Who are ‘Indians for Trump’ during ‘American Erection 2016’ ???

I came across this video yesterday and could not stop laughing.  I see this young man “Jignesh” and his sidekick as rising stars in Indian-American comedy.  In this video, they do something that takes some pretty serious courage.

Why is Team India so Pathetic in the Olympics?


Team India & Modi, Wikipedia Commons

Yesterday was the last day of the 2016 Rio Olympics.  After the closing ceremony ended, India left Brazil with just two measly Olympic medals thanks to P.V. Sindhu’s inspiring run to silver in the sport of badminton, and backup freestyle wrestler Sakshi Malik unexpectedly bagging bronze in the 58kg weight class.

The glory of these two extraordinary ladies aside, this has been yet another pathetic Olympic games for the Indian contingent.  Here are a few numbers that tell the entire story.

India’s population:     1.252 billion, or 17% of all humanity

Rio Olympic medals:  2, or .095% of all medals awarded

Olympic gold medals since 1980: 1

The 2016 performance was more or less another disappointing par for India.  Why is Team India so pathetic in the Olympics?   Much has been said on the topic and there is some disagreement on this.  There are certainly multiple explanations for the lack of success, and nearly all of it can and should be corrected in the coming decades.

Read the rest of this entry

What the Heck Would the Indian Classical Music version of Star Wars Theme Songs Sound Like???

Well, now we know.

To many Americans, Indian classical music may sound like it’s from a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  But thanks to arranger/composer/student Tushar Lall and the Indian Jam Project’s Star Wars tribute, it has been given a much more familiar and accessible touch.  This playful rendition of the Star Wars songs many of us grew up with is easy listening at its best.  And if you like this, Indian Jam Project has numerous other fusion songs available.  Fusion music often falls flat, doing justice to neither of its parent genres, but not in this case.  The ancient notes from the tablas, sitar, flute, and bharatanatyam dance moves somehow blend seamlessly into the futuristic Star Wars chords.

I wouldn’t be too shocked if Luke Skywalker has this song on his playlist, wherever he is right now.  Watch it below!



Indian Entrepreneur Finds America on Cross-Country Road Trip


Editor’s note: Anup Pai is an entrepreneur based in Bangalore, India.  Pai is the co-founder, head of US operations, and COO of the financial technology company Fintellix, formerly known as iCreate.  He recently completed an adventurous journey even most Americans have never attempted: a road trip across the contiguous United States from the East Coast to the West Coast, in 9 days, with his wife and daughter.  Below is the story of their experience during this bizarre and important election year of 2016 in the United States.

Following in the great tradition of France’s Alexis de Tocqueveille and others, Pai has captured this special moment in time in the United States from a uniquely foreign perspective.  He also shared some of his favorite picks for sights, food, wine, beer, and lodging below.



Unlike most Indian IT folks who started their careers in the 1990’s, my first trip to the USA didn’t happen until April 2015.  Boy, did I have a lot of catching up to do. Till that point, I had travelled to over 40 countries in the Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Middle East building and selling software using technologies developed in this country. Most of the countries I had been to before (barring Australia) had cultures rooted in their traditional medieval or even earlier histories, whereas the USA had rapidly developed a unique culture through the pioneering tradition of its people.  We’re talking about a culture which was unmistakably a part of me just as I was unavoidably a part of that culture. Read the rest of this entry

Hindu Sena in India Celebrates Donald Trump’s Birthday in Style!

This is one of these times where no editorial is necessary…

Interview with Dr. Romesh Japra, Creator of Festival of the Globe Silicon Valley

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Dr. Romesh Japra is an M.D. and entrepreneur based in the Bay Area who helped create a unique film festival that is helping tie the United States and India together culturally.  The festival is now about much more than movies and has become a major event for people of all backgrounds.

Below is the interview usindiamonitor has conducted with this pioneering Indian-American.  We hope this tradition continues to flourish and grow.

Festival of the Globe-Silicon Valley 2016 will be held August 5-14, 2016.

1. In a nutshell, what is Festival of the Globe- Silicon Valley?

It began as a film festival culminating into an awards night and the traditional India Day Parade. It has now progressed into a full throttle film, media, fashion, music, technology, business and cultural bonanza spanning across 10 days taking place in the heart of San Francisco and San Jose – called Silicon Valley. It was a natural evolution and elevation from Festival of India to Festival of Globe. After serving and empowering Indian Americans for 25 years, seeing transformation from 100% Indians to 50% Non Desis participation and requests from other diverse and relatively new communities, I made this bold and challenging decision despite concerns from my colleagues. We Indian Americans have become pioneers in many fields including high tech and IT. Why not this Initiative as well !

2. As someone who worked in medicine/business, what got you interested in such a festival?

In 70’s and 80’s, a few of the doctors were the main funders of cultural events. I always had a passion for community service. I think my mother had imbibed it in me. Whenever I went back home in Phagwara, Punjab from AIIMS or States, she would not give me my breakfast until I took care of all the patients who used to line up in the street in front of our small house. In 1983, I co-founded Fremont Hindu Temple and Cultural Center for which we had to buy a church and convert it for reasons of not being able to get permit because of Hare Rama Hare Krishna movement making people get the wrong impression of religious conversion.

Besides heading this center, I provided free medical service to many every Sunday, got involved in many other cultural, social and civic organizations. I also became President and Chairman of Federation of Indo-Americans, National Political Forum, Chamber of Commerce, Professional organizations and so on. In 1993, I founded Festival of India and Parade which has grown from 5,000 to 200,000 attendees in 2015. It has been a long journey and I prefer it that way. We have added lots of properties along the way and in 2014 was the first FOG Movie Fest. Last year our festival expanded tremendously and this year it promises to rise further up.


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Dr Japra

3. Why is the event based in Silicon Valley?

Primarily because I am based here since the past few decades, long before it was called Silicon Valley. This is known as the IT capital of the world and we are doing our part in bridging arts & culture, as well.

Sitting in the technology hub in Silicon Valley, we can inspire a lot more innovation in film making and digital and other means of film distribution and thus reaching out to the masses globally. Silicon Valley is the place where ideas and dreams get realized and converted into wealth. Through forums like Investor Pitch, we bring Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists, Bankers and Entrepreneurs (film-makers) onto a single platform. From Diversity and Ethnicity point of view, Silicon Valley is like the United Nations.

4. What does the future hold for FOGSV?

We’ve had an excellent response from the audiences. After having done Festivals for 24 years, we’re confident FOGSV has a bright future. We’ve gotten volunteers from across the communities and great resources to continue carrying the show. Like every year, we keep expanding and make it bigger and better.

5. How did FOGSV get off the ground?

We had a great platform of Festival of India and Parade for 22 years. Transforming to Festival of Globe with addition of Movie Fest, Awards, Fashion, Summit was easier. We as Indian Americans take pride in championing this  Initiative by opening it up to all diverse communities while keeping our Indian base with Independence Day Celebrations.

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

Special thanks to Bollywood actor Prashantt Guptha for arranging this interview.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial has an India Connection You Probably Don’t Know


With Memorial Day upon us, it is worth sharing a little-known fact about the  deeply revered and beautiful Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.  The Memorial will be forever tied to the hills of South India.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial has a unique and unmistakable design by Maya Lin, with a centerpiece consisting of two walls of solid polished black granite, each one 246 feet and 9 inches long.  These walls list the names of 58,307 American men and women who were killed or MIA due to the Vietnam War, etched into stone.  The gigantic blocks of black granite were imported all the way from Karnataka, India, the home state of my family and one of the few places in the world where shiny black granite is to be found.  It helps make the Memorial reflective- in more ways than one- with a spirit that extends to other monuments, including the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.

We’d like to salute those who have fallen in the Vietnam War and other wars in service of their country.  As the United States and India build toward a closer military relationship, it is worth noting the other important ways the two countries are meaningful to one another.

Photo Credit vvfm.org

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

Trump Won Because of Ego (Ironically, not his!)

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

What a remarkable week in US history.  The great human experiment with democracy in America has arrived at a dangerous moment.  Many people ask me why as an observer of US-India bilateral foreign policy I spend so much time commenting on the sad reality television of domestic US politics.  The reason is elementary.  He or she who arrives in power in America will have profound effects on India’s future.  Meanwhile, India’s own experiment with democracy is at a less mature and more delicate stage, and it is important for Indians to learn the stark lessons to be derived from the litany of poor American decisions: the slave trade, the treatment of Native Americans, the Civil War, Vietnam, Iraq, and yes, Donald Trump in 2016.  In the next episode, we might witness democracy being voted off the island.

In a way Donald Trump has done the United States and the world a favor by perfectly embodying the worst instincts in the United States of America today so that we can work toward dealing with it.  We’re not here to litigate this truth, because we hold it to be self-evident.  Rather, below we will simply break down how we got here politically, because nobody else has successfully done so.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with policy.

Now that Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, we’ve begun seeing the predictable expressions of shock, disbelief and horror among liberals and moderates, and badly misguided  analysis of why he won.  Trump fans of course saw this coming from a mile away and explain his victory in bizarre terms, such as “America will vote for Donald Trump because once he’s in office, ISIS won’t even dare to mess with America ever again.”  Yes, nihilistic terrorists will retire their suicide vests out of fear of the furry head and that’s why he’s winning.  Right.

For the record, I too predicted the Trump victory, and even endorsed Donald Trump, in September 2015.  His victory became obvious for one exceedingly simple and elegant reason requiring only three letters: E-G-O.  Shockingly, despite a candidate who is defined by a pathological ego run amok, Trump’s ego is not the one to blame here.  It’s the fault of many others on both the left and the right.

The Republican Party Clown Car, 2016 Edition  It takes a near toxic dosage of self-obsession for ANY person from either party to convincingly tell the world every day for several years that they would be the best possible leader of the free world.  In a watered-down field of 17 deeply flawed Republican candidates, all driven by their own outsize ego tripping, the time was especially ripe for a figure disliked by most of his own party to win the nomination with just a minority of the total votes.  If a party is going to deliberately run a clown car, then it should not be shocked when the biggest clown takes over the wheel.

Let’s look at the results in the first state to vote in the primary, Iowa, courtesy newyorktimes.com.  The Iowa circus is responsible for gifting the world Donald Trump and Ted Cruz as the front-runners for the rest of the GOP primary season despite the highest negative ratings.  This small state, with less than 100,000 votes, started the narrative that this was going to be a Trump vs. Cruz race nationwide.

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Of greater interest is the sheer number of governors, senators, and non-politicians who cannibalized each other before, during, and after Iowa to the point where two guys with only around 25% of the vote each would be anointed the front-runners.  Similar results played out in other states such as New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada: Donald Trump established the lead with much less than 50% of the vote.  Thank you George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Jim Gilmore, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Jeb!, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, and everyone else who made sure that the donations, political operatives, volunteers, media airtime, voters, and America’s short attention span were all chopped up into little pieces in the months before and during the primaries.  Thanks for wasting record amounts of money.  Thank you for lathering up the right wing base into a froth over Barack Obama’s birthplace, immigrants, homosexuality, terrorism, China, abortion, and guns for years on end, scaring the crap out of our citizens with your political strategy of “sheep tremble, and here come the votes!” in the prescient words of Rage Against the Machine.

If I were one of the many members of the Republican party establishment wringing my hands right now, I would point to this absurd parade of so-called leaders for putting their own ego above their party, and their own party above their country, and failing all three levels in the process anyway.  Trump would have been eminently beatable if leadership had consolidated its resources behind one or two viable options and a sensible and inclusive platform with fresh ideas early on and strategized to defeat the cancer within their ranks.  That option would have easily won in November too because no party has won 3 White House terms in a row since World War II.  But too many egos got in the way.  And to a man (and woman), every single one of Trump’s opponents, whether they were in the race or were simply acting as halfhearted bystanders like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, fatally underestimated Trump’s hostile takeover of their party throughout this process.

Barack Obama  Just as Obama greatly benefitted as a candidate in 2008 from the failed presidency of George W. Bush, his two botched wars and an epic financial meltdown, so too is Trump benefitting from the Obama administration’s shortcomings.  Although Americans are in far better shape than they were in 2008, the president has failed to communicate the relevant facts and figures to the American people.  Obama has not done a good job of educating citizens about the challenges presented by a changing economy, ISIS, or China, nor has he explained most accomplishments in terms people can understand.  As president, he had a bully pulpit, and a chance to renew Americans’ confidence in themselves, and this effort has been inadequate.   As a result, Americans are even more polarized than they were before he arrived in the White House.  Obama’s ego failed him on this count, because he was under the impression until it was too late that the power of his personality would help heal the rifts that are rendering the American people apart from each other, and cause them to view one another as the enemy.  On both sides, party has become more important than country, and we are reverting back to tribal behaviors based on race, income, or geography.  This was Obama’s biggest failed promise, and even he recognizes that today.

In such an environment, a backlash against all politicians and all government is a natural result.  Obama’s own ego led him to believe that his great successes in office would speak for themselves and he didn’t have to do the hard and, to be fair, perhaps futile work of marketing them to a woefully uninformed and balkanized public.  The result could be as disastrous to Obama personally as it is to the country as a whole: the potential dismantling, brick by brick, of all of the hard work that Obama and his team have done over the last 8 years on domestic and foreign policy, while perhaps watching helplessly on the sidelines as Americans begin to violently riot against each other like in the 1960s, egged on explicitly by one party’s standard-bearer.

Yes, Obama underestimated Trump and did not take steps, especially in 2015 and 2016 that could have neutralized Trump’s rise.  He has been overconfident that Trump wouldn’t win.  He has not been forceful enough about the existential consequences of this race, including during a press conference on Friday when asked about Trump.  He had better start if he doesn’t want to hand the White House keys over to the Donald.

The Media.  The media entertainment complex is the most unforgivable culprit for giving Trump 99% of the political airtime simply because it amuses consumers the most.  In a truly delicious irony, it is the media that would be the foremost victim of a Trump presidency, as we can expect the industry to lose a great amount of freedom, protection, and access to Trump and his cabinet, such as Treasury Secretary Kim Kardashian.

Trump has already encouraged hatred and violence towards journalists on multiple occasions and promised to ban military officials from speaking to the media.  He said TV anchor Megyn Kelly was on the rag.  His campaign manager manhandled a female reporter and the boss defended it.  Trump kicked out a Hispanic journalist from his rally for asking a question.  Supporters routinely beat people up in his name, and he hasn’t even yet held a real position of government authority in his life.  His supporters send death threats to journalists they disagree with.  Just imagine the very real possibilities if Trump had enforcement powers.  Trump would make his hero Vladimir Putin proud; we should not be surprised to see media figures harmed by Trump’s henchmen or even thrown in jail for writing something he doesn’t like.   The warning patterns are out there for all to see.

In order to make a cheap short-term buck, the media has not only failed us, they have put themselves in harm’s way.  Trump has been covered as a serious candidate for fun and games and the reality show audience is entertained, instead of witnessing a proper vetting.  The media has planted the seeds for the erosion of their own freedoms.  The gigantic egos of media figures have blinded them to the delicacy of their own position and the ability to continue practicing their craft at all.  And I’m, um, sort of sensitive to this particular issue.

Next Stop, Ego Train?  All of this is to say, there is plenty of blame to go around up and down the ego train.  With Republican attempts to stop Trump’s constant march forward already a miserable failure in our rearview mirror, the duty to spare the country and the globe from a Trump presidency now falls on the dislikable shoulders of Hillary Clinton.  She is going to need all the help she can get.  Bernie Sanders is grappling mightily with his own ego trip, which has lasted long enough.  This is war.  Hillary underestimated  Obama for much of 2008, Bernie Sanders for much of the Democratic primary, and is doing the same with Trump in 2016.  Surrogates including Obama and others of all political stripes will need to set aside their own agendas and get with the program.  It’s serious now.  This is the election of our lifetimes.



Will the US and India Form the Strongest Naval Partnership in the World? Part 3

This is Part 3 of a special 3-part series on US-India Naval cooperation being published by usindiamonitor, timed in coordination with US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s critical voyage to India on April 10th, 2016.  Part 1 focused on the background and history.  Part 2 covered the short-term outcomes from Ash Carter’s 3-day trip to India in the context of April 2016 current events.  Part 3 will project what the future may hold for the two Navies.

The Indian Navy has gotten pretty good at nailing pirates. via NDTV.com

What does the future hold for US-India naval relations?  Will the two countries work ever more closely together on the high seas to protect commercial lanes, slay pirates, capture terrorists, rescue hostages, and keep the peace generally?  It’s hard to say at this time, especially accounting for the domestic political realities of both America and India.  Following this bizarre election year, nobody is confident in what a President Trump, Cruz, Clinton, or Sanders might bring to defense policy, not just in relation to India.  It’s possible that US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will be replaced early next year.  Meanwhile, India’s fervent anti-US voices are making themselves heard right now.  The two Navies, and two military establishments in general, may continue  floating adrift from one another as they have done for most of the last 7 decades.

However, a very different narrative is percolating after Carter’s trip to India from April 10-13.  The United States and India, if they so choose, could not only tie up to accomplish all the above strategic outcomes, they could also potentially form the world’s strongest naval partnership in history.  Such a route would be a dramatic sea change from current course, and it could quite possibly launch during the partnership of Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar while they are both serving.

Carter’s trip resulted in more forward progress than expected, certainly more than any other delegation in recent memory that the two nations have sent to one another.  Below we will examine the specifics and what they mean.


Carter and Parrikar inspect India’s aircraft carrier

The Pentagon’s India Tiger Team  Ashton Carter is the first SECDEF to create an “India Rapid Reaction Cell” at the Pentagon specifically focused on advancing cooperation with India on research, development, and acquisition under the aegis of the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), an outcome of President Obama’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi in India in January 2015.  This is the only such country-specific cell in operation at the Pentagon.  As a result of its work before and during Carter’s trip, there were a host of wide-ranging collaboration goals ready to be discussed on aircraft carrier co-development, F-18 fighter jet joint production, sales of US arms rarely shared with other nations, such as Predator drones, and planning for US defense contractors to participate in India’s new Make in India program, which encourages companies from around the world to invest in Indian manufacturing.  Participation in Make in India by the US military could be of benefit to both nations and also others.

Every single one of these actions would be unprecedented, and the fact that they were discussed in detail during the delegation is a big deal.

Preliminary Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement  Any closer cooperation between the US military and Indian military will require a large number of baby steps- or baby swim strokes.  One of those is a logistics agreement, which would allow the two governments to share military bases for repairs, rest, refueling, or resupply, while also sharing digital mapping protocols and advanced lines of communication.  There has never been such an agreement.  The United States has signed them with its full military allies, a status that India does not share at this time.  For example, Carter visited the Philippines following his trip to India, and the two nations this month inked an agreement for the US military to use five Filipino bases for major operations.

USS Carl Vinson is being refueled by INS Shakti during Exercise Malabar.  US Navy photo

India has expressed concern with these types of logistics sharing for several years, especially balking at being forced to accommodate US assets and troops at Indian bases.  Carter assured his Indian hosts that India would have the right to approve or refuse each specific logistics request, initially expected for operations such as disaster relief.  The wording has been changed accordingly, a concession only being offered to India.  If a US-India agreement is signed, which may happen in the next few weeks despite serious Indian domestic opposition, a new door would open that will affect the naval forces the most, especially their ability to work with each other more.  Naval assets are the most important that the US military has in Asia.  We have shown that the two navies are in the vanguard of the US-India relationship through Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, but a logistics agreement would be next-level.

Misgivings Amidships  The best way to gauge the importance of US-India military discussions is the responses they receive from the usual suspects.  An article in Chinese state-owned Global Times in response to Carter’s trip stated that “India wants to be the most beautiful woman, wooed by both US and China.”  This show of bravado, and China’s attempt to equate itself with the United States, is clearly a sign that Chinese thinkers are worried about US-India cooperation on logistics, which they are quick to note has languished on the table for years.

Pakistani commentators rang the alarm, on cue. “The US alliance with India has obvious and significant negative implications for Pakistan’s security,” writes former Pakistan UN Ambassador Munir Akram, who waxes quite eloquently about unfair treatment by India and the United States towards Pakistan without mentioning the country’s outsize influence by the military in government, and ineffectiveness in controlling terrorism despite billions of dollars in unconditional US military and civilian aid.

On a different tack, India’s cadre of Non-Alignment Warriors such as Atul Bhardwaj believe America is trying to throw another new colonial yoke onto India: “India’s strategy must address the issue of freedom from Western thought and question imperial alignments ingrained in such defense agreements.”  Some Indian thinkers do not take into account the rapid changes happening in the world and their effect on the calculus faced by Indian leaders today.  The British Raj is actually over.

There is no better proof that the latest US-India military developments are significant in nature than bravado in the Chinese media, fear-mongering and umbrage in Pakistani media, and anti-imperial rants in Indian media.  All while the ADD-addled US media-entertainment complex is too busy covering the adolescent behaviors of the 2016 election or potential infidelity in the Jay-Z marriage to Beyonce involving a half-Indian designer named Rachel Roy- the closest you will get to US-India “relations” making a splash in mainstream media.

The United States political, diplomatic, and military establishments have all grown bored with Pakistan’s games, foremost among them the harboring of Osama Bin Laden and countenance for the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai, both with some unknowable level of Pakistani official involvement.  As the United States troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Pakistan’s leverage in holding back US cooperation with India will also proportionally diminish as the major factor in US-Pakistan relations will become keeping nukes out of terrorists’ hands, which is no fun.  I love Pakistan, but they won’t have much of a say in this matter.

As for China, that country can still avoid becoming a rogue state on a much conjectured-about collision course with the United States and its allies in Asia over Taiwan or islands in the South China Sea.  The epic power struggle between the Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army are artificially inflating tensions with Japan, India, ASEAN, and the United States.  China can decide to participate in more military exercises with the United States, as they are already being invited to do in the RIMPAC joint naval exercise in Hawaii.  Person to person contact could help lessen tensions.  Even joining Exercise Malabar with India, the United States, and Japan would be a solid show of goodwill while helping reduce hostility.  Ultimately, just like the United States in the Mideast desert, China is blundering around in the water.  Beijing machinations are actually pushing most of its neighbors toward the United States and in India’s case, kicking and screaming the entire way.

Russian jet “buzzes” American ship

US-India military cooperation could help reduce flareups with Russia, which is quite clearly challenging NATO and the US with aggressive military maneuvers in Eastern Europe, Alaska, and Syria, including against the US Navy.  That’s because India is probably Russia’s best friend outside of former USSR satellites- and India’s good offices with Russia perhaps represent the world’s last best chance to prevent a conflagration between Moscow and Washington in a bad re-run of the Cuban Missile Crisis, or worse.  This will test Narendra Modi’s diplomatic chops to the maximum, but he is certainly more capable of pulling Putin’s ear than any other world leader.

What Happens Now?  India has remained non-aligned for almost 70 years.  That means it has not had military allies despite three wars and an additional skirmish with Pakistan, nor in an embarrassingly pathetic war effort against China.  India maintained relations with both the United States and USSR throughout the Cold War, buying arms from both, but not officially taking sides. India also has massive territorial disputes and the constant threat of hostilities with both Pakistan and China.

The potential partners could not be more different in outlook.  Mysteriously spiritual India overthrew the British using Gandhian non-violence, while America became the land of the free and home of the brave by butchering the British up lovely.  The United States has maintained formal military allies around the world for many decades.  It won two World Wars and would win the next one if forced to.  It leads NATO in Europe.  It has major bases as part of that construct, and also other ones throughout Asia and the Middle East.  Americans have been spoiled when it comes to security.  Threats outside of terrorism are far away from US shores, and the United States has a military presence close to all of its threats around the world.  As President George W. Bush said, “we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.”  The opposite of the intended effect may be happening, but that’s why we are where we are today.

The superpower will need to understand the trepidation on the other side.  For India to enter a real logistics agreement now would have consequences both domestically and internationally.  It would mean, finally, the beginning of the end of India’s non-aligned stance, built in order to remain free to buy and sell with everyone, retaining ideological independence, while trying not to threaten anyone beyond its borders.  India has been comfortable mostly coasting under the radar.

But there is an upside that will become harder and harder to ignore as time goes on, not just for India, but for the world.  India’s window of opportunity isn’t unlimited: the next US administration could engage in several behaviors that India would find offensive, such as invading another country, or cozying back up to Pakistan, or withdrawing its technology transfer offers.

In the 21st century, the biggest threats to global peace will continue to come from authoritarian regimes who will need to act tough in order to cling to power such as North Korea, Russia, and China, or non-state terrorists with a scorched-earth agenda.  A smooth-running US-India naval partnership with deep reach into the (fast melting) Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and Bay of Bengal would be a formidable force between the world’s two largest democracies on, above, and under the water toward addressing any threat.  It would in fact be the strongest naval alliance in the history of the world, as a number of friendly democratic nations from NATO, to Japan and Australia would be providing backup.  And it’s now within reach, if India decides to jump on board.

India needs US technology transfer and a ramp up in training and naval assets in order to become a global power.  The United States needs Indian ports and logistical cooperation in order to successfully complete its Asia pivot.  The two, in concert, could help maintain peace on the high seas for the rest of this century. Or not.

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s Pivotal India Trip, in Videos

April 2016 brought a most remarkable trip to India by a US Secretary of Defense in recent memory.  Ashton Carter is the most well-versed SECDEF we’ve seen on matters related to India, as the videos below will show.  On a substantive level, the two sides talked about surprisingly advanced levels of technology sharing, weapons co-production,  and logistical cooperation.  These types of discussions never happened before.  Washington is clearly trying to push further than New Delhi seems comfortable with, and Carter stands out for remaining assertive, yet understanding and patient through it all in recognition of India’s lively internal political processes.

The USS Blue Ridge docked in Indian harbors in time for Carter’s arrival.  Early in the trip Carter gave a speech to the sailors and marines aboard the 7th fleet’s command ship, focused on why the United States was working so closely with India on security issues.  The most memorable part was when Carter told them, “Our militaries grew up separately, our technologies grew up separately… now when we want them to work together, we have to try to get the gears to match up, and that’s not automatic; we have to work on it…that’s why I’m here, that’s why you’re here, but it’s a winning hand we’re playing out here… remember, when you look back, in the years ahead, and say ‘I remember that, I was part of the beginning of that’ – you will, I promise you, in the future be thinking exactly that.”

The following clips show Carter visiting Old Goa, including a temple and a church, guided by Parrikar who was formerly Chief Minister of that state.

The following two interviews on NDTV show that Carter is very much in his depth while talking of the US-India relationship, and many other subjects.

Carter was also in attendance at a repatriation ceremony for the remains of World War II KIA, finally unearthed in recent days in Arunachal Pradesh.

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