These are IDF’s analysis and New Year thoughts and prognosis of 2017 as China will ring in the New Year in January as the year of the Fire Red Rooster which seeks friendships and takes on opponents. India opposes CEPC and tests AGNI V with a Happy Birthday Greeting to PM Nawaz Sharif. President Trump comes in on 20th January with a promise to make ‘America Great Again’, which will mean brinkmanship for USA like India’s demonization by an capable authoritarian leader, like Caesar was, that is explained in IE’s edit of 26th Jan by an India watcher as authoritarian leaders named are on the rise as a global phenomenon as globalization fades.
President Obama is doing all he can for India before he demits office to box and help India as an ally, with China in mind without saying so. Obama also confuses the Syria war with support to the rebels taking on Russia, Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah just when Assad is getting stronger and taking Aleppo. Middle East stands shattered and India cannot avoid the fallout next door as Indians work in that region and jobs at home are scarce.
These are signs for India’s foreign policy makers to debate, unless the policy is to be USA’s ‘Cats Paw’ in the East, then military must know the policy. 2017 will be telling with Trump in the big white Oval office, as Obama fades. India direly needs a CDS and a White Paper on defence to reform the bureaucratic MOD establishment, and to avoid controversies like over the COAS selection, and institutionalize interaction between the political and the military leaderships. Jugad days seem over, and Gen VP Malik has echoed this in IE.
Obama had asked Ashton Carter Defence Secretary and John Kerry Secretary of State to take steps necessary to recognise India as America’s “major defence partner”, and had a statement released by Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator John McCain who stated the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 enhances security cooperation” between the US and India. This is sealed now as India has indicated to the U.S. that it may reconsider its stand on three contentious defence foundational agreements the Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA); Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) and a modified LEMOA got signed. Pentagon is bound to take this up. Trump comes as a businessman and will expect returns, unlike Bush and Obama somewhat. The nuclear deal could not progress. PM Modi signed nuclear plants with Russia and Fast Breeder Reactor is due in 2017.
President Barack Obama has just signed USA’s whopping $ 618 billion defence budget for 2017 against China’s $ 243 bill, Japan’s $ 43 bill Russia and India’s fluctuating $ 40 bill. It shows where India stands. But the moot point in US budget for India enhances security cooperation with India and lays conditions on Pakistan that it will get half of the full only ($ 400 bill) on a certification that it is taking demonstrable steps against the ‘Haqqani Network’, that China uses to keep terrorism out of Xinjiang, and Afghanistan is helpless as Haqqani aids Taliban and harbours many across the border President ghani laments.
Obama specifically has asked the US administration to designate an individual within the executive branch who has experience in defence acquisition and technology to reinforce and ensure, through inter-agency policy coordination, to ensure the success of the Framework for the US-India Defence Relationship. This for IDF means. push sales and that means dependency, also called interoperability. Obama also asked Pentagon to help resolve remaining issues impeding US-India defence trade, security cooperation, and co-production and co-development opportunities. But Pakistan is not missed.
The NDAA, creates a USD 1.2 billion Counter-ISIL Fund to combat Islamic State (IS), and imposes four conditions on Pakistan to be eligible for $ 400 million of the USD 900 million of the coalition support fund (CSF). Trump’s US Defence Secretary Gen Mattis will needs to certify to the Congress that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly to disrupting the safe havens and freedom of movement of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan and repeats that Islamabad has not taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network from using any of its territory as a safe haven.
Times and a poor economy are hotting up for Pakistan with arbitration not coming up on the Indus Water Treaty unless PM Modi has changed tack after snubbing Pakistan for the many terror attacks and tweeted a Happy Birthday to PM Nawaz Sharif. This signal needs analysis of the discussion in PMO, who are the drafters. It could not have been routine or just a ploy as track 2 is being missed to keep powders dry.
Syria is not missed to keep the war alive. The $ 1.2 billion Counter-ISIL Fund also provides flexible resources to support training and equipping the properly-vetted Syrian opposition (rebels ?), Iraqi Security Forces, the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, Sunni tribal elements (versus Shias), and other local security forces with a national security mission such as local security forces that are committed to protecting highly vulnerable ethnic and religious communities.
At the same time PM Modi with the CM of Maharashtra inaugurated an ambitious island for a memorial to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea off Chowpatty in Mumbai 192 meters high, higher than the statue of Liberty to show USA India’s aims. When ready ferry services will run from the Gateway of India, Marine Drive and Navi Mumbai and Navy must have been consulted on the navigability as only hovercraft can do the journey because of draft or a causeway may come up as was planned for Vikrant to be grouted and Shivaji statue on it would have pulled in Rs 3,600 cr.
With comments from a watcher, IDF agrees India is much is more about symbolism and political mind-games played by dedicated RSS leaders when it comes to paying lip-service to India’s maritime history and heritage. Had sense prevailed, then a statue of Admiral Kanhoji Angre been built, in preference. And with this kind of money allocated, an entire artificial deep water island off shore could have been created by connecting and reclaiming, just as China has done on Chang-xing Island off Shanghai. And on that island a deep-water port could have been built somewhere near Ratnagiri or off Uran. This would have been the real game-changer for a country with not a single deep-water port along her vast coastline and IDF was denied a transshipment hub in deep waters of Andamans, as even Indians are not allowed investments and needs FDI not included in new Cabotage Law changes. Singapore, Colombo and Fujraih earn through transshipment of India’s containers.
Also India’s coastline on the Coromandel coast or off Odisha has India’s legendary naval commanders, be they from ancient Kalinga, or ancient Chola dynasties, the Zamorins, or the Vijayanagara empire or the Marathas. Shivaji is a political choice not maritime in the sea, Navy appreciate as IDF wishes all a fun packed 2017 after demonet has run its flip flop course as markets and MFs keep falling which is not a good sign for growth. Shan no Varuna.
Indian Defence Forum