notably china), india is giving away the store in the pursuit of uranium. which india won't get, and which india shouldn't even want. its own supplies of thorium in fast breeder reactors will ensure a plentiful supply of weapons-grade plutonium for the foreseeable future. india has always suffered from neglecting its defense in the face of barbarian invasions. now the barbarians wear blue business suits and wave strange devices like WTO, WIPO, NPT, MTCR, etc. instead of swords and guns, but there is no difference in their objectives. defense must be the single biggest priority, as india is a goldmine of wealth, and this has to be protected at all costs. nothing that compromises national security should even be considered.
but i realize i am a voice in the wilderness, as the powers-that-be sell india's security for a few silver coins. but dissent i must, even if weakly.
incidentally, during the negotiations with the clever yanks, it is likely that india has opened its kimono to such an extent that the yanks now know everything worth knowing about india's nuclear setup. now they can say, "very sorry, the US congress wont let us take this deal forward". there is an analogy which has happened many times over -- some small, naive software company negotiating on the licensing of its technology to microsoft. microsoft sucks them dry of information under non-disclosure, then tells them, sorry, not interested, and then goes ahead and implements the small company's technology in microsoft's own labs. if the small company then sues, microsoft outlasts them with its army of lawyers and attempts to invalidate their patents. also, they hope to exhaust the poor small company's meager resources by protracted litigation, finally driving them out of business. almost exact analogy here, n'est-ce pas?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brahma Chellaney < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mar 5, 2006 12:14 PM
Subject: U.S.-India & U.S.-Pak parallel tracks
The Hindustan Times, March 6, 2006
The US has gone from hyphenation to parallelism in its relations with India and Pakistan
By BRAHMA CHELLANEY
It took George W. Bush more than five years as US president to visit India. He came when he is struggling to repair his troubled presidency and avoid being labelled a lame duck. Like Bill Clinton, who discovered India only towards the end of his presidency, an embattled Bush may not be able to give sufficient priority to India to help mould a dramatic new turn in bilateral relations.
While it is clear India wants to be America's friend and strategic partner, it is less obvious whether the US wants to be India's friend or merely capitalize on this country's growing geopolitical importance and abundant market opportunities. The Bush tour has helped at least illuminate the framework in which the US intends to engage India.
Despite making the spread of freedom the rallying cry of his second term, Bush found it difficult to tour the world's largest democracy without also visiting his pet dictator in Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, dubbed 'Busharraf' at home. By propping up a duplicitous dictatorship and arming it with lethal weapons, Bush only slights India's democracy. After investing billions of dollars to help keep "my buddy" Musharraf in power, Bush finds his policy has only spurred greater discontent and militancy in terror-exporting Pakistan.
Yet Bush added insult to injury by declaring his tour was aimed at building strategic partnerships with both India and Pakistan for "fighting terrorism, advancing democracy…." And with the Indian PM by his side, he sought Indo-Pak "progress on all issues, including Kashmir." In rebuffing India on the UN Security Council issue and being insensitive to its concerns on Pakistan-directed terrorism, Bush scorns French statesman Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand's advice on how to conduct diplomacy: "Speech was given to man to disguise his thoughts."
Bush is correct his foreign policy no longer hyphenates India and Pakistan. There is no need ― one is America's strategic partner and the other its strategic ally. Indeed, so useful is the Pakistan military in keeping that country as a pawn in the larger US geopolitical game that Bush seeks regime change in Iran and Burma but regime fortification in Islamabad.
The truth is that the Bush policy has gone beyond hyphenation to parallelism. The new approach involves following separate parallel tracks with India and Pakistan. In effect, this permits the US to push its interests better. It also allows the US to quietly bolster Pakistan without causing a crisis with India. Consider the following stark parallels in US actions:
■ No sooner had the US initiated the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) with India in early 2004 than it caught New Delhi unawares by designating Pakistan a Major Non-Nato Ally (MNNA) under the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act. What India guilelessly saw as America's courtship turned out to be parallel relationships. Fidelity is a concept alien to US geostrategy. The more Bush claims he is not pairing India and Pakistan, the more it is evident that he is gaily two-timing.
■ Bush's rearming of Pakistan also coincided with a push to sell weapons to the world's largest buyer of arms, India. The decision to sell F-16s, P-3C Orions, C-130s, TOW missiles, Aerostat surveillance radars, 155mm self-propelled howitzers and Phalanx systems to Pakistan was justified to maintain "military balance on the subcontinent." And to help reinforce that 'balance', the US now wants India to buy similar or countervailing weapons, including P-3C Orions, C-130s, PAC-3s, electronic warfare systems, and F-16s or F/A-18s. The US is set to reap huge profits, gain more leverage and build military parity.
■ The US has played to India's ego and to Pakistan's longing for security. The very day Bush announced his decision to sell F-16s to Pakistan ― a public slap on India ― the US patronizingly offered to "help India become a major world power in the 21st century." Bush's flattery at Purana Qila were intended to massage India's ego, which he realises is bigger than Pakistan's in proportion to the land-size difference. The US has kept India happy with a grand partnership vision, and indulged Pakistan by delivering greater goods. In fact, in passing the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, the US Congress has mandated that U.S. aid to Pakistan be sustained at a minimum of fiscal-2005 level.
■ To help smooth its two-timing and arms sales, the US actively promotes the Indo-Pak 'peace' process. Bush says his two-timing is for his partners' good. His ingenious logic is that each partner is "better off because America has a close relationship" with the other. Keeping Kashmir as a live issue and promoting the Hurriyat helps the US to leverage its Pakistan ties with India.
■ Bush, in fact, has sought and gotten help from India to make Musharraf internationally respectable. This assistance India has rendered continuously since it invited him out of the blue to Agra and helped end his quasi-pariah status. Bush unabashedly used Indian soil to seek democracy in neighbouring Burma and Nepal, disparage Iran, which "denies basic liberties, sponsors terrorism," and applaud Pakistan as " another important partner and friend of the US".
■ The US is building parallel intelligence-sharing and defence-cooperation arrangements with India and Pakistan. Musharraf even allows the US military to use Pakistani bases and FBI agents to hunt for and detain suspects. For its part, India has stepped up military-to-military interactions with the US and agreed under last June's defence-framework accord to team up with US-led multilateral operations. As part of the new "glide-path" on defence cooperation, India is now getting ready to offer logistical support to US forces. In the name of counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterproliferation, the US is concurrently building greater interoperability with the Indian and Pakistani armed forces.
■ Just as Bush forgave Islamabad for its illicit export of nuclear know-how to three other renegade states ― Iran, Libya and North Korea ― in return for forcing Musharraf's hand to secure a handle on the Pakistani nuclear programme, he has offered India, as a gesture of balance, a nuclear deal which when implemented will cap the size of the Indian nuclear deterrent. In the words of Nick Burns, it will give the US for the first time "a transparent insight into India's nuclear programme."
Contrary to the PM's solemn assurance to Parliament last July 29 to acquire "the same rights and benefits" as the other nuclear powers and "never accept discrimination", he has agreed to an international-inspections regime that will set India apart as the only nuclear-weapons state to accept legally binding eternal and intrusive safeguards. These inspections will irrevocably chase by-products like spent fuel wherever they go. India's acquiescence to second-class status is also apparent from the various capability restraints it has agreed to as part of "the ground rules."
To top it all off, the deal thrusts a bad, uneconomical energy choice on India. Yet the economist Manmohan Singh fights shy of discussing the economics of generating electricity from high-priced imported reactors dependent on imported fuel. The deal will help revive the decrepit US nuclear power industry, but it may thwart India's own energy independence. All future Indian power reactors, including civilian fast breeders, are to come under outside inspections.
US strategy still seeks to employ Pakistan to balance India, even as it wishes to frame a future option to leverage India against China. In fact, US and Chinese regional interests converge on Pakistan vis-à-vis India. On issues of congruent interest, the US is willing to work with China on Pakistan, or discuss China with India. Similar balance-of-power politics is played out in other theatres.
Looking at the mirror-image debate on US policy in India and Pakistan, Bush can draw satisfaction over his success in maintaining a more-or-less balanced approach towards his two partners while assertively promoting US interests. The least an over-romantic India can do in its ties with the US is to heed the Reagan dictum, "trust but verify."