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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WIKILEAKS: Why the critics of India's combat jet deal are wrong!

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PRAVEEN SWAMI / THE HINDU





Following a raft of technical tests by the IAF, the Manmohan Singh government has shortlisted the Eurofighter consortium's Typhoon and the French-made Dassault Rafale for a multi-billion dollar fourth generation fighter deal. New Delhi will almost certainly come under intense pressure to review its decision.
Less than six months ago, President Barack Obama described the growing relationship between his country and India as “one of the defining and indispensable partnerships of the 21st century.” India's decision to pick European-made jets to equip its frontline combat jet fleet instead of United States-manufactured competitors has led more than a few to argue that the relationship has already hit a dead-end.
Sadanand Dhume, writing in the journal of the American Enterprise Institute, has argued India has “rebuffed the US offer of a closer strategic partnership”; and Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has argued that New Delhi “settled for a plane, not a relationship.” Indian commentators seem to agree: Nitin Pai, the editor of the strategic journalPragati, charged India with being “gratuitously generous” to Europe; and The Times of India's Chidanand Rajghatta said the decision had dealt the India-U.S. alliance “a significant blow.”
These critics are thoughtful commentators who need to be taken seriously. They are also wrong.
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