Foreign Policy in Focus
India: Militarizing Space with U.S. Help
By Matthew Hoey and Joan Johnson-Freese,
November 3, 2010
U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have a meeting scheduled in Delhi on November 8. Certain to be on the agenda is the removal of the last remaining export controls on U.S. dual-use technology and military hardware to India, including technology appropriate for development of space weapons. Since President Obama pledged in 2009 to seek a ban on space weapons, the United States should not be helping other countries develop these weapons, especially in dangerous regions that have nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert. But with the final hurdles of export control removed, Washington could be doing just that for India, with so far little or no objection.
The relationship between the United States and India has been extraordinarily close since 2001. The United States views India as a rising democracy and ally in the fight against radical Islamic fundamentalism. Ten days after 9/11, Washington began to lift sanctions in place against India since its 1998 nuclear tests. Subsequently in 2001 the number of Indian companies on the Commerce Department’s Entity List was reduced to just two from 159.
Additionally, the U.S. licensing policy with India for nuclear- and missile- related technology changed from “policy of denial” to case-by-case review. Since 2006, delegations from the U.S. defense industry, including large numbers of retired high-ranking military officers, have flocked to India to prospect the $32 billion that has been allocated for defense procurement in 2010-11, with $13 billion of that figure set aside for the acquisition of new weapons systems. These defense industry representatives and retired military officials have served as an informal lobbying firm that continues to actively encourage the U.S. government to drop remaining export restrictions on India organizations like the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). In July 2010, the investment firm Deloitte estimated that India will “spend nearly US$80 billion over the next five years on defense related capital expenditure.”
* See alsoThe Economic Times
5 Nov, 2010
US defence and nuclear deals could touch $15 bn