The India-US defence pact, when inked, is going to be more advantageous to the US than India which has prevailed upon to allow American aircraft and warships access to Indian military bases for berthing, refueling, repair and other military logistic support. India capitulated to the US badly wanting to “re-balance” its naval forces to the Asia-Pacific in the pursuit of its policy of “full-spectrum dominance”. Inevitably, we are hard put to figure out how the paradigm shift came about under a ‘strong’ leader. Similarly, once the US military “bases” itself on the Indian soil and validates its presence in the name of global security or containment policy, it will restrict India’s elbow room and diplomatic leverage. The argument that it is a reciprocal arrangement does not hold good as the question of stationing Indian troops on the American soil does not arise. No amount of rationalization will alter the fact that the move impinges on India’s strategic autonomy. In hoping to become a military ally of the US, India should not be rushing to end up as a vassal state as Pakistan was during the Cold War period. Incidentally, the US remains the largest arms supplier to both India and Pakistan even as it advocates peace between the two nations. No doubt India cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the dynamics of geopolitical changes. But efforts that do not entail compromising India’s sovereignty have to be tried to tackle the challenges like China’s military expansionism without jettisoning its policy of non-alignment.
G David Milton
The EC challenge
Mamata Banerjee reportedly challenged the Election Commission to take action against her for an alleged violation of the model code of conduct. The West Bengal CM should be aware of the fact that the EC is a constitutional authority, which is independent and is answerable only to the Parliament. During the stipulated period, the entire law & order machinery in the State is under EC which is empowered to take action against anybody found infringing the law; irrespective of the party affiliation and the position held by the person.
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