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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/20/10

India: U.S. Completes Global Military Structure

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The U.S. offered the world large-scale military hardware expositions in the three wars it launched in less than four years: Yugoslavia in 1999, Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.

The recent announcement that the U.S. will supply Saudi Arabia with a staggering $80 billion worth of arms in the next few years is paralleled by its plans to become India's main arms provider.

Weapons transactions are inextricably connected with overall military integration, and since 2002 - immediately following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the Pentagon and its NATO allies moving into new military bases in that country, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - Washington began regular (annual) air, sea and land maneuvers with India of ever-increasing scope and intensity.

Last October 12-29 the U.S. Army participated in the latest and largest of Yudh Abhyas ("training for war") war games held since 2004 with its Indian counterpart. Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2009 featured 1,000 troops, the U.S.'s Javelin anti-tank missile system and the first deployment of American Stryker armored combat vehicles outside the Afghan and Iraqi theaters of war. The Strykers were tested against Indian T-90 tanks, "currently the most modern tank[s] in service with the Russian Ground Forces and Naval Infantry." [14]

The U.S. ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer, said of the military maneuvers: "The broadened and unprecedented scope of Yudh Abhyas stands as a testament to the growing people-to-people and military-to-military ties of the United States and India, one of the key pillars of the expanded U.S.-India strategic partnership." [15]

The Pentagon showcased both the Strykers and the Javelin third generation anti-tank guided missiles during the biggest-ever joint U.S.-Indian ground combat exercises and not without the desired effect.

An American press agency disclosed on September 3 that "Russia has traditionally been India's largest arms supplier but following evidence of the capabilities of U.S. military equipment during joint exercises with the Indian army, navy and air force, the Indian army decided to purchase several hundred Javelin anti-tank guided missiles, demonstrated during the war games....The Javelins were deployed for Indian forces for the first time in the Yudh Abhyas 09 joint military exercise in Babina, the largest war game that the two armies have had." [16]

Last month the Times of India reported that "India will order a 'large' number of the quite-expensive Javelin ATGM systems from the US.

"The deal for the man-portable, fire-and-forget Javelin ATGM systems will once again be a direct government-to-government one under the American foreign military sales (FMS) programme, without any global multi-vendor competition.

"While the exact number of Javelin systems India will induct is yet to be
decided, it could well run into thousands. The Army, after all, has a shortfall of around 44,000 ATGMs of different types...." [17]

In July the Raytheon Company announced that India is evaluating the Patriot ground-based anti-ballistic missile system for purchase and deployment and that the U.S. had provided New Delhi with "classified" material on it recently. Sales of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles to India are reported to be on Barack Obama's agenda during his November visit.

By acquiring them, India would join fellow Asia-Pacific nations Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as well as NATO members Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Greece and U.S. Middle East military clients Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Joseph Garrett, Raytheon vice president and deputy for Patriot programs, disclosed that "A number of exchanges have taken place between the government of India and the US and information has been given to India at the classified level."

Patriots were "successfully used during both Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Patriot's manufacturer Raytheon has said." [18]

Seven consecutive years of Yudh Abhyas war games aren't the only joint U.S.-Indian military exercises held each year of late. In fact they are full spectrum in their range.

Starting shortly after the end of the Cold War, Washington initiated joint Malabar naval exercises with India. Suspended after the latter's nuclear tests in 1998, they resumed in 2002 and have grown in scale over the years.

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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