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Response to “Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admires India”

This is a response to a note/link posted by an acquaintance of mine regarding the Japanese PM’s visit to India. This took place a couple of weeks ago (23 August) and some of the post may seem a little out of context due to it being dated and due to its nature as a response. Here is the article that prompted this post: Shinzo Abe is an admirer of India.

My comments/response:

Abe’s visit to India follows hot on the heels of the Australian government OK’ing uranium shipments to India in support of the 123 Deal/India-US Nuclear Deal. The nuclear deal has yet to be ratified by the US congress, and the Indian government is now facing a political crisis because of it since all major opposition parties are against the deal, for various reasons. The main point of threat for Singh’s government comes from his coalition members, organized as the Left and mainly led by the CPI(M). Singh’s very position as the PM is threatened as is the stability of the residing government.

The Left/CPI(M) states that the nuclear deal is a core component of a strategic military alliance between India and the US and its military allies Australia and Japan. One of the largest naval military exercises in history is about to take place, in the beginning of September. The leading participants are India, the US, Australia, and Japan. At least a year ago though I forget the exact date, I read US military strategy wishing to involve India in naval alliance, giving it leadership of the seas south of China in order to cast a net around China and challenge it militarily. The nuclear deal is partly a carrot, to sell India on the idea of a strategic military alliance. Shortly after the US formally recognized India as a nuclear power, helping to reverse previous attempts at minor isolation due to India not following rules on nuclear weapons nonproliferation, India voted in the UN with the US against Iran’s nuclear program, something that came as a surprise to some.

Protests are scheduled in India between September 4-8 against the joint naval exercise, against the India-US Nuclear Deal, and against a focus on a military path to regional leadership. India is about to spend over US$10 billion on 120 top of the line fighter jets, has just purchased naval helicopters from Israel, is expanding its navy, and has set up naval listening posts from its eastern reaches to off the coast of Africa. India’s previous BJP government and current Congress led government are serious about naval and military power.

I don’t know Abe, I know nothing of his personal life, likes, dislikes, or admirations, but I’m skeptical about the sincerity of his admiration for India. This ‘arc of freedom’, is a bowl of steel around China, and in line with a long hoped for military alliance: the US already had Japan and Australia on board and it very much wants India to complete the semi-circle of containment. Its existing allies: Japan and Australia are fast undergoing military expansion and purchase of arms, it’s hoped that India will join this club.

I think Abe’s admiration of India self-serving, and a reflection of his pragmatic strategic aspirations. I think any country that has a chance of joining the strategic alliance and is placed in the same geo-politically significant location ib the map that India currently holds, no matter its culture or history, would be admired by a foreign prime minister who sees in it a strategic opportunity.

Abe’s statement, Australia’s decision to ship uranium, and the US support for India formally bypassing the NPT in order to have free access to global uranium supplies were coordinated.

India has in the past few years especially been at a cross-roads, and its current political crisis in nothing short of what will likely be a final decision on who it calls friend and who it calls foe.

Ashton B. Carter, assistant sec. of defense under the first Clinton administration, has highlighted this importance in a piece published by Foreign Affairs, stating that believes the US should encourage India to ditch the ‘antiquated’ notion of leadership under the Non-aligned Movement and join the in a strategic alliance that firmly places it on-side with American international policy.

So, this is an exciting time, and an important one, in India’s modern history. India’s foreign policy standards are being established for the new century.

(Related article with Indian military purchases and their relation to an India-US nuclear deal – the article talks about this from as early as April 2006: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/HD11Df02.html)

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