Tuesday, 2 December 2008

India's "closeness" to the United States as reason for Mumbai is demonstrably false

The saddest aspect of last week's Mumbai terrorist attacks, apart from the appalling loss of life, was the predictability that the mainstream media and political elites would find some way of blaming the United States.

Deepak Chopra found himself on CNN and had
this to say:
What happened in Mumbai, he told the interviewer, was a product of the U.S. war on terrorism, that “our policies, our foreign policies” had alienated the Muslim population, that we had “gone after the wrong people” and inflamed moderates. And “that inflammation then gets organized and appears as this disaster in Bombay.”
Chopra has clearly eaten too little meat, which has had a negative effect on his brain development and ability to think. And what the heck are CNN and others doing featuring a whackjob like him anyway?

But he has many friends.

Waleed Aly, lecturer in the Global Terrorism Research Centre at Monash University, Mumbai was another to use the blame US first defence:
Much Islamist terrorism in recent years has been part of a cycle of violence with Hindu nationalist militants. The Mumbai bombings of 1993, for example, followed swiftly after the demolition of the Babri Mosque and anti-Muslim violence by Hindu militants. But hanging over every Islamist act of violence has been one loaded word: Kashmir.... As a Muslim majority territory, it most logically belongs to Pakistan…

Precisely what Israel has to do with Kashmir is not abundantly clear… And it is here (in the singling out of Jews and Westerners), rather than in the particular methods of violence, that we may discern the impact of al-Qaeda, not as an organisation, but as a symbolic ideological force. Its most significant contribution has not been mass death, but a new way of formulating militant politics that transcends the local and parochial, and imbues it with a global resonance. So, to take an example, the brutalising of Muslims in Kashmir may no longer be understood as a problem that begins and ends with India. It may now be constructed as part of a broader, more global conspiracy, spearheaded by the US.
Then, of course, there are those who blame India's 'closeness' to the United States for bringing the attacks on itself.

So how close is India to the United States?

You'd think that if a country really was close then they'd have a significant part of their military arsenal of US origin, wouldn't you?

And what part of a nation's military is most important?

Their air force.

So let's have a look at what the
Indian Air Force is made up of with the help of Wikipedia (which, by the way, is a really good source of aircraft info):

Air Superiority

The Sukhoi Su-30MKI (MKI: 'Multifunctional Commercial - Indian') is the IAF's prime air superiority fighter. The Su-30K variant was first acquired in 1996.
In October 2004, the IAF signed a multi-billion US$ contract with Sukhoi according to which Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was given the licence to manufacture 140+ Su-30MKI's with full technology transfer. HAL plans to manufacture about 15 of these aircraft annually. The twin seater, multi-role fighter has a maximum speed of 2500 km/h (Mach 2.35) and has a service ceiling of 20,000 metres. The aircraft, with one mid-air refueling, can travel as far as 8000 km, making it an effective platform to deliver nuclear weapons. In February, 2007 India ordered 40 additional Su-30MKI combat aircraft.

Sukhoi SU30MKI


Mirage 2000

Number of US made aircraft: 0

Strike, attack and offensive support aircraft



Number of US made aircraft: 0

Reconnaissance and Airborne Early Warning aircraft

Various unmanned aircraft are used for reconnaissance. In 2004, the IAF ordered 3 IAI Phalcon Airborne Early Warning radar system from Israel Aerospace Industries, which is considered to be the most advanced AEW&C system in the world, before the introduction of American-made Wedgetail. The air force will use 3 newly-acquired Ilyushin Il-76 Phalcon as a platform for these radar.

The IAF used to operate a fleet of MiG-25 (Foxbat) R, U reconnaissance aircraft until 2006. The high-speed interceptor aircraft carried four R-40 (AA-6 'Acrid') air-to-air missiles, two R-23 (AA-7 'Apex') and four R-60 (AA-8 'Aphid') or R-73 (AA-11 'Archer'). The MiG-25, in service since the late 1980s, were decommissioned from service in 2006. The IAF also used the English Electric Canberra aircraft for reconnaissance and photoreconnaissance missions during the Kargil war. The Canberras were originally used as Bombers, and served in that role in the 1965 and 1971 wars.

Number of US made aircraft: 0

An important objective of the IAF is to support ground troops by providing air-cover and by transporting men and essential commodities across the battlefield. Helicopters in service with the IAF are:

Mi-25/35 (Hind)
Mi-17 1V (Hip-H)
Mi-17 (Hip-H)
HAL Dhruv
Mi-8 (Hip)
HAL Cheetah
HAL Chetak
On 15 October 2006 India agreed to acquire 80 Mi-17 helicopters from the Russian Federation in a deal worth approximately US$662 million. The new and improved HAL Dhruv, complete with the more powerful Shakti engine and glass cockpit, came on stream in 2007.
Number of US made helicopters: 0

In fact, the entire extent of India's aircraft purchases from the US is a few trainers and a recent order for six of the new C130J Hercules.

India chose to be part of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement - those countries that did not choose sides in the Cold War.

However, far from being non-aligned India became very close to the Soviet Union and is clearly close to Russia today, as the composition of its air force demonstrates.

Thus, the argument that the Mumbai attacks are due to India being 'too close' to America are shown to be as false as the intellectually bankrupt claim that the US war on terror is to blame.

(Nothing Follows)


Anonymous said...

The closest thing linking India to America is the telephone customer service that has been outsourced.

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