Trump administration to expand India-US military-strategic alliance
15 February 2017
The Trump administration has served notice that it intends to expand the Indo-US military strategic alliance. This is not surprising, but nonetheless highly significant: first, because it underscores the new administration’s intention to pursue confrontation with China; and second, because Washington’s drive to harness India to its military-strategic offensive against China has dangerously destabilized the region, fueling tensions between India and both China and Pakistan.
US Secretary of Defense, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, telephoned his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar last week. Mattis, according to the Pentagon readout of their Feb. 8 conversation, hailed the “tremendous progress” made in “recent years” in Indo-US “defense cooperation” and said the new administration is eager to “sustain the momentum” and “build upon it.”
The readout made specific mention of the bilateral Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) under which the US and India are codeveloping and coproducing advanced weapon systems.
Mattis placed his call to Parrikar shortly after returning from a trip to East Asia, during which he reaffirmed Washington’s longstanding strategic alliances with Japan and South Korea. He also reiterated the Obama administration’s commitment to go to war with China if Beijing were ever to threaten East China Sea islets (known in Japan as the Senkaku and in China as the Diaoyu) that are currently held by Japan, but claimed by China.
Mattis’s call came the day after officials in Washington had said that all the legal changes necessary to give effect to India’s recent designation as a “Major (US) Defense Partner” have now been completed. As a quid pro quo for New Delhi agreeing to allow the Pentagon to use Indian military bases to service its warplanes and battleships, the Obama administration last year conferred “Major Defense Partner” status on India. …
From the standpoint of the strategists of US imperialism, India is China’s western underbelly. Moreover, it juts far out into the Indian Ocean, providing a prime vantage point for controlling the sea-lanes that convey much of China’s oil and other natural resource imports, and almost all its exports to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Since the Obama administration launched its “Pivot to Asia” in 2011, and especially since the Indian elite propelled Narendra Modi and his Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power in May 2014, India has been integrated ever more completely into Washington’s military-strategic offensive against China. …
The Trump administration has gone so far as to threaten to block China’s access to the South China Sea islets it currently controls, an act that would be tantamount to a declaration of war. …
‘Pakistan’s principal military-strategic response to the burgeoning Indo-US ties had been to deepen its longstanding alliance with Beijing. This in turn has further exacerbated tensions between Beijing and New Delhi. …
Up until 2015, China adopted a cautious approach to the Indo-US military-strategic alliance, based on the calculation that a strong reaction might backfire and push New Delhi further into Washington’s embrace. But over the past two years, Beijing has taken an increasingly confrontational stance, as exemplified by its decision to make the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor a cornerstone of its One Belt, One Road initiative.
As the foreign policy establishment continues to grapple with the consequences of Trump’s election, U.S. officials can still agree on one thing. The United States is a nation that is waging a permanent war: here.
REX TILLERSON: THE ERA OF STRATEGIC PATIENCE WITH NORTH KOREA IS OVER The Secretary of State said a “comprehensive set of capabilities” is being developed to address North Korea, which includes military action. [Reuters]
In the wake of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to China, the US is focussing mounting pressure on China to force North Korea to bow to Washington’s demands to abandon its nuclear and missile programs. In the background, as Tillerson stated last week, all options, including military action against Pyongyang, are under consideration: here.