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Re: nuclear India

[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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I must disagree with my friend Abhijit in downplaying a "Kosovo scenario" 
being replayed in Kashmir. Here's how it might happen:

1. Pak-backed infiltrators manage to wrest control of an entire
2. The GOI sends division strength forces to wrest control from the
   militants, but the operation turns into a stalemate, with the
   infiltrators continuing to occupy strategic high ground along the
3. Pressure mounts on GOI from Opposition to break the siege; GOI
   decides to call in air strikes to soften up  militant controlled
   areas. As the bombing begins to intensify, Pakistan starts       
providing air cover to the militants; IAF and Pak planes begin
   dogfights escalating to bombing of POK and the Valley.

4. The Western media suddenly develops an interest in the "plight"
   of the Kashmiris with CNN's Christiane Amanpour (currently the
   unofficial spokeswoman of NATO and the Kosovo Liberation Army)
   cheerleading for U.S./NATO "intervention".

5. The U.S. ostensibly concerned about a nuclear exchange between
   India and Pakistan but in reality wanting to "cut India down to       
size", offers to "mediate", and effectively offers India an
   ultimatum similar to the one dictated to the Serbs in          
Rambouillet. Either accept "peacekeeping" NATO troops in J&K and      
permanent cession of the Valley, or face bombardment.

6. India, (being an internationally recognized "soft state"),    succumbs to 
blackmail and accepts Western terms.

Sound far fetched ?  Well, consider today's breaking news: militants have 
taken over a 50 sq mile area in the crucial Kargil sector near the LOC while 
the GOI has sent four brigades (roughly one division) to Kargil and put two 
IAF squadrons on high alert (i.e. they may be called in for air strikes if 
necessary). And believe me
Abhijit, India's status as an "established democracy" is something
that the West just doesn't give a damn about. They couldn't care less
whether India's a democracy, autocracy, plutocracy or any other 'cracy' you 
can think of. When it comes to protecting their interests
and advancing their hegemonistic goals, human rights and democracy
will simply go overboard. Just ask the civilian patients in Belgrade's
largest hospital.

As for your fear of India sending "mixed signals" with a military buildup, I 
assure you it is misplaced. In fact, our continued military weakness over 
the last 50 years has sent the wrong signal to our adversaries. It has only 
invited aggression, terrorism and covert war.
A determined military buildup will send the "right" signal that India will 
not be trifled with and compel our enemies to deal with us on our terms.

Finally your "guns versus butter" analogy is not entirely convincing. Why 
should we sacrifice military power in exchange for economic development. If 
you want a historical analogy, look at Rome. In spite of its superior 
economy and culture, it ultimately could not keep the Barbarians from its 
gates. They sacked Rome and all its glory plunging Europe into the Dark 
Ages. As for your example of Japan, the only reason for its total devotion 
to economic development, was that it's security (including nuclear) was 
guaranteed by another nation, the United States. That protection continues 
to this day. India has no
such guarantee from anyone.

As for military R&D, it is vital not only for its defence applications, but 
for what it could achieve for the civilian sector as well. If you look at 
all the major technological innovations of the second half of the 20th 
century (transistors, computers, internet, cable), they all started as 
Pentagon R&D projects. They later spun off into civilian applications with 
the dynamic results for all to see.

Finally a somewhat rhetorical question : Does anyone think that what's going 
on in the Balkans today would still be happening if Yugoslavia had ICBMs 
deployed and ready for use ?


Abhijit wrote:

>In my comments, I noted that we should take into account our interests in
>regions other than south asia and plan accordingly. I agree that
>NATO(American) action in FRY is quite disturbing in that it might set a 
>precedent for similar intervention in other parts of the world in the 
>future. But we should be a bit more cautious when assessing the threat of 
>such (potential) action to India. Firstly, India is an established 
>democracy. Secondly, the west has substantial commercial interests in India 
>(which are likely to grow in the future). Thirdly, as it stands any 
>campaign of the sort being waged in the FRY is unlikely to be effective 
>against India. Fourthly, the Indian military is an order of magnitude more 
>capable than anything the US has gone up against since '91 (even excluding 
>nuclear weapons). Furthermore, the US shown (over the last ten years or so) 
>that it will use military force only when it's forces have a reasonable 
>chance of acheiving their objectives without getting too bloodied. 
>Therefore, I do not think the threat of military intervention by the US is 
>Kashmir or in other internal insurgencies in India is quite that 
>significant. Indranil wrote that "the development of ICBM capability is a
>must". In this regard I would like to reiterate a point I made previously:
the potential that a military buildup by india may send wrong signals to 
potential friends and "fence-sitters". I particularly regard the
development of ICBM capability as falling in this category without
yeilding significant gains in security for India.

>Finally, Indranil notes that "continuously upgrading our military capacity 
>and funding ...to our long term strategy of becoming a global power by the 
>mid-21st century". The relationship between being a global power (i.e. 
>having a significant say in international decision-making) and being a 
>military power is in my opinion unproven. Japan is an example of a global 
>power but not a military power. China is (has been) an example of a 
>military power but until recently not a global power. For India to become a 
>global power we must focus on economic develpoment which might mean a trade 
>off between pursuing a military more suited to local needs and a military 
>oriented towards operations in a much larger theater and against a wider 
>set of adversaries.

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