Hillary Clinton’s Business Trip To India

Kamalakar Duvvuru

Dissident Voice
August 11th, 2009

India’s booming economy and vast new market made Hillary Clinton,
not surprisingly, to stop first in India’s commercial capital Mumbai
during her three day tour of India in July 2009. In an op-ed in The
Times of India, Clinton laid out clearly US’ interests in India. First
was "the 300 million members of India’s burgeoning middle class" whom
she identified as "a vast new market and opportunity."1 The focus
on India as fundamentally a market for the US business indicates the
purpose of Hillary’s visit to India.

In Mumbai, Hillary Clinton first had a meeting with a selective group
of Indian business executives. Later she stayed at Taj Mahal Palace &
Tower, one of the two hotels that had been attacked by terrorists
in November 2008. At a news conference she subtly brought India’s
11/26 and US’ 9/11 together: "Just as India supported America on
9/11, these events are seared in our memory…."2 The reason for
this, probably, was to direct Indian public’s attention to the
common perpetrator: Islamic extremism. In her op-ed in The Times of
India, Clinton clearly made her point. She mentioned about security:
"Our countries have experienced searing terrorist attacks. We both
seek a more secure world for our citizens," and therefore, "We should
intensify our defense and law enforcement cooperation to that end." In
the same breath she identified the common enemy as the extremism that
Pakistan is confronting.1 The two events – Clinton’s meeting with
Indian business executives and her stay at Taj hotel – are steeped in
a powerful, but unfortunate, symbolism, as 11/26 is linked with 9/11.

US’ 9/11 and Weapons’ Trade On September 11, 2001 there was a
significant shift in security trend. For the first time since the
British burned down Washington in 1814, US experienced death and
destruction on its land through an enemy attack.3 Till then death
and destruction have always been suffered on foreign lands. George
W. Bush, then President of the US, in his State of the Union address
on January 28, 2003 recognized this: "In two years, America has
gone from a sense of invulnerability to an awareness of peril." This
challenge to its hegemony and attack on its land, instead of leading
to introspection of its foreign policy and actions on foreign lands,
resulted in the US’ "war on terror." US failed to acknowledge that
the terrorist attack on its land was a blowback. In an interview
on the Mike Malloy radio show, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds
said that the US maintained "intimate relations" with Osama Bin
Laden and Taliban "all the way until that day of September 11."4 The
goals of American "statesmen" using these "intimate relations" with
al-Qaida included control of Central Asia’s vast energy supplies and
new markets for US military-industrial complex.4 Recently in a very
rare acknowledgement by Hillary Clinton, she confessed that the US’
present enemy in Afghanistan and Pakistan was once its friend. To a
question of the Congressman Adam Shciff in a Subcommittee of the House
of Appropriations Committee on April 23, 2009, Clinton explained how
the militancy was linked to the US-backed proxy war against the Soviets
in Afghanistan: Let’s remember here…the people we are fighting today
we funded them twenty years ago…and we did it because we were locked
in a struggle with the Soviet Union. They invaded Afghanistan…and we
did not want to see them control Central Asia and we went to work…and
it was President Reagan in partnership with Congress led by Democrats
who said you know what it sounds like a pretty good idea…let’s deal
with the ISI and the Pakistan military and let’s go recruit these
mujahedeen…let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries,
importing their Wahabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the
Soviet Union…they (the Soviets) retreated…they lost billions of
dollars and it led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. So there is a
very strong argument which is…it wasn’t a bad investment in terms of
Soviet Union but let’s be careful with what we sow…because we will
harvest.5 Therefore, the early foundations of al-Qaida were built,
mainly, on relationships and weaponry that came from the billions
of dollars in US support for the Afghan mujahedeen during the war
to expel Soviet forces from that country. The US has long relied on
weapons supplies and sales to prop up allies or enhance collective
defense arrangements. According to the report titled "Conventional Arms
Transfers to Developing Nations,": "For decades, during the height
of the Cold War, providing conventional weapons to friendly states
was an instrument of foreign policy utilized by the United States and
its allies."6 The US Cold War foreign policy of supplying weapons to
maintain strategic relationship continued even after 9/11. In fact, the
US’ response to the terror attacks was that it was more willing than
ever to sell or supply high technology weapons to countries that have
pledged assistance in the global war on terror, regardless of their
past behavior or current status. Under the guise of the global war on
terror, George W. Bush fast-tracked weapon sales, released countries
from arms embargoes, and pumped more money into foreign military
aid. US sanctions were lifted on Armenia, Azerbaijan, India, Pakistan,
Tajikistan, and Yugoslavia. These countries have been identified as
key allies in the global war on terror.7 US-India Relationship After
initial confidence building measures, on January 12, 2004 US and India
signed an agreement called the "Next Steps in Strategic Partnership"
(NSSP) with the aim of implementing a shared vision to expand
cooperation, deepening the ties of commerce and friendship between
the two nations, and increasing stability in Asia and beyond. This
"strategic partnership" has grown into "global partnership" with the
ratification of the US-India Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful
Uses of Nuclear Energy in July 2005. Bush signed the Henry J. Hyde
United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006 (or
"Hyde Act") into law in December 2006 (P.L. 109-401).8 Commenting on
the nuclear deal Nicholas Burns, then Under Secretary of State, said
that it was "positive for United States national security interest
because it will help us cement our strategic partnership with India,
which is very important for our global interests."8 In October 10, 2008
Condoleezza Rice, then US Secretary of State, and Pranab Mukherjee,
then External Affairs Minister of India, signed the nuclear deal
after three years of negotiations. Called the 123 Agreement after a
section in the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, the pact allowed India to buy
vital nuclear fuel and technology from American companies.

Right from the beginning corporate interests led by the nuclear
industry and arms makers in the US lobbied for the nuclear deal. They
saw the possibilities for nuclear trade, weapons sales, and selling
spare parts and other services to India.9 According to the Washington
Post, American companies saw a vast market in India for nuclear
reactors and conventional weapons, after having been largely frozen out
of that market for decades.10 The US-India Business Council hired the
high-powered firm of Patton Boggs to work on Congress, and the Indian
government a powerful US lobbying firm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers
LLC, for which Robert Blackwill – US ambassador to India from 2001
to 2003 – is president, as well as the law firm of Venable LLP. The
Confederation of Indian Industry and the India-American Friendship
Council were also involved.

US politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, overwhelmingly
supported the US-India nuclear deal. Because they either have
investments in or received financial contributions from the arms

US’ Interests in the Deal US has acknowledged India’s growing global
economic, political, and geo-strategic clout. So it wanted to court
India through US-India nuclear deal to further its global interests.

1. To Contain China US perceives China to be the larger threat to
its hegemony. According to the 2008 annual report to Congress from
the Office of the Secretary of Defense on the Military Power of the
People’s Republic of China, "China’s expanding and improving military
capabilities are changing East Asian military balances; improvements
in China’s strategic capabilities have implications beyond the
Asia-Pacific region."11 US sees India as a new emerging power of the
21st century, one that can be an ally of the United States and help
it balance and contain the rise of China. India also directly faces
the Chinese military along a four thousand kilometer northern border.

There has been some speculation regarding US’ intention to create
an Asian NATO. During the Cold War era, US forged the Southeast Asia
Treaty Organization (SEATO) comprising of pro-western countries such
as Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand as
well as France and UK. However, this organization was dissolved in
1977.12 The speculation about US’ intention to forge Asian NATO has
been substantiated with the proposals of some American politicians
such as Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain. Giuliani proposed that
India, Japan, Singapore, Israel and Australia should be included in
NATO. Whereas McCain suggested the establishment of US-led League of
Democracies. Trabanco opines that McCain’s proposal was a euphemism
for the inclusion of nonEuropean US allies in a global military
coalition.12 The reason for this seems to be the rise of China as an
economic power. The US National Intelligence Council called it "the
unprecedented transfer of wealth from west to east."12 In order to
contain China’s power and to preserve its control over strategic sea
routes, US strategists have acknowledged the strategically significant
geographic location of India. This could be the reason why US has
forged an alliance with India in maritime cooperation.

Therefore, the US’ willingness to make nuclear deal with India
is perceived, by some, to gain latter’s strategic and geopolitical
loyalty.12 "(It) would buttress (India’s) potential utility as a hedge
against a rising China, encourage it to pursue economic and strategic
policies aligned with U.S. interests, and shape its choices in regard
to global energy stability…." said Tellis.13 1. To Involve India
in the "Reconstruction" of Afghanistan There is also a talk about
US’ intention to involve India in Afghan "reconstruction" and ask
for Indian troops.11 India, in the past, refused to send its troops
to Iraq. However, the US-India "global partnership" might give the
US leverage over India. As the relationship deepens, it would be
difficult for India to reject US’ request for its partnership in the
"reconstruction" of Afghanistan, which includes alignment of Indian
troops with the NATO troops under the leadership of US.

During her three day visit to India, Hillary Clinton, US Secretary
of State, mentioned about security cooperation: "Our countries have
experienced searing terrorist attacks. We both seek a more secure world
for our citizens," and therefore, "We should intensify our defense
and law enforcement cooperation to that end." And this cooperation
is against the extremism that Pakistan is tackling at present.

The US strategy seems to be to draw India (as a "partner") into
"Afghan trap", as it did Russia (its enemy). Admitting that an American
operation to infiltrate Afghanistan was launched long before Soviet
invasion of Afghanistan, Zbigniew Brzezenski boasted, "We actually did
provide some support to the Mijahedeen before (Soviet) invasion."14
"We did not push the Russians into invading, but we knowingly increased
the probability that they would," Brzezenski bragged. "That secret
operation was an excellent idea. The effect was to draw the Russians
into the Afghan trap."15 2. Market for US Military-Industrial Complex
The US-India nuclear deal not only links India more closely to US
and its global interests, but also boosts US trade in a profitable
sector, nuclear industry. It also creates market for US conventional
weapons. Till now Russia is the largest supplier of weapons to India
(second is Israel). US expects that the nuclear deal will change
this scenario.

India is a huge market for weapons sales. In 2005 it was the
largest buyer of arms in the developing world with purchases of $5.4
billion. US’ intention to profit from this market is evidenced by
recent visits to India by US officials, including Robert Gates, the
Defence Secretary, in February 2008 to strengthen military ties and
promote weapons sales. Lt. Gen. V.K. Kapoor, a defence analyst, said,
"Other than obvious commercial interests, the US is keen to invest
militarily in India…."16 At DefExpo 2008 in New Delhi in February
2008 at which major US weapons companies were well represented,
William Cohen, former US Defence Secretary under Bill Clinton,
declared, "The promise of deeper US-India defence co-operation is
now a reality, with collaborations and joint ventures between US
and India firms already under way."16 India is projected to spend
more than $30 billion by 2012 as the country seeks to modernize its
military. By 2022 spending is expected to reach $80 billion.

The US-India nuclear deal has opened a huge market for the US
weapons industry. For US weapons companies foreign sales mean
the biggest bucks. Also, sales are often accompanied by lucrative
deals for accessories, spare parts, and eventual upgrades. There
is growing evidence that weapons sales are more about money
for the US military-industrial complex and other major military
economies. According to the congressional report "Conventional
Arms Transfers to Developing Nations,": "Where before the principal
motivation for arms sales by foreign suppliers might have been to
support a foreign policy objective, today that motivation may be
based as much on economic considerations as those of foreign policy
or national security policy."6 Weapons Deals during Hillary Clinton’s
Visit to India The burgeoning "global partnership" between US and India
is gradually laying bare its contents. India has dramatically increased
its defence budget up over 34% alone this year. Hillary Clinton’s visit
to India in July 2009 resulted in defence, space and nuclear power
agreements. It is the payoff resulting from the US-India nuclear deal.

On July 20, 2009 an accord, known as an end use monitoring agreement,
between India and US has been reached in New Delhi to clear the way
for the sale of US weapons to India. "We have agreed on the end-use
monitoring arrangement which would refer to…Indian procurement of US
defence technology and equipment," said S.M. Krishna, Indian External
Affairs Minister, in a joint news conference with Clinton. India is
now holding a tender for the order of 126 multi-purpose lightweight
fighters for the Air Force. US company Lockheed Martin stands as the
front runner to sell F-16. The other three bidders are companies from
Russia, France and Sweden. According to the tender terms, a winner
should launch licensed production of its aircraft in India. The
Indian-assembled F-16 would be a lot cheaper than its equivalent put
together in the US or Europe. There is qualified labor in India, and
labor costs are low. For the first time in history the US is making
such an offer to a country that is neither a NATO member state nor
has it Americans troops deployed on its territory.

Hillary Clinton said that India has also approved two sites for the
construction of two US nuclear reactors. She said, "I am also pleased
that Prime Minister Singh told me that sites for two nuclear parks
for US companies have been approved by the government." That means,
it provides about $10 billion business for the US nuclear reactor
builders such as General Electric Company and Westinghouse Electric
Company, a subsidiary of Japan’s Toshiba Corporation. However, what
is not clear is whether India has agreed to the US’ demand for legal
immunity to its companies, if there is an accident.

India has already bought $2.1 billion worth of anti-submarine planes
from Boeing earlier this year, the largest US arms transfer to India to
date.17 Arms deals between India and US will pull the military of the
two countries together and foster interoperability.11 At a May 2009
Defense Writers Group convened by the Center for Media and Security,
to the question "whether the Obama administration will follow the
general policy of supporting (weapons) exports?" and "do you anticipate
any change in terms of where US arms will be sold?" Undersecretary of
Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy responded, "We don’t have a sort
of arms sale policy as much as more a sense of commitment to building
partner capacity."7 Vice Admiral Jeffrey Wieringa, the head of the
Pentagon agency that administers weapons exports, was more candid:
"We sell stuff to build relationships."7 Not surprisingly, Loren
Thompson of the Lexington Institute, a consultant to Lockheed Martin,
said, "Weapons could be the single biggest U.S. export item over the
next 10 years."17 Increased weapons sales will certainly help the US
Military-Industrial Complex weather the current economic crisis.

Conclusion Not surprisingly, in the "global partnership" between
US and India, the people who are missing are the poor of both the
countries. In the op-ed in The Times of India Hillary Clinton, former
Wal-Mart Board Director, made no mention of India’s poor. According
to the World Bank poverty line of $1.25 (Rs. 56.13) per day, the
number of poor in India during 2004-2005 was 456 million, that is,
41.6% of the population. The official figure of number of poor
in the US in 2007 was 37.3 millions.18 However, Katherine Newman,
professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University,
says that apart from 37.3 million poor, there are over 50 million
Americans, who belong to what she calls "the missing class". In
her book The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America,
co-authored with Victor Tan Chen, she says that the Americans who
belong to "the missing class" are those who are living on the edge –
one sudden illness, one pink slip (i.e., loss of job), one divorce
away from free fall.19 The impact of arms trade between US and India
has on the lack of economic development among the poor in both the
countries, as more and more resources are directed into production
and acquisition of new deadly weapons. "We’ve put this money down a
black hole of so-called security," says David Krieger, President of
the California-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. "In a more just
and humane society, that money would be spent on health care, housing
and the alleviation of poverty."20 Therefore, the single most pressing
"security" issue of the 21st century will be assuring the essentials
of a healthy, dignified life for the millions of people in India and
US, who are left out of the global economy. Poverty continues to be
the main human rights issue in both the countries.

What needs to be done is, try and reduce the drive for production
and acquisition of more and more weapons systems, so that resources
may be used for education, healthcare, and to fight against poverty.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS