USA/Indien — Flournoy Notes India’s Growing Role as Security Partner

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2010 — India is an increas­ing­ly impor­tant part­ner to the Unit­ed States, and the rela­tion­ship between the nations is matur­ing, a top Defense Depart­ment pol­i­cy offi­cial said today.

Michele Flournoy, under­sec­re­tary of defense for pol­i­cy, told mem­bers of the Asia Soci­ety that the coop­er­a­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Unit­ed States and India grows out of shared val­ues and shared interests. 

Defense coop­er­a­tion between the nations served as a cat­a­lyst for the increas­ing­ly close rela­tion­ship, and Defense Depart­ment offi­cials are work­ing to expand mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary ties, she said. 

India has become an impor­tant eco­nom­ic, polit­i­cal and secu­ri­ty part­ner, and that part­ner­ship spans a range of inter­ests, Flournoy told the group. 

“Some crit­ics in Wash­ing­ton and New Del­hi have sug­gest­ed the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion is not as com­mit­ted to U.S.-India rela­tions as its pre­de­ces­sors were,” she said. “Oth­er crit­ics assert that this admin­is­tra­tion sees India sole­ly through the lens of Afghanistan and Pak­istan. Still oth­ers think that the absence of high-pro­file, head­line-grab­bing deals and accom­plish­ments over the last 18 months sug­gests that we don’t view this rela­tion­ship as important.” 

The crit­ics are wrong, she said. 

“The U.S.-India rela­tion­ship is not built on, and can­not be sus­tained on, grand ges­tures or brief moments of cri­sis,” the under­sec­re­tary said. “This bond is ground­ed in com­mon demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues and con­verg­ing inter­ests that make India and U.S. nat­ur­al part­ners. The U.S. and India have an over­ar­ch­ing shared inter­est in pro­mot­ing glob­al sta­bil­i­ty and security.” 

The two nations are mar­itime coun­tries that depend on free pas­sage of the seas, and India and the Unit­ed States work togeth­er to ensure mar­itime secu­ri­ty, Flournoy said. Both coun­tries also have an abid­ing inter­est in coun­ter­ing the pro­lif­er­a­tion of weapons of mass destruc­tion and oth­er dan­ger­ous high tech­nolo­gies, she added. 

Both nations also are com­mit­ted to pro­mot­ing glob­al sta­bil­i­ty and secu­ri­ty, Flournoy said. India is a good part­ner in peace­keep­ing efforts around the globe and with­in Asia, she not­ed, and both nations are com­mit­ted to the long-term sta­bil­i­ty and recon­struc­tion of Afghanistan. 

“We know as the U.S. mis­sion in Afghanistan evolves, we must con­tin­ue to pro­vide robust sup­port for Afghan sta­bil­i­ty, gov­er­nance and devel­op­ment,” Flournoy said. “India is play­ing a pos­i­tive role in Afghanistan’s eco­nom­ic and social devel­op­ment and we know that help will continue.” 

U.S.-Indian defense rela­tions have evolved from sole­ly mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary links into a more com­pre­hen­sive fab­ric, Flournoy said, in a rela­tion­ship that encom­pass­es dia­logues, exer­cis­es, defense sales and prac­ti­cal cooperation. 

At the apex of the U.S.-India defense rela­tion­ship is the Defense Pol­i­cy Group, which Flournoy will co-chair in the fall. The group allows both coun­tries to plan fur­ther engage­ments, air con­cerns and exchange views on strate­gic issues. 

“We also have dia­logues that dis­cuss our defense trade, ser­vice-to-ser­vice coop­er­a­tion [and] tech­ni­cal coop­er­a­tion, and a group ded­i­cat­ed to devel­op­ing and ensur­ing pro­ce­dures for keep­ing our tech­nolo­gies secure,” she said. “The growth and com­pre­hen­sive­ness of this rela­tion­ship is noth­ing short of remark­able. My Indi­an coun­ter­parts now tell me that their defense and secu­ri­ty rela­tions with the Unit­ed States are as close as they are with any nation.” 

Now the two coun­tries must sus­tain and expand upon the gains made to date, Flournoy said. 

“Cement­ing a ful­ly formed bilat­er­al rela­tion­ship requires more than for­mal vis­its and high-lev­el dia­logues – it’s about day-in-day-out coop­er­a­tion at all lev­els,” she told the group. “Such inter­ac­tions may not make as many head­lines, but rou­tine con­tacts are in many ways the most impor­tant bilat­er­al busi­ness we conduct.” 

Defense equip­ment sales are anoth­er growth area for the part­ner­ship. “I am and will con­tin­ue to be a strong advo­cate of U.S. solu­tions for India’s defense needs,” Flournoy said. “U.S. com­pa­nies are eager to work with India as the Indi­an mil­i­tary con­tin­ues to modernize.” 

Two Amer­i­can com­pa­nies are among the lead­ing com­peti­tors for a $10 bil­lion sale of 126 advanced fight­er air­craft to the Indi­an air force, Flournoy said. “We are also look­ing at future sales of the C‑17 air­craft as anoth­er exam­ple of near term defense sales,” she added. 

Flournoy stressed that the Defense Depart­ment does not view these sales as mere com­mer­cial trans­ac­tions. “We under­stand that India is mak­ing a strate­gic as well as an eco­nom­ic choice when it makes defense acqui­si­tions,” she explained. “Obvi­ous­ly, the com­mer­cial ben­e­fits of defense sales to the U.S. econ­o­my can’t be denied, but from a [Defense Depart­ment] per­spec­tive, these sales are even more impor­tant in build­ing a strate­gic part­ner­ship that will allow both our coun­tries to coop­er­ate more effec­tive­ly to pro­tect our mutu­al secu­ri­ty inter­ests in the future. 

“Whether the sce­nario involves human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance, coun­tert­er­ror­ism coop­er­a­tion or mar­itime secu­ri­ty activ­i­ties,” she con­tin­ued, “hav­ing com­mon equip­ment will allow more seam­less cooperation.” 

India is seek­ing to build its own indige­nous defense indus­try, and is look­ing for the best tech­nolo­gies to use in its defense sec­tor, Flournoy said. The Unit­ed States is com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing India with top-of-the-line tech­nol­o­gy, and has backed up its com­mit­ment by approv­ing the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of licens­es request­ed last year, she added. 

Flournoy point­ed out that Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates has made export con­trol reform a key pri­or­i­ty, cit­ing the stream­lin­ing and mod­ern­iz­ing of the U.S. export con­trol sys­tem as a nation­al secu­ri­ty pri­or­i­ty that affects the nation’s abil­i­ty to build and sus­tain key partnerships. 

India and the Unit­ed States will explore ways to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruc­tion through mar­itime coop­er­a­tion, dia­logue, and iden­ti­fy­ing new tech­nolo­gies to com­bat this threat, Flournoy said. 

“We will con­tin­ue to build on our expe­ri­ence work­ing togeth­er on dis­as­ter assis­tance and human­i­tar­i­an relief, and devel­op pro­ce­dures to facil­i­tate more seam­less coop­er­a­tion in future con­tin­gen­cies,” the under­sec­re­tary said. “We will look at ways in which, togeth­er, we can bet­ter secure the glob­al com­mons by expand­ing our already robust coop­er­a­tion in air, space, cyber­space and mar­itime initiatives.” 

The Unit­ed States also is inter­est­ed in India’s emer­gence as a region­al pow­er, Flournoy said. “The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion is com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing region­al part­ner­ships, to build an inter­na­tion­al sys­tem capa­ble of address­ing the chal­lenges that have no respect for bor­ders,” she said. “In Asia, this means it no longer makes sense to dis­cuss this increas­ing­ly inter­con­nect­ed region in terms of East Asian secu­ri­ty, or South Asian security.” 

India’s rela­tion­ship with Chi­na is vital­ly impor­tant to the health of the region and the globe, the under­sec­re­tary told the group. 

“A safer, more secure India that is clos­er to the Unit­ed States should not be seen a threat to Chi­na, and vice ver­sa,” she said. “Indeed, all three coun­tries play an impor­tant role in region­al sta­bil­i­ty. The Unit­ed States rec­og­nizes and wel­comes the grow­ing coop­er­a­tion between India and Chi­na on secu­ri­ty affairs in recent years. And both India and the Unit­ed States seek a clos­er rela­tion­ship with Chi­na, while encour­ag­ing Bei­jing to be more trans­par­ent about its mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties and intentions.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →