The Friendly Americans
The best friendships, I think, are forged in battle. Business is purely for profits. India and the US have never been friends. At least not militarily. US supplies all the major arms and equipments. It would have been an ironical situation, if a war took place in the subcontinent and both the Indian and the Pakistanis were using American weapons systems. The victor will be decided not by who fought and how well, but rather to whom the Americans supplied the spares. In the Kargil war for example, the Pakistani Air Force could not provide the relevant air support to the Pakistan Army, as the fighters were being “preserved” for the air attack, if any on Islamabad etc. The American were of course reluctant to supply the spares to the Pakistanis.
The Indian Armed forces on the other hand were regularly throughout the war, being provided with the latest in ammunition by the Russians and even the spares for any machinery were easily available. The Pakistanis, were doomed from the start. Not just because they were wrong (which they were) but also because they simply did not have the weapons.
But just imagine this, even some of the casualties that the Indian army did face, were the result of the arms provided by the Americans. Not so much because the Americans hate the Indians but because, well, that’s the way it has been.
So for the Americans to woo Indians and leave the Pakistanis behind, smells fishy. If the Americans can do this, are they really a good ally? Are they really worth trusting. In my opinion, it would take some time for the Indians to trusts the Americans fully. I don’t think the Americans are going to be trusted as much as the Russians were, at least militarily, any time soon. But the reality is, even the Russians are purchasing weapons from the French. They have been unable to even get Gorshkov ready for the Indians.
All these and related developments leave the Indians looking elsewhere. Enter the Americans.
It might be far fetched to say that the Americans are abandoning the Pakistanis. But India cannot and will not be wooed till the time the Americans see India and Pakistan from different prism and Bravo! Mr Obama; you did so with some finesse.
So the seller is here. He is interested in selling hi tech technology. Ready to assist in Infrastructure and of course, arm the armed forces. All these are the things that the Indians need and all these are things the Americans are ready to provide. So why the friendly faces?
I can think of only one reason. — More access to US companies and a less alarmed Indian Consumer. Think about it this way, anything goes environmentally, pepsi and coke are blamed. Part of this also lies in the way the common man sees US. Now if over a period of time, and with some effort of the American government, the general perception changes from doubt to “its American. So it must be OK”, it would go a long way for the US to spread to the Indian market and with more acceptability. Especially in sectors such are Agriculture etc.
As far as the UN security council seat is concerned. Lets face it. Its not some charity. Neither is it something of a candy that the Americans are giving the Indians. India is a growing economy. In the coming decades as more and more Indians come out of poverty and join the growing middle class, India would be not just be a attractive market, but also a consumer who cannot be taken casually. I am sure that the US knows this. In the coming decades, if India disagrees with any UN resolution then it can simple ignore the same. Of course the growing market in India would mean that India cannot be acted upon and this would mean that such sanctions are not worth the paper they are written on. So frankly no marks from me to the US president for stating the obvious.
American is a capitalist country. It survives on business. As a wiseman did say, the business of America is Business. A seller has to be friendly towards the buyer. This appears to me to be the only reason to me for the American attitude.