Critically tracing and analyzing the
relation between India and US, from Obama to Trump now, the analyst presents
convincing and strategically sound arguments that India should not bow down to
US at this extremely critical juncture marked by recent significance given to
India by Trump administration; but all the same, the unsettling trade war has
begun without any doubt.
The Indian Defense News lists out the
reasons why India must not let US to dominate over Indian administration
particularly in its international relations.
The US seeks, Indian Defense News says, to
draw India into their dependency by pulling it away from Russia. It had
therefore offered India the Patriot Missile systems in lieu of the Russian
S-400, which India refused and then subsequently the THAAD missile systems. The
CAATSA (Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) has been passed
by the US Senate, without considering Indian requests, thus opening India to US
sanctions in case it procures military hardware from Russia. Simultaneously,
the US has asked India to stop its oil purchases from Iran by November 4, as
they have placed sanctions on Iran.
To further pull India into their lap,
Nikki Haley, the US permanent representative to the UN, a close confidant of
Trump is visiting India. Her agenda appears to be to convey the message on oil
imports and purchase of the S-400 missile systems.
"I would encourage them (India) to
rethink their relationship with Iran," she said publicly.
The timing of her visit is evident.
India is also presently in a trade war with
the US, which could only worsen with time. Enhancing tariffs on both sides
could take the present relationship downhill in no time.
The unreliability of Trump as a leader is
well known. He has been changing his decisions and aides faster than anyone
else in history. He has in his short stint in office angered all his allies,
who have drifted away. Modi, who has had multiple meetings with Putin and Xi as
also earlier with Obama, understanding the wavering Trump, has avoided the US.
He has left the handling of Indo-US issues to his ministers. He has also not
offered to host Trump in India.
India may be a security partner of the US
but is neither bound by Washington's demands nor by its decisions. It is
clearly not dependent on the US for its own security needs as NATO is. India
may hold exercises with the US but has categorically stated that it would not
operate under US command nor would it engage in joint patrols with it.
All its purchases, while boosting its own
defence capabilities also enable the US to reduce its unemployment. It does not
seek weapons under aid but purchases them as per market costs.
The fact remains that US sanctions against
Russia and Iran are for their own good and are neither backed by the UN nor the
world community. Seeking to pull India into their personal battles is neither
justified nor legally valid. If India bends, it would break its ties with its
The US has been known to create relations
and subsequently discard them when the situation changes. Its traditional
allies have now begun charting their own paths, ignoring the US. Currently, it
needs India for multiple reasons. Indian investments in Afghanistan assist the
US in its seeking to develop the nation. India is the only nation in Asia with
the military and economic power to challenge Chinese hegemony in the region,
hence, the US desperately seeks Indian military cooperation. The present
strategy of the US appears to be to use India to hit back at Russia and Iran.
India cannot ignore its time-tested
international relationships based on its own national interest for US' personal
enmities. India-Russia relations go back decades. Russia has always stood by
India. Presently over 60 per cent of Indian military equipment is of Russian
origin. While presently the US and Russia are at different ends of the
spectrum, the US can change direction as it has done with North Korea. If India
falls under US influence and drops the plan to purchase S-400, it would never
be able to restore its ties with Russia.
Indian investment in Chabahar port is
immense and the port provides India with multiple strategic benefits. India had
signed an agreement with Iran after the visit President Hassan Rouhani to India
to increase its oil purchases from the country.
Stopping it, on US demands, would push
Iran away from India and would damage its agreement on the Chabahar port. China
already in multiple conflicts with the US and the largest purchaser of oil from
Iran would never accede to US requests. If India does so, it would almost gift
the Chabahar port to China.
India needs to pursue an independent
foreign policy, despite its growing proximity to the US.
As a first step it should not sign the
COMCASA, underlining its disagreement with US' unilateral policies.
Both India and the US need one another,
yet both are independent. If the US can toe its own foreign policy, so should
India. It should clearly avoid toeing the US line.
The "2+2 meeting" should have
been the forum where the message would have gone loud and clear. The US may
have understood the Indian mind and determination. If the US is unwilling to
listen, then India has limited choices but to pursue its own national
It would thus have to bypass US sanctions
or if it comes to the worst case scenario, manage with it.
Trump has about three and a half years
left as president. The US would continue to need India more than India needs
it, both during and after Trump. If the US does not accept Indian national
interests now, it would after the presidency changes. India cannot be ignored,
it would need to be wooed. If it backs down now, it would always be taken for
granted and would lose credibility in the international environment and also
its strategic leverages.