Dr. Susmit Kumar, Ph.D.

 

One version of this paper is published at South Asia Monitor on July 26, 2020 – here is the link

 

India should sign a defence treaty with US

 

 

 

During the first half of the last century, Nazi leader Hitler wanted to create the Third Reich, a super colonial power, which would rule over the world for a thousand years. But it lasted only for thirteen years because Hitler was trying to turn back the clock as colonialism was in its last phase. Instead of creating a super colonial power, Hitler destroyed colonialism. Following World War II, within a few decades nearly all colonies in Asia and Africa obtained their independence. After WWII and the ensuing Cold War, neither US-led Western countries nor the Soviet Union occupied any landmass to rule. Instead they opted for local puppets, at times installed by military means, as rulers.

 

China and its expansionist tendencies

 

Xi Jinping is both a Joseph Stalin (Soviet leader) and a Hitler in the making. In China, the repression in Xinjiang and elsewhere in the country can be said to be Stalin-like. Under Xi Jinping, China has already committed Nazi Germany-like crimes (annexation of Czechoslovakia and then Poland) by the annexation of the entire South China Sea and now have landed in Ladakh. Like Hitler, Xi Jinping attempts to turn back the clock. China is the only nation in the world which has a border dispute with nearly all its neighbors—Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, India, Bhutan, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. Hence, the world powers will be in their right to declare war against China. In 2016, the Philippines won a case against China against the Nine-Dash-Line in the arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

 

Winter is fast approaching in Ladakh where the Chinese army has said to have annexed several mountain peaks, which belonged to India since 1962, and constructed fortifications there. These peaks overlook the newly constructed important all weather Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) Road which connects India’s remote military camp to the capital of Ladakh. Although India has already assembled nearly a similar number of army troops and military assets, including a significant number of aircraft, as China has in the same sector, it is futile for India to wait as the ball is in India’s court, i.e. India has to take the next step. In the event of any hostility with China, India will have to fight a two front war because Pakistan, too, has assembled sizeable numbers of troops and military assets in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

 

Before the then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi attacked Pakistan in December 1971 to stop the genocide of Bengali-speaking Muslims at the hands of the Urdu-speaking West Pakistani army in East Pakistan, she opted to sign the twenty-year Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, a treaty signed between India and the Soviet Union in August 1971. She did it mainly to thwart any Chinese attack on India to make it a two-front war for India and also against any US intervention. When the then US President Nixon ordered the US Seventh Fleet, led by the USS Enterprise nuclear powered aircraft carrier, into Bay of Bengal to threaten India to withdraw its offensive against the East Pakistan, the Soviet Navy dispatched nuclear submarines and other surface ships to trail the Seventh Fleet. But India’s army was able to force inept Pakistan’s army to surrender in just 13 days before the US Seventh Fleet could even arrive anywhere near the Bay of Bengal.

 

India must shed neutral image

 

 

India, under Narendra Modi administration, needs to shed its neutral image and sign a defense treaty with the US. Right now, the US would not like to directly intervene in India’s effort in evicting China from the land it has occupied in Ladakh. But it is in the interests of the US that China should be stopped in Ladakh as it will be a step towards the eviction of the China from the South China Sea. On its own India may or may not be able to evict China from occupied land. Hence the US needs to help India. Failure is not an option. It is in the interest of the US and other Western countries not to let India down against China because if India goes down against China, China will be an unstoppable military power not only in Asia but in the entire world as the US will not be able to confront China on its own. The US was in the same predicament before the Pearl Harbor Attack during WW II and hence it supplied arms and ammunitions to its allies, UK and even to the Soviet Union, under Lend-Lease Policy (Wikipedia).

 

 

Other than the Indo-US Defense Treaty, there is a need for a new Lend-Lease Policy which will allow India to lease military assets, like aircraft from the US, for a few months for use. The US can start training the Indian Air Force personnel on stealth aircraft and say after a month, they can use it against China to drop precision-guided bombs on mountain peaks in Ladakh.

 

 

Apart from this, the US needs to provide Patriot Missile batteries and the THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system to India only for the duration of the Ladakh warfare in the same way as the US provided Patriot Missile batteries to Saudi Arabia after series of attack on Saudi oil facilities (U.S. to remove Patriot missile batteries from Saudi Arabia, Gordon Lubold and Michael C. Bender, Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2020). After signing the defense treaty with the US, the Indian Navy needs to join alongside the US and UK Naval forces to patrol the South China Sea. They should extend the treaty to include countries like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Vietnam to create an Asian NATO having the important goal of liberating the South China Sea from China.