Just two months in office and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh just cannot wait to make India a client state of the United States. And even though it won just 206 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, he thinks he has the license mortgage India's sovereignty to the United States.
The latest in a series of sell-outs is the End-Use Monitoring Agreement under which US inspectors would be given the right to enter Indian military bases to inspect American military systems in service with the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.
India does not have such an agreement with any other country.
The EUMA agreement is a part of a pattern — the virtual shelving of the India-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline, indications of India supporting the US rather than the developing countries in the Doha Round, the climbdown on climate change at the G8+G5 summit in Italy, and the abdication of India's position on Pak-sponsored terrorism on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Egypt – of Manmohan Singh compromising India's economic and political sovereignty.
India's best defence correspondent Josy Joseph reports spin doctors from within the establishment are trying to project the agreement as a huge victory for them, saying there is no direct reference to “physical onsite inspection” but military sources who have studied the American agreement - better known as Golden Sentry programme - say that “physical verification” is integral to it.
The Golden Sentry programme is a cradle-to-grave inspection mechanism governed by the US department of defence (DOD) to monitor all military equipment sold to foreign countries. The aim of the mission, according to Pentagon, is to “minimise security risks” and to satisfy its “foreign policy objectives.”
The Golden Sentry inspections are done by “Tigers”, specialised teams of the Pentagon, at random on defence articles and services provided to foreign customers through government-to-government sales called FMS (foreign military sales). All sensitive military systems are sold by the US through FMS.
The agreement also means the US inspectors have to regularly “evaluate” and “plan” India's military capabilities. According to Pentagon officials, while normally the end use monitoring agreement “presupposes a trusted partner” if the circumstances prove different they could take actions ranging from demarche to sanctions.
“These (EUMA) are designed to ensure America has leverage over the recipient country. These are designed for client states not for India which is a strategic partner,’’ says strategic affairs analyst Brahma Chellaney, adding, “the US wants a big slice of India’s arms market. India does not have such clauses with any other supplier.”
“The whole idea is essentially meant for formal allies. It is strange for India to sign it because we have a whole bunch of hardware from other countries,’’ wonders Bharat Karnad, a security expert at the Centre for Policy Research. Indeed, it is no secret that the Indian military and also the defence establishment has for long been opposed to the EUMA
Not surprisingly, the Indo-US joint statement issued after Hillary Clinton's visit bluntly seeks to deepen the strategic alliance between the two countries. Despite the high sounding phrases about transforming the relationship to “enhance global prosperity and stability in the 21st century,” the contents and the agreements arrived at demonstrate that India is now virtually a client state of the US.
This growing military collaboration with India is the key US interest. Washington wants India to buy billions of dollars of military equipment. Recall that on the eve of Hillary Clinton's visit to India, US Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley had gloated that the EUMA “is part of the fulfilment of an important initiative that India and the US have signed in the area of nuclear co-operation.”
Those opposed to the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, including this writer, have repeatedly pointed out that the deal was a quid pro quo for India becoming a military ally of the US. But even on the nuclear deal, the US is again seeking to shift the goalposts. Washington is moving quickly to deny India access to enrichment and reprocessing technology. This is what the recent G-8 decision amounts to. Uncle Sam now wants to bring the Indo-US nuclear deal within the global non-proliferation architecture.
It is clear that the EUMA is just a trailer. The joint statement issued at the conclusion of Clinton's “hugely successful” visit (from the US viewpoint) underlines that US business interests will have priority in Indian policy making. This is going to be formalised with the bilateral investment treaty and the pursuit of the Indo-US Joint CEO Forum. Manmohan Singh will be pushing for more FDI in insurance, banking, higher education and other sectors in line with these lobbying forums.
Moreover, by reiterating the earlier Bush-Manmohan Singh commitment to promote “democracy” on a global scale, the Congress-led government has shown itself willing to go along with this ideological enterprise of the US. That is why India has adopted a hostile stand towards Iran and shelved the IPI gas pipeline deal besides voting against Tehran in the IAEA, diluted its stand on agriculture and investment related matters in the Doha round of talks on WTO, and given in to the US demand on climate change talks which requires India to cut carbon emissions without serious steps being taken by the developed countries to do so.
And now that India is well on its way to become a client state of the US, voices are already being heard that American English is the way to go.
Get the drift?