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NB's The Nyle Magazine

Monday, October 08, 2012



Published September 8, 2011-Updated August 29, 2012

“Convenient Allies-The U.S. and India”

By Nathan’ette Burdine-Follow on Twitter@nbnylemagazine

Countries are self-survivors that will form a convenient alliance, with a non-ally country, in order to protect its interest.  It is similar to two opposing factions having a common enemy and recognizing that their chances of defeating their enemy are greater if they join forces.  In this case, the United States and India formed a convenient ally relationship in order to combat the problem of Pakistan and China.  The U.S and India have an interest in combating Pakistan’s allege involvement with terrorist organizations and China’s authoritarian tactics resulting in its global economic rise.  According to the Wall Street Journal writer Jeff Smith’s article, “The China-India Border Brawl,”  China and Pakistan have a strong ally relationship.  This relationship was evident in China’s attempt at blocking the U.S.’s support of India on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is in charge of exporting civil nuclear technology.  Like Pakistan, China wondered why Pakistan could not get the same opportunity as India to be accepted within the West’s nuclear circle of friends.  Unlike India, however, Pakistan has not been able to shake the allege perception that the country is a safe haven for terrorist.  The Mumbai and Bali bombings, the recent capture of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, and Pakistan allowing China to have access to intel information from the fallen U.S. military aircraft involved in the bin Laden raid has resulted in the U.S., India, and others within the international community placing a red alert over Pakistan.  The U.S. and India view the Pakistanian government’s allege involvement with terrorist and a rising China as a threat to the political and economical stability of the global community.  And a highlighted sign of the U.S. and India’s convenient ally relationship was former President Bush signing the 2008 nuclear treaty that lifted the thirty-year old nuclear sanctions against India. 

The United States had banned India from its nuclear circle of friends after India tested bombs in 1974 and 1998.  However, the growing tensions in Pakistan and a rising China eventually resulted in the U.S. looking for a convenient ally.  India fit the bill because it was similar to the West in terms of its government and economy.  Like the West, India has a democratic government and a capitalist economy.  According to Wikipedia, India has the world’s most populous democracy, 10th largest economy by market exchange rate and 4th largest purchasing power parity, and the world’s third largest military behind China and the U.S.  And by signing the nuclear treaty, the U.S. and India moved towards using their shared similarities in government and economical philosophy as a way to bridge any gaps the countries may have had with each other.

By signing the treaty, India was officially disassociated from its neighbor Pakistan and had the scarlet letter T removed from its shroud.  Despite China’s objections, this created an open door policy resulting in India obtaining a non-temporary membership on the UN. Security Council.  According to the BBC, President Obama has stated that he wants to engage in more trade with the country and would like for Americans to see India beyond its stereotype as a “call center” country.  President Obama put actions behind his words and approved a ten billion dollar trade deal with India.  The BBC stated that The White House believes the deal will help to create approximately 54,000 jobs in the U.S.

There have been some positives associated with the deal.  The deal will benefit, big, mid, and small size firms.  For instance, over 12, 000 jobs will be created from the sell of Boeing’s 30 new 737 to India’s private airline company Spice Jet, while Harley-Davidson is planning a new plant in India to build American-made motorcycles.  According to the BBC, the White House stated that GE Transportation and Electro-Motive Diesel will support the continuance of Indian railways by supplying them with over 1000 diesel locomotives for greater than 10 years.  GE Transportation is based in Erie, PA and it’s a subsidiary of GE, while Electro-Motive Diesel is based in LaGrange, IL and it’s a unit of Caterpillar, Inc.  However, neither Pakistan or China, which voted against India’s membership on the U.N Security Council and on the Nuclear Suppliers Group, was happy about the U.S. and India’s new relationship.  According to the BBC’s article “U.S. and India Seal Nuclear Accord,”  Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Tasnim Aslam, stated that Pakistan wanted a similar deal with the U.S.  Unfortunately, Pakistan has not received a similar deal because it has not been able to shake the perception that it is allegedly funding terrorist organizations.

Recently, questions began mounting about Pakistan’s allege involvement with terrorist after the Navy Seals found the Al-Quadea leader Osama bin Laden, who was responsible for the 1997 U.S. Embassy bombing in South Africa and the 9/11 attacks, living comfortably near the military base in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.  This resulted in the uncomfortable feeling that the Pakistanian government was possibly protecting Osama bin Laden, while adding to the belief that Pakistan may be a safe haven for allege terrorist organizations.  During the month of June 2011, the Pakistanian government detained reporters for adding some truth to the assumptions by reporting the government’s allege involvement in terrorist activity.  The reporters’ detention appeared to be the last straw for the United States.  The United States rescinded a $3 billion dollar aid package to Pakistan because the U.S. did not want the perception that they were hypocrites who were funding terrorist organizations in Pakistan that were possibly responsible for American deaths.  And to make matters worse for Pakistan, there were reports that they had given China important intel, which the U.S. viewed as a security breach,  from the military aircraft that was involved in the Osama bin Laden raid.

Like the United States, India is especially concerned about Pakistan’s activity.  India’s has a heightened sense of urgency because it sits in between Pakistan and China.  Any uproar can easily spill over into India’s territory and cause a downward spiral in its economy and disruption to its government.  This was evident during the terrorist attacks in Bali and Mumbai and the increasing tension surrounding the Arunachal Pradesh territory along the China-Indian border.

The terrorist attacks in Bali and Mumbai, a financial hub and home of the international Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, shook India politically, economically, and socially.  Some Indian officials attributed the terrorist attacks in Bali and Mumbai to the Pakistanian government.  According to the New York Times' writers Somini Sengupta and Keith Bradsher’s article “Mumbai Terrorist Siege Over, India Says,”  India’s foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee pointed to certain “elements” within Pakistan as being responsible for the Mumbai attacks.  In particular, the American intelligence and counterterroism officials pointed to the Indian-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir as evidence of the Pakistanian militant group’s, Lashkar-e-Taiba, involvement in the Mumbai bombing.

According to the New York Times’ writers’ Heather Timmons and Keith Bradsher article, “Violence Clouds India’s Economic Future,” the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy stated that since 2004 more people were killed in terrorist attacks on India’s soil than any other country, with the exception being the Iraqi War.  Timmons and Bradsher stated that Matthew Brooks, who is over the industry analysis at Business Monitor International, said, “If you have a situation where terrorism becomes endemic, that’s a more serious problem.”  The more serious problem emerged after foreign investors began pulling out of India, India’s currency the rupee began dipping further, and its tourism industry began slowing down.  The Bali and Mumbai bombings have resulted in India tightening its position on Pakistan.  However, due to India’s tightening stance against Pakistan, India’s other neighbor, China, has taken an authoritarian stance towards India.

China caused a stir by building highways and railroads along the Arunachal Pradesh.  The Arunachal Pradesh is Indian territory that is along the Chin-India border. According to Jeff M. Smith, India views the Chinese response as retaliation to India tightening its position on Pakistan.  Although India legally owns the territory, China is unwilling to recognize the territory as belonging to India.  Smith stated that the Chinese Ambassador to India believes the entire Arunachal Pradesh territory belongs to China.  China showed its discontent by going as far as to break from Asian tradition by attempting to block a $2.9 billion loan to India at the Asian Development Bank.  The loan would fund a $60 million flood-management in Arunachal Pradesh.  However, the U.S. overruled the Chinese vote and was able to successfully pass the loan.  And on June 8, 2011, India responded by increasing its military presence in order to prevent China from advancing into the country.

China’s authoritarian behavior has also spilled over into the global economies.  China attempts to use hardline tactics by placing higher tariffs on foreign companies in order to limit competition in its country.  For instance, there were complaints to the World Trade Organization about China’s hardline tactics and practices in the textile industry and its use of cheap labor in order to push out the competition.  In particular, there were several complaints levied against China and its labor policies concerning workers in the Nike and Addidas factories.  There were concerns about workers not receiving overtime pay and being placed in dangerous working conditions.  But, the complaint that has recently garnered the most attention is the 2009 complaint filed by the U.S. , European Union, and Mexico alleging that China was manipulating the market in order to prevent companies from having access to the Mongolia Coal Company.

The Mongolia Coal Company has the largest coal reserves that are used to make steel.  China has 40% share in the company, Russia has a 36% share, while the U.S. has a 24% share in the company.  The EU, Mexico, and U.S. believe China is trying to use underhand tactics, such as higher tariffs, in order to limit competition to China’s companies and thus gain complete control over the Mongolia Coal Company.  The Mongolia Coal Company owns the “rare earth” minerals.  According to the Washington Times’s article, “Ruling on “rare earth” goes against China,” cerium and yttrium are among some of the minerals that are used to make such things as cell phone batteries, pollution control devices, and laser pointers.  And due to the Mongolia Coal Company having the largest coal reserves used to make steel, one can also assume that China’s takeover of the company will most likely give it control over the major industries of construction and industrial that depend upon steel.

Within the global political arena, economic prosperity tends to lead to political and military strength.  A strong economy means more means for a country to expand.  And China’s growing economy means a downgrade in the U.S.’s influence in the global arena.  According to CNN, the Pentagon believes a growing China means an expanded military that could result in growing tensions within the region.  Due to China having the world’s largest military, it would only be reasonable for the world second largest military, the U.S., and third largest military, India, to form a convenient ally relationship in order to combat China.

China, on the other hand, has waved their hands at the U.S. complaints and dismissed them, along with the U.S.’s involvement with India, as an unsuccessful way to curtail China’s growth.  China believes the U.S. views the Chinese economy as a threat to the U.S.’s place as an economic and military powerhouse.  It is a concern that is not unfounded because China has the means to expand.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade division, China ranks 2 out of 15 of countries trading with the U.S.  And the U.S. Department of Commerce stated that China has the largest liquid assets, 1.6111 billion dollars, in the U.S.  Hence, China’s trade with the U.S. and its assets in the U.S. is enough for China to expand economically and militarily.  So the U.S. is in a tough position when it comes to China because the U.S. depends upon China for trade and the country has the most liquid assets in the U.S.  So In order to get around these issues, the U.S. has decided to use soft power by forming a convenient ally relationship with India and blocking China’s votes that aren’t in line with the U.S.’s interest.

The open door policy the United States and India have has sent up an alarm with Pakistan and China.  There are questions about how can two countries, like the U.S. and India, who were not allies interact as such?  The answer resides in the fact that countries are like people who form groups in order to combat a greater threat.  It is equivalent to two opposing sides recognizing that they’re strength together will increase their chances of defeating a common enemy.  For the U.S. and India, Pakistan and China are the common enemies.  The U.S. cannot stomach the idea of possibly having blood on its hands from allegedly funding a nation that supported terrorist organizations that targeted and killed American citizens.  As for India, it is concerned with the violence spilling over into its country and disrupting its government and economy.  In regards to China, the U.S. and India view them as an authoritarian regime that is more concerned with power than balance, which is evident in its unethical practices that are threatening the political and economical stability of the global community.  And in order for the U.S. and India’s interests to be met, both countries must keep up the united front as convenient allies in order to combat the Pakistanian government’s allege involvement with terrorist organizations and China’s authoritarian tactics resulting in its global economic rise.







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