Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More on the Indian sub launch and U.S-Indian relations

NightWatch for July 27 writes that the U.S. missed "a strategic opportunity" by not helping India with its nuclear submarine development, leaving this to the Russians instead.

But it's not as if the U.S. has been ignoring its relationship with India. On the contrary. The Bush admin negotiated the nuclear power deal with India, and the Obama admin is following the same basic policy of strategic engagement. Sec of State Clinton's recent visit to India resulted in what is called an end-use monitoring agreement, which helps to pave the way for weapons and reactor sales. To quote the BBC story:

"India is seeking to buy fighter aircraft and nuclear reactors - deals that are expected to generate multi-billion dollar contracts, for which several US companies are bidding.

India also announced on Monday that it had approved sites where American companies will build two nuclear power plants."

In light of this, I find it hard to get very exercised about the Russian-Indian cooperation on submarine development. Sometimes it pays to ask naive, simplistic-sounding questions, like: What does difference does it make? Here the answer, it seems to me, is: Not very much. The only consideration that occurs to me is that if the Indian subs are based on Russian designs it may be harder for the U.S. Navy to do certain collaborative things with them. I'll leave it to others who know about such technical things to argue about this.

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