Journal : Global Times (Chinese) Date : Author : NA Page No. : 14
URL : http://www.jdqu.com/read-841768-14.htm

During U.S. Defense Secretary Carter’s visit to India between the 10th and 12th of this month, he announced that India and U.S. have agreed in principle to share a military logistics base but the final agreement draft is yet to be discussed. Indian Defense Minister Parriker said that within the coming few months, India and US will sign the “Logistics Safeguard Agreement”. If both the sides finally sign this agreement, then it will mark the beginning of India breaking away from its traditional indistinct and wobbly approach to foreign policy and shift to a pragmatic “Modi-fication” security approach.

This “method change” definitely didn’t happen in a day. As early as 2004, when Indian National Congress led United Progressive alliance (UPA) was in power, the U.S. proposed India sign the “Logistics Safeguard Agreement” one of the three “basic agreements”—the other two agreements being “communication interoperability and security memorandum agreement” and “basic geo-spatial cooperation and communication agreement”. But the Singh government at that time had many doubts about these agreements and they worried that such agreements will cause India to lose “autonomy” in foreign policy and its position of non-alignment.  However, both the sides also signed the “India-U.S.New Defense Relationship Framework Agreement” in 2005 (renewed in 2015 for 10 more years). In 2012, the “Defense technology and business initiatives” agreement was also signed. From the time when Modi came to power, his government has carried forward the process started by “UPA” with more enthusiasm and determination. During the Indian Defense Minister Parriker’s U.S. visit, he again hinted that India may reconsider signing the three basic agreements with the U.S. Thus the in principle agreement between India and U.S. for sharing military logistics base should not be viewed as unexpected.

First of all, the gradual and increasingly deepening strategic contact with the U.S.illustrates that India’s move is centered on its interests to enhance the research and development dialogue in its alliance with US, and then later strengthening defense cooperation. A convergence in strategic benefits for India and U.S. might be due to the asymmetric situation in the  comprehensive national strength between India and China and also because India and China both have differences in matters on the bilateral, regional as well as international level. The Modi government is aware that due to this asymmetry with China in  Comprehensive National Strength, it is difficult to make China yield on the  border issue, cross-border terrorism or its presence in the Indian Ocean. Similarly, due to these factors as well as China’s strategic all weather friendship with Pakistan, the Modi government has  announced joint statements with Japan, United States and Vietnam on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea in succession. This made China very unhappy, although India has not yet agreed to have “joint patrols” with US in the South China Sea.

Secondly, in the process of deepening the cooperation process, India’s main interest lies in access to advanced new technology as it hopes to get assistance in developing and enhancing native defense production technology, building a solid foundation of national defense industry, reduce the dependence on imported weapon systems and increase defense weapon systems export and so on.  For example, both the sides have already started to look at the possibility pf cooperation in the sphere of aircraft design and operation, jet engine technology as well as fighter aircraft. The American side has been insisting that in order to implement this technological cooperation, both the sides must first sign the “basics agreement”. However in this respect, how both the sides will cooperate and how will India implement “Logistics Safeguard Agreement” can only be known when both the sides are involved in an actual conflict. But till this agreement is actually signed, this problem is just a presumption.

Thirdly, while some people in India think that this is a way to break free from its neighbour but at the same time they do not want India to form an alliance with U.S.. Although India clearly understanding that both China’s and its  maritime security boundary extends from the Pacific Ocean till the Indian Ocean, even so India is not opposed to cooperation with China on the projects related to the 21st century Maritime Silk Route, just as it does with a few projects in the “Silk Road Economic Belt”. Modi government wants to cooperate with China economically, it even specially invited China to invest in India. In 2016, during the first session of “Indian Ocean summit meeting, Modi released a heavy weight “National Vision Plan” project with the aim of implementing the modernization of ports and transforming them into special economic zones, port smart cities, industrial parks, warehouses, logistics parks as well as to make integrated communication corridors. This author believes that there is a large space for cooperation between India and China in this plan. The Modi government believes that this two pronged strategy of strengthening cooperation with the U.S. and other Asia-Pacific countries on one hand and pushing for economic cooperation with China on the other, will help India in easing its differences with China on the bilateral, regional and global level.

Ultimately, if India wants to look like America’s “vanguard”, then its relationship with China will suffer inevitably. Similarly, if the U.S. thinks that it can use India to weaken China’s presence and geo-political influence regionally and globally, then it is undoubtedly making a big mistake. The author believes that India is too big and cannot play the role of America’s assistant. Presently, India has acquired valuable geo-political space in the Indian and Pacific Ocean and is trying to make use of that. In this context, even if India thinks it can become a “swing state” between the U.S. and China, then this “swing” will need to be need to be restricted to cooperation and healthy competition and not confrontation and conflict because this will not be in India’s interest and also not in China’s and the U.S.’ interests.

(The author is a professor in the Chinese and South Asia research center in Jawaharlal Nehru University in India)

印度不会做美国制华的副手

环球时报第十四版

印度不会做美国制华的副手

狄伯杰

美国国防部长卡特本月10日至12日访问印度时宣布,美国和印度原则上同意共享军事后勤基地,但协议草案还有待最后商榷。印度防长帕里卡尔表示,印度和美国将在未来几个月内签署《后勤保障协议》。如果双方最终签署这一协议,那将标志着印度在外交政策方面开始摆脱传统上的模糊和摇摆,转而开启一种基于实用主义的“莫迪化”安全模式。

这种“模式转变”并非一日之功。早在2004年国大党领导的团结进步联盟执政时期,美国就向印度提出签署包括《后勤保障协议》在内的美印关系3个“基础性协议”,其他两项分别是《通信互操作性与安全备忘录协议》《地理空间合作基本交流与合作协议》。只是当时的辛格政府对此多有疑虑,担心那样将使印度丢掉其外交政策层面的“战略自主”和不结盟立场。不过,双方还是在2005年签署了《美印防务关系新框架协议》(2015年更新后又续期10年),2012年又签署了《防务技术与贸易倡议》。莫迪自其上台执政之初便开始以更大的热情和意志,推进前任“团结进步联盟”政府在这些领域已经开启的进程。印度国防部长帕里卡尔2015年访美时就曾暗示,印度或将重新考虑与美签署前述那些基础性协议的立场。因此,这次美印就共享军事后勤基地达成原则上的共识不应被视为出人意料之事。

首先,同美国渐进且愈发深入的战略接触表明印度希望从本国利益出发,增进与美国在联合研发领域的对话,进而加强两国防务合作。印美两国战略利益趋同,或与印度和中国在国家综合实力方面的不对称现状有关,当然也是因为印中两国在双边、地区以及一些全球性事务上存在分歧。莫迪政府意识到,基于与中国在综合国力方面的这种不对称,印度在边界、跨境恐怖主义或中国挺近印度洋区域等问题上,很难获得中国让步。或许正是由于这些因素以及中国与巴基斯坦达成全天候战略合作伙伴关系,莫迪政府才接连宣布在南海航行自由问题上与美国、日本和越南保持一致。这让中国很不高兴,尽管印度并未同意与美国在南海搞“联合巡航”。

其次,在加深与美国合作的过程中,印度的主要着眼点在高新技术方面,希望借助共同开发和生产提高本土防务技术水平,建设坚实的国防产业根基,减少对进口武器系统的依赖并增加国防出口等等。比如,双方已经开始探讨在航母设计与操作、喷气引擎技术以及战机等领域开展合作的可能性。美国方面一直坚持,要想实现这种技术合作,双方必须先签署“基础性协议”。不过,两国在这些方面的合作情况如何,还得看在双方均卷入实际的冲突时,印度如何执行《后勤保障协议》。而在该协议最终签署前,这个问题还只是一个假设。

第三,尽管印度国内一些人士认为这是我们在向邻国释放信息,但同时他们也很快意识到,这样做并不意味着印度要与美国结盟。尽管印度清楚它与中国的海上安全边界都在从太平洋扩大和延伸至印度洋,但印度并不抗拒在“21世纪海上丝绸之路”相关项目上与中国合作,就像之前在“丝绸之路经济带”某些项目上的情况一样。莫迪政府愿在经济合作方面拥抱中国,尤其是想邀请中国到印度投资。2016年首届“印度海洋峰会”期间,莫迪对外发布了对他而言分量颇重的“国家远景规划”项目,旨在推动印度港口实现现代化转型,并与相关经济特区、港口智慧城市、工业园区、仓储区、物流园以及交通走廊等融为一体。笔者认为,印中两国在这一规划的很多方面都有广阔合作空间。莫迪政府相信,一方面加强与美国和其他亚太国家的合作,另一方面积极推动与中国的经济联系,这种双线并进的做法最终将帮助印度缓和与中国有关一些双边、地区和全球性事务的分歧。

最后,如果印度表现得像美国的一个“排头兵”,则它同中国的关系必将受损。同样,如果美国想以拉拢印度对抗中国的方式来削弱中国在地区和全球范围内地缘政治影响的话,那么美国无疑犯了大错。笔者认为,印度实在太大,根本不适合扮演美国的副手角色。现在,印度已在印度洋—太平洋地区获得宝贵的地缘政治战略空间,并且正在试图对其加以利用。正是基于这一背景,就算印度真想成为中美之间的“摇摆国家”,这种“摇摆”也须限制在合作与健康竞争领域,而非对抗和冲突方面,因为那样既不符合印度自身利益,也不符合中国和美国的利益。(作者是印度尼赫鲁大学中国与东南亚研究中心教授)

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