Skip to comments.Obama dismayed as India rejects arms deal
Posted on 05/12/2011 8:44:57 AM PDT by Cardhu
India's recent decision not to purchase American warplanes for its $10 billion-plus fighter aircraft programme - the largest single military tender in the country's history - has stirred debate in defence circles worldwide.
India's defence ministry deemed the two American contenders, Boeing's F/A-18 Superhornet and Lockheed's F-16 Superviper, not to fulfil the requirements that it sought in a medium-size multi-role combat aircraft. With the Russian MiG-30 and the Swedish Gripen also eliminated, two European planes, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the French Rafale, are the only aircraft still in contention for an expected order of 126 planes.
India had never previously purchased an American fighter plane, and the United States hoped that India would cement the emerging bilateral strategic partnership with a hefty check. Indeed, US officials, including president Barack Obama, had lobbied for the deal, which would have pumped money and jobs into the ailing American economy. The "deeply disappointed" US ambassador to India, Tim Roemer, promptly announced his resignation. But, in a typical comment, Indian-American strategist Ashley Tellis observed trenchantly that India had chosen "to invest in a plane, not a relationship".
The notion that a major arms purchase should be based on broader strategic considerations - the importance of the US in India's emerging Weltpolitik - rather than on the merits of the aircraft itself, strikes Indian officials as unfair. Some deny that the decision reflects any political bias on the part of India's taciturn, left-leaning defence minister, AK Antony. The choice, they aver, is a purely professional one, made by the Indian Air Force, and only ratified by the ministry.
The two European fighters are generally seen as aerodynamically superior, having outperformed both US-made aircraft in tests under the adverse climatic conditions in which they might have to be used, particularly in the high altitudes and low temperatures of northern Kashmir. Experts suggest that the American planes are technologically ten years behind the European ones, and it doesn't help that Pakistan, India's likely adversary if the aircraft were ever pressed into combat, has long been a regular US client for warplanes.
Moreover, Indian decision-makers could not help but be aware that the US has not, over the years, proved to be a reliable supplier of military hardware to India or other countries. It has frequently cut off contracted supplies, imposed sanctions on friends and foes alike (including India), and reneged on delivering military goods and spare parts, in addition to being notoriously unwilling to transfer its best military technologies.
The current Indian fleet of mainly Russian and French planes has suffered from no such problems, and the existing ground-support and maintenance infrastructure would have needed major changes to handle US aircraft. (It is likely that the eventual winner of the bid will be required to enter into a joint-production arrangement with India, which US companies would not have done.)
As if all this were not enough to decide against America, the clincher might well have been the Indian government's desire to avoid any further procurement controversy at a time when allegations of corruption beset it from all sides. A decision made on technical grounds, many felt, would be easier to defend than one based on political considerations.
Against this are the unambiguous advantages of pleasing a major new ally and developing a pattern of bilateral military cooperation in supply, training, and operations that has yet to evolve. At a time when US nuclear-reactor purchases - made possible by the historic deal negotiated by the Bush administration - have been held up by US insistence on exemptions from supplier liability in the event of an accident, some regard India's spurning of US aircraft as a gratuitous rejection of an opportunity to demonstrate that friendship with India helps America, too...
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Perhaps your intelligent diplomacy just plain sucks, sir!!!
That is not far enough behind for (.)bama. When he is done, we will be offering to sell bi-planes and Zeppolins.
Obama strikes out again.
with the 'Obama adminstration' should heave been added.
The current Indian fleet of mainly Russian and French planes has suffered from no such problems
The Indians have another, far more serious problem with parts. The parts and spares that they get from Russia are often of an inferior quality and have lead to numerous wrecks, etc. It has gotten so bad that they have recently let out bids to allow non-Russian suppliers to provide replacement parts.
But Obama is still working to get the International Muslim Games for Chicago in 2012.
Now what kind of thanks is that for sending all of our tech jobs to them.
“The two European fighters are generally seen as aerodynamically superior
But, are they UNION made???
Given the nature of Indian national life, no doubt it’s a requirement that the planes fall apart two weeks after they arrive.
Hmmmnnnnn, I wonder if the Indians see the relationship?
Not even close to being true.
Today's jet is nothing like the jet a few years ago, let alone 10-yrs ago.
Corruption runs rampant in india. Dog bites man news, I know, but come on. . .india is no better than the third-world it is.
For crying out loud. Every country in the world has seen Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the untrustworthy and treasonist democrats.
The world has seen how these corrupt liars can not be trusted, on anything.
Until Obama and the dems are out of power and until America has again proven it’s trustworthiness, it is wise for any country to decline to do business with America.
Obama is not just a failure with America... Obama is a FAILURE with the entire world.
1st thing I thought of..
Such a diplomat.
That and the US might cut off supplies if they used in a way of which we don’t approve - such as bombing Pakistan.
Probably a good decision.
Especially if we sell them the same stuff we sell to Pakistan.
No, actually, it is true. We are trying to pass off some dusty old F16's and F18's.
Not state of the art, you know.
The F-18’s were a totally new manufactured airframe and included state-of-the-art technology (as approved for release by the Dept of State and congress).
The indians are corrupt and with US FCPA oversight practices and laws, the US bidders did not engage in any of that nonsense, because if they did and it was exposed, they would not only lose their 36b export authority to india and loss of contract, but further sanctions would follow and additional contracts (domestic) would be in jeopardy.
So, we have a situation where the US bidders had their hands tied and offered outstanding platforms, whereas the indians did the usual third-world corruption thing. No surprise. To “hide” their corruption they make baseless accusations, as the bidders are not authorized to release configuration details, so the general public has only the worlds of a corrupt government justifying their corrupt decision.