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.
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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