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جمعرات، 27 دسمبر، 2012

What is behind Russian arms deal

Russia's President Vladimir Putin visited India. As a result of this visit, an agreement was signed, according to which, India is going to purchase a $2.9 billion worth amount of Russian weapons.

The highlight of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India was his signing of $2.9 billion in arms deals on Monday, for the sale of 71 military helicopters and kits for 42 fighter jets to India. The order for the Mi-17 helicopters, which was originally 59 when the deal was made in 2010, has been increased to 71. The provision of arms shows that Russia is trying the same means to retain India on its side as the USA has used to win it over from the former USSR, by selling it more arms. Both countries are continuing their squabble over India’s friendship, irrespective of the use to which it is putting the arms it is acquiring. India has played the USA off against the USSR to acquire arms which go far beyond its legitimate defence needs. It abandoned the USSR, until the end of the Cold War, its greatest arms supplier, and President Putin’s visit is meant to retain as much of these ties as can be done. That is probably one reason that one of the items on Putin’s agenda will be the Russian-built Kundankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu state, which will be India’s largest when completed. This is also something the USA has worked on, giving its own nuclear power industry a helping hand by granting India a civilian nuclear accord.

India borders or is situated in proximity with many countries, but it would be wrong to say that it has good relations with all of them. Mainly, this considers China and Pakistan. Bangladesh is still viewed by many analysts as one of the world’s largest hotbeds of terrorism. India’s relations with Nepal are also not always good, because in contradictions between India and China, Nepal often takes China’s side.

India’s economy is still developing, and India’s foreign policy, to a large extent, would depend on the degree of the development of its economy.
One of the main spheres of India’s interests is the Pacific Ocean. After all, the largest part of India’s borders – about 7,000 kms – is its Pacific coast.

Until recent, India has paid more attention to land weapons than to the navy. The majority of weapons that it purchased from the Soviet Union or produced itself were land weapons. At present, India still produces and buys land weapons, but it has started to pay more attention to its navy.

India is responsible for the entire territory from the Suez Canal to Singapore, where the UK once was the only master”, because India doesn’t seem to have rejected this slogan so far. More evidence that India’s military program is not as “peaceful” as its authorities are trying to depict is the fact that India is actively developing nuclear energy.

Russia also has interests of its own in the Asia-Pacific region, and its main interest there is stability and peaceful development. For this, Russia is actively cooperating with India in many spheres, including the military one. Russia is insisting that India, under certain conditions, should be granted the status of a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Both Russia and the USA are not just pampering India with preferential treatment, but thus prompting it to throw its weight around the region. There is also a direct effect on Kashmir, as the USA and Russia, because of the commercial interests developed and their own actions, display sympathy to the Indian arguments against the freedom of the Kashmiri people, especially in the UN. This makes it imperative that the latest example of Indian aggressive designs is brought to UN notice. This is something Pakistan should be doing, but it seems unable to find the time, which it is spending in giving India Most Favoured Nation status, a step it has taken at the cost of the possible destruction of its commerce and industry, in complete disregard of its own interests.

It is unfortunate that the government has so far not taken action, even though there has been an increase of ties with Russia. However, there has been a signal failure in that President Putin did not visit Pakistan for the Trilateral Summit, precisely because India objected. Our diplomats are showing incompetence because they cannot properly handle relationships with the USA, India or Russia.

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