US Decides to Cut Down The Number of Javelin Missiles For Sale To India

The Indo-US strate­gic defence part­ner­ship is expect­ed to be jeop­ar­dized with a lat­est report that the US is decid­ing to cut down the num­ber of Javelin anti-tank mis­siles which India seeks to acquire. Sur­pris­ing­ly, the US has decid­ed to give India only half the amount of Javelin mis­siles India had request­ed for, there­by cre­at­ing doubts over the strate­gic Defence rela­tion­ship of the two coun­tries.

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India has been deal­ing with the US on var­i­ous gov­ern­ment-to-gov­ern­ment Defence deals and even suc­cumb­ing to pres­sures by the US on the modal­i­ties of cer­tain deals. The cur­rent move of scal­ing down the num­ber of Javelin mis­siles to be sold is an affront to India. Wash­ing­ton has no right to dic­tate the num­ber of mis­siles India should or should not acquire. Wash­ing­ton needs to realise that the Unit­ed States is not the only coun­try who is will­ing to sell hi-tech mil­i­tary equip­ment to India. With India’s mas­sive spend­ing pow­er, the whip is more or less with India and not with the coun­try sell­ing arms and ammu­ni­tions.

The root cause of this scal­ing down of the num­ber of Javelin mis­siles for India stems from the US Depart­ment of Polit­i­cal-Mil­i­tary Affairs. This US depart­ment is respon­si­ble for cal­i­brat­ing var­i­ous Defence deals and block­ing or siz­ing down arms sale to avoid de-sta­bil­i­ty of mil­i­tary bal­ance in the region. It seems that the US is try­ing to main­tain a mil­i­tary bal­ance between India and Pak­istan. But in clear bud­getary num­bers, India is way ahead of Pak­istan in terms of con­ven­tion­al mil­i­tary supe­ri­or­i­ty.

This rev­e­la­tion is also expect­ed to show it’s effect on the US Sec­re­tary of Defence Leon Panet­ta who is cur­rent­ly in India on his debut vis­it. While Panet­ta will be inter­act­ing with the top brass of the Indi­an lead­er­ship and dis­cussing var­i­ous Defence issues, this lat­est US deci­sion to halve India’s require­ment of Javelin mis­siles may become a seri­ous top­ic to con­tend with.

Amidst this sud­den change of heart by the US, it is worth not­ing that only last month, US offi­cials had giv­en a nod to the trans­fer of tech­nol­o­gy for man­u­fac­tur­ing the Javelin mis­sile in India. How­ev­er, the cur­rent deci­sion to slash down the num­ber of mis­siles has raised doubts about the whole deal. If the US needs India as a part­ner, it needs to also treat India as a part­ner. There is no com­par­i­son between India and Pak­istan and it is time for the US to select it true ally. There is no coun­try in the world who is in a posit­ing to dic­tate terms to an emerg­ing, con­fi­dent, pow­er­ful India.

The Javelin anti-tank guid­ed mis­sile (ATGM) is made by Lock­heed Mar­tin and Raytheon in the US and it is one of the two ATGM’s that the Indi­an Army plans to acquire. The Indi­an Army has already tried the Javelin mis­sile and they have been impressed by it’s accu­ra­cy dur­ing the Indo-US wargames. The user tri­als of the Javelin ATGM along with the Israeli con­tender (Spike ATGM) are sched­uled for lat­er this year in India.


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