August 17, 2014

Kurds need more U.S. help to defeat Islamic State


 
 
by Masoud Barzani 
Washington Post
August 11, 2014
 
 
Today the people of Kurdistan and Iraq are threatened by a fanatical and barbaric terrorist organization that wishes to dominate Middle East. We are resolved to defeat this threat with the help of the United States and our friends around the world.
 
There can be no overstating how perilous the situation is. The terrorist blitzkrieg of the Islamic State has swept from Syria into Iraq, with its goal of conquering and controlling a large swath of the world. While some of its more distant aspirations may be beyond its grasp, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East and Central Asia are not.
 
The slaughter and destruction in Syria and parts of Iraq are the unvarnished template of what can be expected in any part of the world where they will rule.
 
We are the United States' staunch allies in the region, and we have the only force in the area with the means and will to protect thousands of lives from the horrors that these terrorists bring. But we cannot do it alone.
 
It is true that the antecedents of this crisis are political. The same was true of the rise of Nazism. But now that the terrorists have become an operating military force, this is no longer a political crisis; it is a security crisis, and the world must act to prevent genocide and the slaughter of innocents. Any position held by the terrorists should immediately be considered a target, not just those around Irbil and Mount Sinjar. This fight will have to be waged by the civilized world at some stage. The longer the delay, the more difficult the fight will become.
 
Our pesh merga military is positioned to be the vanguard of the civilized world along a broad front. We have stood with United States before, in 1991 and 2003 against the regime of Saddam Hussein, and we are doing so again. But in the wake of recent advances by Islamic State forces, Kurdistan shares a 600-mile border with the terrorists, and we desperately need more coordinated assistance. We hope that the U.S. airstrikes against terrorist positions on Friday were just the beginning. U.S. intelligence assets could help reduce the terrorists' ability to launch surprise attacks. Deliveries of heavy weapons are urgently needed for the pesh merga to achieve gains on the ground.
 
Terrorists have captured a great deal of U.S. heavy weaponry from the Iraqi Security Forces. With the addition of territory comes the ability to terrorize new populations, to indoctrinate and recruit military-age men, to raise revenue through taxation and control of oil resources and to extend their intelligence network. The stronger they become, the harder they will be to defeat.
 
We are thankful to our friends on Capitol Hill and in the White House for the support that they have given us over the years. Only because the situation is absolutely urgent do we humbly ask our friends to help us again.
This past week, the terrorists launched a new offensive directly targeting Kurdish-protected towns, including the Mosul dam area, the Sinjar district and the Rabia crossing into Syria.
 
For centuries, this area of Iraq has been home to multiple religions and sects. Not anymore. As a first order of business, terrorists ordered Christians to convert to Islam, pay an exorbitant tax or suffer deadly consequences. Those not conforming have been killed in the most horrific of manners. For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is virtually empty of Christians. Hundreds of thousands of residents, including Christian and Yazidi religious minorities, are at immediate risk of being slaughtered. There can be no doubt that this fits the description of genocide.
 
Meanwhile, as a result of the conflict in Syria and the terrorist advances in Iraq, the Kurdistan region has received more than a million refugees and internally displaced people.
 
The pesh merga face an enemy that has vastly superior U.S. weaponry. It is essential that we receive military support from the United States and other friends immediately. Every day that the terrorists are able to operate freely brings more loss of life, a mounting humanitarian crises, destruction and horror.
 
Every religion, state and community must voice its support for civilization and humanity. And those countries with capacity to help - first and foremost the United States - must understand that this is an urgent danger and act accordingly. We must stop the terrorists now. With air support and military equipment, we can.
 
 
 
The original article from the Washington Post can be found here.

PM’s address to the nation on 15th August



August 15, 2014 Author: admin
#Independence Day #Speeches

 
"An occasion to build national character"
 
Series of initiatives announced
Pradhanmantri Jan-Dhan Yojana to provide for a bank account, a debit card and an insurance amount of Rs. one lakh, for the poor
Digital Infrastructure a priority to empower Indians
Swachh Bharat initiative to be launched on October 2nd
Toilets in all schools within a year
Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana to be launched
New institution to replace Planning Commission
 

Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today called upon all citizens to contribute to the cause of building national character. Addressing the nation for the first time from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 68th Independence Day, he said, it is an occasion for introspection for all, as to how his or her acts would weigh on the scale of National Interest. Let all actions be in the National Interest, and be seen as a contribution towards nation building, the Prime Minister said.
 Greeting the people of India on Independence Day, Shri Narendra Modi stated that he was addressing them not as "Pradhan Mantri" but as "Pradhan Sewak" – the first servant.

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a series of initiatives aimed at empowering the common man, and unleashing the potential of India's youth.
In a major new scheme to universalize banking access and financial inclusion, the Prime Minister announced the Pradhanmantri Jan-Dhan Yojana which will provide for a bank account, a debit card and an insurance amount of Rs. one lakh, to poor families.

 A nationwide "Skill India" movement will be initiated to provide skills which ensure employability.
 
 The Prime Minister also announced a vision of "Come and Make in India" inviting manufacturers from across the world to invest in India, and help boost India's industrial growth. He called upon the youth of India to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit and work towards manufacturing in India, the various items that add to our import bill. Let "Made in India" become a synonym of excellence, he added.
 Emphasizing that digital infrastructure is a priority to empower the citizens, Shri Narendra Modi announced his Government's resolve to work towards Digital India, which would provide information and services to the people in a timely and effective manner.

 Stressing on the need for cleanliness, the Prime Minister announced his Government's resolve for "Swachh Bharat" – a vision which will be launched on October 2nd this year, to be accomplished by 2019, on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. In a related initiative, the Prime Minister said the first step towards "Swachh Bharat" begins with immediate effect, through a commitment to build toilets in all schools, including separate toilets for girls, within one year.
 The Prime Minister announced the launch of the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, under which each Member of Parliament would be invited to make one model village in his constituency, by 2016. He said a complete blueprint for this scheme would be announced on October 11th, the birth anniversary of Shri Jayaprakash  

 Shri Narendra Modi announced that a new institution would be created to replace the Planning Commission. This new institution would respect the federal structure of the country, he asserted.
 Thanking all Members of Parliament, including the Opposition Parties for a productive session of Parliament, the Prime Minister said his Government wished to move forward by consensus.
 Referring to reports of the positive change in work culture of the Union Government since he took over as Prime Minister, the Prime Minister said he was taken aback by such news reports – since it should be the norm for Government Servants to work with due diligence. The Prime Minister said the fact that this should make news, shows how low our collective standards of duty and responsibility have fallen. The Prime Minister called upon society to give up the selfish attitude of "Mera Kya, Mujhe Kya."

 The Prime Minister also said he was appalled by the discord and disunity among various Government departments that he saw after assuming office. He assured the people that he would resolve this issue, so that the Government of India worked not as an assembled entity, but as an organic entity. The Prime Minister said development and good governance were the only two tracks which could take the nation forward.
 
 The Prime Minister expressed dismay at the rising number of rape incidents in the country. Pointing out that daughters are asked a lot of questions in a family, he called upon parents to question their sons also, and keep a tab on their activities. Every rapist is someone's son, the Prime Minister said. In a similar vein, he called upon misguided youth who had taken to terrorism or Maoism, to give up violence and return to the national mainstream.
 
 The Prime Minister quoted Shri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda, reflecting on their vision to see India as a "Jagatguru" once again, and called upon all Indians to help convert this vision into reality.

August 10, 2014

Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) Saved Putin's Life but Downed MH17




The ECM Battle in the Sky Above Poland, Russia and the Ukraine That Saved Putin's Life but Downed MH17

When I learned that Vladimir Putin was going to travel to South America for the last game of the World Cup and for the Brics Conference, I was concerned that he might be attacked.  Now when the US President travels, he flies on one of two identical Boeing 747-200B USAF Presidential State Aircraft.  The one that he is riding in is officially designated as Air Force One; the other is carrying staff and reporters, etc., but is also acting as a decoy aircraft making the task of shooting down the correct Boeing 747 more difficult.  The planes have constant fighter coverage with AWACS and refueling tankers.  In areas over the ocean the US Navy has been known to re-task super carrier task forces to provide USN fighter coverage when necessary.  

Now Russia remains a nuclear superpower, but it no longer is the overall superpower that the old Soviet Union was with its Warsaw Pact allies.  There is no Warsaw Pack now, and many of these nations are members of NATO.  The USSR is broken up and long gone.  So Russia cannot provide the level of protection to its Presidential State Aircraft, an IL-96-300PU that the American President has.  Still, the Russians do take special efforts to keep their Head of State safe.  

Considering the level of pre-WWIII events currently happening in the Ukraine and the Middle East, and the growing irritation that Globalists and Zionist forces have had with Putin and his Russia, the security experts charged with protecting Putin were no doubt very concerned about his long overseas visit.  

Putin effectively stopped an Israeli/US attack on Iran almost two years ago and a US/UK/Israeli attack on Syria about a year ago.  The US/Zionist/Globalist supported/funded coup against the elected Ukraine government and the resulting conflict was a calculated effort to draw Russia into a war over the Ukraine and thereby tie it down in order to allow Netanyahu free hand to create his long-sought General Middle East War.  Putin has proven to be a brilliant strategist and not easy to trap.  Hence, I believe that the decision was made to "take him out" of the picture by destroying his state aircraft as it flew over Russia but near the Ukraine on his return from South America.  

That the Latin American trip included a key Brics Conference in Brazil which was a direct attack on the Rothschild-headed Global Banking Cartel's power over the global economy and financial system was a key factor in the decision that Putin had to be eliminated.  

Taking the Russian State Aircraft down presented a number of problems.  If it were downed over the open ocean, fingers would point at America as the superpower capable of global military action.  Host nations did provide considerable security to Putin and his aircraft while he was in their nations and airspace.  What better place to attack the IL-96 than over Russian airspace near the Ukraine, shortly after it had left Polish airspace.  At worst the coup junta in the Ukraine would be blamed and Moscow might invade the Ukraine in response, thereby tying down its military and freeing the Mideast for a truly horrific general war.

The Russians were well aware of the dangers and were actively looking for stealthed fighters and mobile ground-to-air advanced systems with airborne state-of-the-art sensors.  A few years ago, Russian engineers devised a way to 'stealth' existing non-stealthy aircraft using a plasma system.  This system has been reported on and no doubt copied by various western powers.  Now no stealth system is perfect, and in fact the whole field of stealth has had its share of PR hype.  The attempt is to create a 'black hole' in the sky that no radar or infrared/etc. signals are capable of being detected.  However, no such system is perfect and highly advanced electronic systems can usually detect a stealth aircraft (manned or unmanned) operating in a given area.

Based on assorted reports and a general knowledge of military systems including ECM (electronic counter measures) this is what I believe happened in the skis over Poland, Russia and the Ukraine that led to the deaths of 295 people on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17:  Russian Air Force electronic surveillance/ECM aircraft were able to detect a stealth fighter in/near the expected flight path of the Russian State Aircraft.  Since shooting down this aircraft was not a certainty, especially since the Ukrainian Junta had just moved a number of advanced 'Buk' ground-to-air missile systems into eastern Ukraine, the Russian ECM aircraft immediately began to spoof things.  The IL-96 was likely contacted by satellite secure radio transmissions and told to turn off or change its ID squawking and a nearby large aircraft, the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 Flight MH17 was spoofed to cover its normal ID code and replace it with the IL-96 code.

In the meantime the Israeli Air Force F-15 (likely a F-15I two-seat Strike Eagle with AIM-20 AMRAAM radar-guided missiles and using a plasma stealth system), which had taken off some time, from a base in Azerbaijan, before the IL-96 was in Poland, was positing itself in a 'kill box' anticipating the known altitude, speed, route, and time window of the Russian jet.  This is where the Russians make use of ECM to protect the Presidential State Aircraft of Russia.  They knew that the IL-96 and a similar sized Boeing 777 (Flight MH17) were traveling along the same route over Poland.  According to Russia's Interfax News Agency: 
"I can say that Putin's plane and the Malaysian Boeing  intersected at the same point and the same echelon. That was  close to Warsaw on 330-m echelon at the height of 10,100 meters.  The presidential jet was there at 16:21 Moscow time and the  Malaysian aircraft – 15:44 Moscow time," a source told the  news agency on condition of anonymity. "The contours of the aircrafts are similar, linear dimensions  are also very similar, as for the coloring, at a quite remote  distance they are almost identical", the source added.

The Malaysian airliner was now being electronically spoofed by Russian ECM to give the ID of the IL-96.  The Israeli flight crew knew that the plane was over Ukrainian airspace, but just barely, and it closed to make a visual contact.  What it saw was a white large airliner sized plane.  It launched a radar-guided AIM-20 AMRAAM missile from a few miles away to lesson the radar jamming expected to be on the IL-96 and destroyed the target and quickly exited the local area.

Early reports, and these are always most important as they are given and reported before a coverup can be initiated, quoted multiple witnesses on the ground that a fighter had fired a missile and this missile had hit the airliner bringing it down. The witnesses thought that the fighter was a Ukrainian fighter such as a Su-27 which has a twin-tail and from a distance looks similar to a F-15 with its twin-tail.

The Russians have no advantage to 'outing' the true story.  For one thing they helped, by using ECM, to cause MH17 to be shot down.  Secondly, without a downed Israeli F-15I, to prove the story, it would simply be a "he said, she said" story that the Israelis and Ukrainians would deny.  So we have this on-going back and forth claims that the Junta's Buk  surface-to-air missile downed the Malaysian  airliner, or that somehow the 'rebels' shot it down, or that the Russians fired a surface-to-air missile that took it down. 

However, experience intelligence analysts in Europe and elsewhere are not apt to buy a story line that somehow a large airliner was shot down over the Ukraine, when no plane had ever been shot down at this altitude (33,000 feet) before during the on-going conflict and moreover that this same airliner had crossed paths with Putin's State Aircraft, returning from the Brics Conference in South America, only minutes before being shot down.  

This is an absolute disaster for Netanyahu's Israel.  When you try to kill someone like Putin you damn well better get the job done or he is apt to institute a 'payback' that you will not want to pay.  Further, a large number of European nations, and others, are realizing that tiny Israel tried to kill the President of Russia.  That will not work in Israel's favor.  

The aftereffects from this event are only just beginning but they are apt to change the world.

Tim Earl of Stirling  


7/18/2014

Was Putin Targeted for Mid-Air Assassination?

By Robert Parry (about the author)

August 8, 2014 at 21:05:24

Cross-posted from Consortium News

A side-by-side comparison of the Russian presidential jetliner and the Malaysia Airlines plane. 
A side-by-side comparison of the Russian presidential jetliner and the Malaysia Airlines plane.
(image by Consortium News)
 
U.S. intelligence analysts are weighing the possibility that the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was a botched attempt by extremists in the Ukrainian government to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin whose aircraft was returning from South America the same day, according to a source briefed on the U.S. investigation.

If true, the direction of the investigation into the July 17 crash has veered dramatically from initial U.S. government allegations that eastern Ukrainian rebels, using a Russian-supplied anti-aircraft battery, were responsible for bringing down the plane, killing 298 people onboard.

The Obama administration used those claims to whip up an anti-Russian hysteria that prompted European countries to ratchet up economic sanctions against Moscow, starting what now looks like an incipient trade war.
But the U.S. analysts dismissed those original suspicions because they could find no evidence that such a missile battery had been supplied by the Russians or was in the possession of the rebels, prompting a shift in thinking toward a scenario in which Ukrainian hardliners working with elements of the air force may have tried to ambush Putin's plane but instead hit the Malaysian airliner, said the source speaking on condition of anonymity.

Putin flies in a plane with similar red, white and blue markings as the Malaysian airliner and was known to be on his way home after a six-day visit to South America. But his plane took a different route and landed safely in Moscow.

After the crash, as U.S. intelligence analysts pored over phone intercepts and other intelligence data, they began to suspect that the motive for the shoot-down was the desire among some Ukrainian extremists to eliminate Putin whom they had been privately vowing to kill -- words initially viewed as empty bluster but which were looked at differently in hindsight -- the source said.

If some Ukrainian authorities were hoping to ambush Putin's plane, they also would have had only a matter of minutes to detect the aircraft's presence and make a decision to fire, so it could be plausible that the attackers made a hasty decision to hit Putin's plane before they realized that they had made a tragic mistake.

Blaming Russia

After the crash, the Ukrainian government quickly assembled some pieces of information from "social media" to pin the blame on the eastern Ukrainian rebels and the Russian government for what would have been a reckless decision to supply such powerful weapons to a poorly trained force.

The rebels denied having a Buk anti-aircraft battery capable of reaching an aircraft flying at 33,000 feet and the Russians denied having supplied one, but those denials were brushed aside by the mainstream U.S. news media and were rejected as well by senior U.S. officials. Only three days after the crash, Secretary of State John Kerry made the rounds of five Sunday talk shows to embrace the Ukrainian government's assertions although the official investigation into the crash had just begun.

The following Tuesday senior U.S. intelligence officials briefed mainstream reporters from several news outlets offering qualified support to the claims by Kiev and Kerry, but some journalists noted the lack of any real evidence and the briefing's curious reliance on "social media" rather than aerial reconnaissance, phone intercepts or other official sources. The absence of this corroborating evidence suggested that the case against the rebels and Russia was weaker than the Obama administration was letting on.

Yet, because of the high-level endorsements of Russia's presumed guilt, the U.S. intelligence analysts are moving cautiously in developing their alternative scenario, said the source, who added that another line of inquiry still being pursued is that the Ukrainian military brought down the passenger plane simply to create a provocation that could be turned against the rebels and Russia.

But the assassination motive would seem to make more sense given the intense hatred expressed by Ukrainian leaders toward Putin and how Ukrainian extremists would view the murder of Putin as a giant feather in their cap.

Still, the idea of assassinating the Russian president by shooting down his plane -- even if the attack were carried out by hardliners without the approval of top officials -- could have provoked a major international crisis. Nuclear-armed Russia would have almost surely retaliated against Ukraine, possibly with a full-scale invasion which could have escalated into a dangerous military confrontation with the United States.

This possibility of a cascading crisis beyond the control of rational policymakers has always been a risk since the U.S.-backed overthrow of elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, a putsch spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias though also supported by more moderate political figures. The U.S. State Department quickly embraced the coup regime as "legitimate," but ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, which had been Yanukovych's political base, resisted the new order.

Crimea, another stronghold of ethnic Russians, voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, a move endorsed by Putin and backed by Russian troops who were stationed in Crimea, the site of the Russian naval base at Sebastopol. The annexation of Crimea was heartily denounced by President Barack Obama and U.S. allies in Europe, who began applying sanctions on Russia.

Meanwhile, the new Ukrainian government, which gave the neo-Nazis several ministries in appreciation for their key role in the coup, began calling the ethnic Russian resistance "terrorists." New National Guard units, formed from neo-Nazi militias, were dispatched to intimidate ethnic Russians in the southern city of Odessa, where scores were killed when a pro-Kiev mob set a trade union building ablaze.

A Worsening Crisis

As the crisis worsened, several eastern cities in the Donbass region also voted to secede and an armed resistance emerged against the Kiev regime, which responded by vowing to crush the rebellion with an "anti-terrorist operation" that has included artillery and aerial bombardments against towns and cities held by the rebels.

On Friday, a Ukrainian parliamentary group reported that more than 10,000 people have been killed in Kiev's offensive since April, a number far higher than earlier estimates.

Angered by the mounting violence, the Russians lodged murder accusations against two Ukrainian officials, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and Ihor Kolomoisky, a billionaire oligarch who was appointed by the coup regime to be governor of the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk Region.

Kolomoisky, known for his strong-arm business tactics including deploying paid thugs to intimidate rivals, is now using his fortune to finance paramilitary units, such as the Dnipro Battalion which is considered one of the most aggressive and brutal units in the "anti-terrorist operation" in eastern Ukraine.

Since the February coup, Kolomoisky also has engaged in a bitter war of words with Putin whom he publicly mocked as a "schizophrenic shorty." But Kolomoisky's fury toward Putin has intensified in the face of the Russian murder charge and other threats to the billionaire's PrivatBank holdings. In private conversations, Kolomoisky has made angry threats against Putin, the source said.

Other Ukrainian officials have vowed to kill Putin. Ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a onetime Kolomoisky ally, said in an intercepted phone: "It's about time we grab our guns and kill, go kill those damn Russians together with their leader."

Though U.S. intelligence was aware of such threatening anti-Putin rhetoric via American intercepts, the rants were not taken seriously, at least not until after the shoot-down of the Malaysian airliner, the source said. Now, they are reportedly being studied as a possible motive for the July 17 attack.

Another curious development was the sudden resignation on Thursday of Andriy Parubiy as chief of Ukraine's national security. A longtime neo-Nazi leader, Parubiy had organized and directed the paramilitary forces that spearheaded the putsch on Feb. 22 forcing Yanukovych and his government officials to flee for their lives.

Parubiy refused to explain his reason for quitting but some analysts believe it may have a connection to the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down, the source said. The U.S. intelligence analysts specifically said their evidence does not implicate Ukraine's current President Petro Poroshenko or Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, but they did not extend that clearance to the more extreme elements of the government, the source said.

Russian Evidence

Based on technical evidence that Moscow has supplied to U.S. and other investigators, it appears that the Ukrainian military had several Russian-made Buk anti-aircraft missiles along the path of the Malaysia Airlines flight as well as two jetfighters in the air in the vicinity of the doomed plane.

Eyewitnesses also reported seeing one or two Ukrainian jetfighters near the airliner right before it was blown out of the sky. Two theories are that the jetfighters were trying to identify the plane or were responsible for finishing it off if the missile failed to do the job.

An independent analysis by an expert on the Buk systems, who has reviewed the Russian evidence, says it shows that one of the Ukrainian anti-aircraft batteries was in position to take down the Malaysian airliner by inflicting damage consistent with the wreckage that has so far been recovered from the plane.

As the pieces of this puzzle fill in, the image that emerges is of a possible Ukrainian ambush of a jetliner heading into Russian airspace that had markings very similar to President Putin's official plane. As shocking as that picture may be, there is a grim logic to it, given the demonization of Putin who has been likened to Hitler and Stalin by pundits and politicians from Ukraine to the United States.

However, even if the U.S. intelligence analysts do assemble a strong case implicating an extremist faction within the Ukrainian government, there is still the political problem for the Obama administration of dealing with a conclusion so dramatically at odds with the original accusations aimed at the rebels and Russia.

Powerful people are notoriously unwilling to admit mistakes, especially when it could open them to charges that they rushed to judgment and behaved recklessly. There are similarities with the hasty U.S. conclusions a year ago when sarin gas killed hundreds outside Damascus on Aug. 21 -- and the finger of blame was pointed immediately at the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

On Aug. 30, Secretary Kerry declared repeatedly that "we know" that the Assad regime was guilty, but some U.S. intelligence analysts were privately expressing their doubts and refused to endorse a "Government Assessment" which presented no verifiable evidence to support the accusations. The four-page white paper also suppressed the dissents of the analysts.

Over the ensuing months as much of Kerry's case fell apart, some of these analysts came to believe that rebel extremists were likely responsible for the attack as a provocation to draw in the U.S. military into the civil war on their side. But the U.S. government has never retracted its allegations against the Syrian government. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com's "The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case."]

Given how far senior U.S. officials have gone in heaping blame for the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down on the rebels and the Russians, it is hard to envision a walk-back of those accusations regardless of the actual evidence. To compel that would require true courage from U.S. analysts or from international investigators looking into the crash.

It is never easy to contradict important people, especially when they have leveled such serious accusations so confidently. That is one reason why Kerry and the mainstream U.S. news media should have held back on their conclusions until a thorough investigation had been done.


 

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered atsecrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at more...)

India has to revive US ties

C Uday Bhaskar says India has to revive US ties
C Uday Bhaskar   |   Mail Today  |   New Delhi, August 9, 2014 | UPDATED 10:52 IST
 
 
India-US relations have come into focus against the backdrop of the two recent visits to Delhi of senior members of the Obama cabinet. US Secretary of State John Kerry and his colleague, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel made the first high level political contact with the new Indian government to finalise the agenda for the Obama-Modi meeting scheduled for September in Washington DC.

Transformation

This bi-lateral relationship underwent a major transformation in late 2008 when the long festering nuclear nettle was resolved through a complex modus vivendi that accorded India an exceptional status in the global nuclear framework - and the deeply embedded 'estrangement' was expected to lead to progressively more robust engagement.

At the time, the UPA government led by the Congress included the left parties as part of the coalition and the nature of that debate is instructive. The US had provided India a rare opportunity for a geo-political and strategic accommodation which was in Delhi's abiding interest but the domestic political wrangling exuded little perspicacity. A zero-sum game ensued and neither the Congress, hobbled by the Left, nor the BJP in the opposition could evolve an objective and informed bi-partisan consensus on matters of deep politico-strategic import.

But for the external interlocutor, even the possibility of a less prickly relationship between India and the US had the desired effect in enhancing Delhi's credibility. It may be recalled that India's strategic relevance rose-and within Asia, the nuances were felt from China and Japan through to West Asia. Yet at a time when the Indian boat seemed to be rising, the hand on the tiller wavered, the waters for sure roiled by the global financial turbulence of that period and rank political diffidence.

In the intervening years, the UPA II government and the Obama administration were differently distracted and much of the hope was belied. The low-point in the bi-lateral was the Devyani episode where an Indian diplomat was treated in an extremely inappropriate manner and many of the latent anti-US anxieties in India came to the surface.

However to the credit of the two sides, quiet diplomacy has restored the relationship to a more even keel and the election of PM Modi has kindled fresh hope that the much needed political traction will be infused into what is a very critical bi-lateral. This hope flickered through the Kerry and Hagel visits despite that fact that India chose to stay outside the global trade facilitation agreement in that very week, much to US disappointment.

Divergence

A brief review would indicate that on the major political, trade-economic and security-strategic issues, it is more of dissonance than consensus that animates the bi-lateral relationship. From Russia and Ukraine, to Israel-Gaza and the WTO amongst other recent developments, it is evident that Delhi and Washington have divergent assessments about how these issues affect their core national interests and security.

Yet paradoxically, there is a correspondence over the central security concerns that each nation has prioritised. Over the last decade, both the US and India have flagged terrorism, non-state groups, deviant states, radical ideologies, weapons of mass destruction and the rise of China and have sought to either manage or contain these challenges - with limited success. Both have a shared interest in an equitable global trading system.

While the transactional element is no doubt the tangible indicator of the robustness of the bi-lateral - often quantified in trade, technology and related fiscal indicators, as also in empathetic portico-diplomatic engagement - the deeper relevance of India and the US to each other is existential.

US Secretary of State John Kerry with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

A stable and mutually beneficial bi-lateral relationship is central to the management and realisation of the anxieties and aspirations respectively, of the two largest democracies notwithstanding their divisive, domestic socio-political constraints. This was at the core of the radical Bush imitative in July 2005 to recast the troubled bi-lateral in a more normative manner and PM Manmohan Singh at the time was able to stay the course despite the many handicaps and banana peels that threatened to derail the process.

Strategic

For India, a robust relationship with the US is more critical than it is for the latter. This is a reality that needs to be internalised in the Indian polity and the attempt to advance the relationship by stealth was a major shortcoming of the UPA government. The NDA under PM Modi has the template outlined by PM Vajpayee post May 1998 as a guide. The challenge is to build on this and the Kerry-Hagel visits augur well.

It would be misleading to infer that for India, realizing even a part of the much hyped potential for a more robust relationship with the US is a binary choice that will come at the expense of Moscow. India is currently in a favourable strategic orientation wherein all the major powers and clusters (such as the EMU and ASEAN) are supportive of a prosperous and credible India. The current dynamic of globalisation impels wide-spectrum engagement and subsumes complex contradictions. The China-Japan relationship is illustrative.

The too frequently invoked and hence diluted term 'strategic partnership' has become ubiquitous in the Indian context. But the reality is that Moscow has in the past and will in the near future have a distinctive relevance for Delhi. In like manner.

Improving ties with the US is not to be reduced to an anti-China posture. But there is little doubt that India's ability to engage with Beijing will be significantly enabled if it demonstrates the political confidence and clarity to pursue concurrent relationships notwithstanding their inherently contradictory texture. The ball is in the Modi court.

The writer is a strategic analyst