It is a nasty and vicious world, we need all the friends we can get. It is a fact that few countries in the world have a more adverse security outlook. Americans have always duped others to protect their own interests, even to day they hippocritically bark against terrorism, and help terrorist countries like Pakistan with “AID’ of millions of dollars, to purchase more weapons and arms.
Eventually this “AID’ lands in the lap of China via Pakistans Officials to buy arms for terrorists and terrorist front organisations of Pakistan.
If you were to prepare a pithy list of India’s top three friends in the world today, it is unlikely that you would name the United States, or the United Kingdom or France or even Germany – though all are having excellent relations with India right now. If you ask me I would stop at two; just two! Japan and Russia, in that order. For the third spot there may be a contest between Israel and the US, though both have their own well determined agendas which do not gel with India’s scheme of things – Palestine, Syria and Iran as far as Israel is concerned and a whole lot of issues, not just China and Pakistan, when it comes to the US.
The US may ostensibly win the race for the number three slot in my list of India’s three best foreign policy partners for the simple reason that it is the sole superpower of the world and this status of Washington is unlikely to be challenged for the next couple of decades at least. But then partnering with the US is like running an egg-in-spoon race. The race itself is full of edge-of-the-seat excitements and the outcome is always tentative.
Moreover, with the US there is always another risk. You never know when you are an esteemed partner and when you become a liability. The US-Pakistan relations are an important reality check not just for the Indians but for anyone who wishes to get into the so-called good books of the Americans. The Americans are known to be fast in finding new friends when it suits their national interest and faster in dumping them for the same reasons. Like other major Western powers (read France particularly), the Americans have no qualms in arming India and Pakistan with lethal weapons simultaneously. Business is the sole mantra.
The Israelis are more sedate and steadfast as a strategic partner of India but this small, and yet militarily powerful, nation is more like a hot potato for India given the Israeli hatred to countries like Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon which makes it difficult for any ruling party in India in India to handle. Japan and Russia are the only two countries with which India has no ideological or strategic differences. With either of the two India does not have any troublesome issues that contiguous neighbours usually have. India has no boundary dispute with either of them and does not have a chequered past of fighting a one-to-one war with any of the two for the simple reason that India does not share borders with either of these. And yet India is not far from Japan or Russia.
Over the past one decade, Japan has climbed up the Indian strategic ladder, thanks to the China factor. In fact, the political proximity between India and Japan can be solely attributed to China’s aggressive diplomatic and military posturing. China’s increasingly assertive diplomacy and its never-stated but always practiced strategy of weaving a string of pearls around India has been directly proportional to India’s tilt towards Japan.
But Japan has one more claim to be India’s number one friend in today’s world. It has been instrumental in silently revolutionizing India’s growth story which is visible to the naked eye of the man on the street in India. Japan has emerged as a solid game changer for India in infrastructure growth. No other power on earth has been so pro-actively engaged with the Indians in beefing up the Indian infrastructure like Japan has.
Look at the number of ambitious infrastructure projects that the Japanese have not just been financing but also imparting their technical skills to make these happen. Delhi Metro Rail project was the first to have started with the Japanese financial and technical assistance over a decade ago. Now the Delhi Metro example is being emulated by over thirty Indian cities!
According to a recent deal between the two countries, Japan will help build India’s first bullet train that will run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Japan will provide India with a $12 billion low-cost, long-term loan, along with assistance to build the train. The two sides have signed a MoU for introduction of Japan’s High Speed Railways (HSR) technologies — the Shinkansen system, on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route. The Chennai-Bengaluru corridor is another ambitious project in the impressive bouquet of Indo- Japanese global strategic partnership. Japan has shown to the world how to win the Indian hearts – by stressing on sector-by-sector approach in the Indian infrastructural growth story. So much so that other powers like the UK, France and Germany too have dropped similar hints of focusing on sector-by-sector growth of India.
As far as Russia is concerned, the former superpower has had tried and tested strategic partnership with India for decades when the phrase ‘strategic partnership’ was not even coined. Russia is India’s largest arms exporter. Russia has consciously kept the Indian strategic interests in mind and has taken care not to sell arms to Pakistan. This is despite Pakistan trying its best to cozy up to Russia in the recent past.
Since the early 1960s, Soviet Union/Russia has been India’s largest defence weapons supplier. At the height of the Cold war, 85% of Indian Navy, 75% of Indian Air Force and over 50% of Indian Army equipment were of Russian origin. In late December, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his first state visit to Russia to take part in the 16th annual bilateral summit. India and Russia sign 16 agreements. Deal on hydrocarbon and pollution. Russia to build powerplant at Kandakulam. MoUs signed in Railways, solar plants and broadcasting. Back to Russia with love: Moscow remains India’s reliable partner.
It is not a coincidence that the only two countries with which India has been having an institutionalized mechanism of annual summits are Russia and Japan – with Russia since 2000 and with Japan since 2006.
Ironically, the two countries that India is great friends with are deeply suspicious, and even inimical, with each other – Russia and Japan. This provides a wonderful diplomatic opportunity for India as New Delhi can act as a catalyst for improving Russia-Japan ties. Such a move from India is not yet in the public domain but it is a matter of when, not if, that India acts as a bridge between Russia and Japan, even as Moscow and Tokyo are already showing signs of rapprochement.
INDO PAK WAR 1971: How Russia (Soviet Union) helped india ?
U.S & CHINA secret pact:
US sympathized with Pakistan, because of various reasons. Among them two reasons were that: firstly, Pakistan belonged to American led military Pact, CENTO and SEATO; secondly, US believed any victory of India will be considered as the expansion of Soviet influence ,as it India was believed to be a pro Soviet nation, even though they were non aligned. US needed help from China.This brought China in the picture. US approached China very secretly on this issue, who was more than welcoming as it believed that their relations with US could improve from this onward.
Role of Soviet Union:
“The Soviet Intelligence has reported that the English operative connection has come nearer to territorial India, water led by an aircraft carrier “Eagle” [On December 10]. For helping friendly India, Soviet government has directed a group of ships under the command of contr-admiral V. Kruglyakov.” Vladimir Kruglyakov, the former (1970-1975)
Commander of the 10th Operative Battle Group (Pacific Fleet) remembers:
“I was ordered by the Chief Commander to track the British Navy’s advancement, I positioned our battleships in the Bay of Bengal and watched for the British carrier “Eagle”. But Soviet Union didn’t have enough force to resist if they encountered the British Carrier. Therefore, to support the existing Soviet fleet in the Bay of Bengal, Soviet cruisers, destroyers and nuclear submarines, equipped with anti ship missiles, were sent from Vladivostok. In reaction English Navy retreated and went South to Madagascar.
Countering US Navy:
News of American carrier Enterprise and USS Tripoli’s advancement towards Indian water was recieved. V. Kruglyakov “ I had obtained the order from the commander-in-chief not to allow the advancement of the American fleet to the military bases of India” We encircled them and aimed the missiles at the ‘Enterprise’. We had blocked their way and didn’t allow them to head anywhere, neither to Karachi, nor to Chittagong or Dhaka”. The Soviet ships had small range rockets (only upto 300 KM). Therefore, to hold the opponent under the range, commanders ran risks of going as near to the enemy as possible. Americans returned and couldn’t do anything.
Success of U.S plan largely depended on China opening a new front against India. Despite Kissinger’s goading and desperate Pakistani calls for help, the Chinese did nothing. US diplomatic documents reveal that Indira Gandhi knew the Soviets had factored in the possibility of Chinese intervention. According to a cable referring to an Indian cabinet meeting held on December 10, “If the Chinese were to become directly involved in the conflict, Indira Gandhi said, the Chinese know that the Soviet Union would act in the Sinkiang region. Soviet air support may be made available to India at that time.”
The war ended with the surrender of Pakistani army as they missed American help due to quick Russians who blocked both America and China from preventing India to advance. Between 90,000 and 93,000 members of the Pakistan Armed Forces including paramilitary personnel were taken as Prisoners of War by the Indian Army. Russia’s power play prevented a joint British-American attack on India. Russia to this day is one of the major defense equipment supplier to India. Russia & India remains strategic partners.
Role of Israel:
Israel helped India in 1971 war, Israel secretly provided arms to India in 1971. R&AW’s ex chief R.N.Kao reveled that Israel helped India during 1971 war. Special Arms from Tel Aviv were supplied to Mukti Bahani and Israel indeed helped India in 1971 war. During 1971 ,Pakistan’s Foreign Minister visited North Korea which was threat to India.
Israel had a fear that Pakistani Army officers are training Libyans and Iranians in handling Korean and Chinese Weapons. India’s ambassador to France DN Chatterjee began the process to get Israeli arms with a note to the external affairs ministry on July 6, 1971, saying assistance from Israel for “propaganda, finance and even procurement of armament and oil” would be “invaluable”. Gandhi immediately accepted the proposal and through the country’s external intelligence agency R&AW began the process to get the arms through the tiny principality of Liechtenstein.
India didn’t have diplomatic ties with Israel at that time,Israel was in middle of an arms shortage but prime minister Golda Meir stepped in to divert arms meant for Iran to India. She sent a note addressed to Indira Gandhi in Hebrew through Shlomo Zabuldowicz, the director of the firm handling the secret transfers, with a request for diplomatic ties in return for arms.
Younger indian generations should read this to understand who are our real friends and Russia always stood by India and timely tested & proven friend.
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Credit: Rajeev Sharma