The Guardian 6 April, 2005
Don't accept US offer of war planes
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has called for the rejection of an offer by the US to sell fighter planes to India and Pakistan. In a statement the CPI(M) says the United States has announced its decision to sell F16 fighter planes to Pakistan and offered to sell the same fighter planes to India along with missile defence systems and discussions on civilian nuclear technology.
The game of the Bush administration is clear. It intends to draw India into a strategic military relationship just as Pakistan has been involved in one for decades. The fuelling of the arms race between India and Pakistan with the sale of sophisticated weaponry to both countries suits the United States' interests perfectly as well as providing a good market for its arms manufacturers, says the Party statement.
The India's Defence Minster has remarked it as a "positive development in that for the first time we have received such an offer from the US". The government should be wary of such offers. First of all, India has been accessing defence equipment from a number of countries and experience shows that the United States cannot be relied upon to be a dependable supplier for political reasons, says the statement.
Secondly, the United States is trying to draw India into its global strategic plans by asking India to join the missile defence system. India should outrightly reject the proposal to join the infamous National Missile Defence System. Joining it will be tantamount to becoming a junior partner of the USA. Acceptance of these offers will also adversely impact India-Pakistan relations.
The pursuit of an independent foreign policy and forging closer ties with all major countries including China should not be sidetracked by the US effort to inveigle India into a strategic military alliance. An independent policy is also required to ensure that the gas pipeline project between India, Pakistan and Iran goes ahead.