In 2005, a “New Framework for the India-U.S. Defense Relationship” was signed by both nations. This document and efforts in ensuing years to create a strategic partnership have received bipartisan support in the United States. It is time to augment this cooperation. In addition to joint military training, there is substantial space for military support and development.
What is not commonly known is that India is one of only six countries that possesses nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs); India launched its first SSBN in 2009 and its second in 2017. India also operates an aircraft carrier, which was originally built in 1987 for the Soviet Navy, and is completing its own indigenous design.
The current plan by India to construct nuclear-powered attack submarines, advanced corvettes, and other vessels, is essential for regional defense.
The Obama Administration recognized the importance of India’s pursuit of sea power. The “2015 Framework for the U.S.-India Defense” committed both nations to collaboration regarding aircraft carriers and jet propulsion technology. This initiative built upon the 2009 sale of eight P-8I anti-submarine warfare aircraft to India, which marked an important advance in military commonality. Four more planes were later ordered, and the purchase of an additional ten is contemplated. The 2017 Department of State approval of the sale of the MQ-9B armed drone, which, as of 2020, has grown into a multi-billion-dollar procurement of 30 unpiloted vehicles, to be split among India’s armed forces, is indicative of future military initiatives that must be prioritized.
Though large, India’s Navy requires modernization, with many ships in need of replacement. Enhanced Navy-to-Navy development, procurement, and operations should therefore be a vanguard to a much closer military relationship between the countries. Complicating this embrace is America’s need to balance our relationship with Pakistan and to help ensure that India’s military capabilities support stability.
Pakistan was a member of both SEATO (the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty) and CENTO (the Central Treaty Organization, which was comprised of Middle-Eastern states and the United Kingdom; America was foundational to the organization’s creation, but never formalized its participation). Pakistan is also the recipient of renewed U.S. military assistance.
Through the creation of SEATO in 1954, and the Bagdad Pact (later known as CENTO) in 1955, the United States tried to recreate NATO in other areas to contain communist power. Both organizations were failures; SEATO was dissolved in 1977, CENTO, in 1979. The United States is party to a non-binding security agreement with Australia and New Zealand, called the ANZUS Treaty. It has suffered severe internal disruptions and, unlike NATO, does not possess an integrated command structure nor designated forces from each country.
Consideration, therefore, should be given to conducting bilateral or multilateral talks to frame a new alliance structure, which could check the Communist Party of China’s escalatory or revanchist actions. India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and America could form the core of a powerful defensive alliance. As with NATO, such an organization could, over time, expand its membership to include other states, such as Indonesia.
These developmental talks should be considered an outgrowth of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, which is held at the ministerial-level between the United States, Australia, Japan, and India. These consultations were first initiated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan in 2007. They must now evolve into a more formal means of strategic and military cooperation for the noted states.
Two other militarily related initiatives must be pursued immediately. Freedom of navigation passages and exercises need to be accelerated through the waters that China claims falsely, with maximum U.S. naval power expressed; in this, we should include, when possible, ships of the British, the Australian, and the Japanese Navies.
To promote stability and deterrence, strong consideration should be given to the sale of F-35s to Taiwan due to the PRC’s deployment of the advanced, fifth-generation Chengdu J-20 long-range fighter, which possesses some stealth characteristics. This transfer could follow the Department of State’s recent approval for the sale of 66 F-16Vs to Taiwan; alternatively, such a sale could serve as a substitute for some or all of these updated F-16s.
- Create a threat response capability for biological events that is like our Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST).
- Establish B Teams to provide divergent views to that of the bureaucracy about evolving threats and emergencies.
- Implement a series of codewords, for a range of biological events, to speed countermeasures.
- Work with Islamic nations to stop China’s systematic abuse of Chinese Muslims.
- Enhance diplomatic and other efforts to stem the PRC’s advance by coordinating closely with Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
- Embrace India as part of a core American coalition; coordinate with India’s military.
- Seek to establish a new alliance structure to flank and to overmatch the PRC; work with India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the Republic of Korea on this proposal.
- Conduct augmented freedom of navigation transits in waters that China wrongly claims.
- Determine Taiwan’s requirement for a fifth-generation fighter; consider the sale of F-35s to that island nation.
The Communist Party of China, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, has shown no signs of introspection or retrenchment. Its quest to dominate Hong Kong completely is in direct contravention of its prior commitments. China has broken the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a treaty between itself and Britain, which designated Hong Kong to be a Special Administration Region of China, in which Hong Kong’s capitalism and its freedoms, derived from British rule, could not be changed until 2047. This treaty was filed with the United Nations in 1985 after its ratification by the PRC and by Britain.
Elements within the PRC have considered claiming all of Mount Everest, though the mountain’s summit lies astride Tibet’s border with Nepal. More recently, China’s media has argued for the future incorporation of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Kyrgyz tribes were overwhelmed by the Qing dynasty in the 18th century. However, parts of Kyrgyzstan were ceded to Russia in the late 19th century, with the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic obtaining full control in 1919.
The Dzungar Khanate, which fought the Kazakhs, was destroyed by soldiers of the Qing dynasty in the 18th century. Through this abhorrent campaign of annihilation, part of what is modern Kazakhstan was held by China’s past dynastic empire. Following Russia’s advances, the Bolsheviks’ Red Army occupied Kazakhstan in 1920. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan gained full sovereignty after the fall of the USSR: each declaring their independence from that empire in 1991. Afterward, Kazakhstan negotiated its present border, which is demarcated by a treaty with China. Kyrgyzstan also attained a border agreement with Beijing.
It is sobering to contemplate that any element inside the PRC would propose annexing, through unspecified means, these two independent nations. Halting the PRC’s encroachment and its attempted domination in Central Asia must be deemed critical to world security.
The problem is not the Chinese people, nor their proud heritage that stretches back thousands of years; it is communism. We must, therefore, challenge Xi Jinping’s governing principles that are codified in “Xi Jinping Thought,” for, in their effect, they substantiate one-man rule, which is inimical to individual initiative. Remarkably, they even appear untrue to the principles of Chinese communism and thus betray the country as just another despotic state.
Xi Jinping’s duplicity and his malfeasance during this present pandemic have brought deserved international condemnation upon China and its communist rule. In so doing, Xi Jinping’s actions are reminiscent of the dishonor that Nikita Khrushchev caused the Soviet Union when he took his shoe in hand and banged it upon a table during the 902nd Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in 1960. If powers in China remove Xi Jinping from office, this act alone would be insufficient to recalibrate relations to a point of normalcy; concrete remediation by the PRC must follow.
The Chinese threat must not be misrepresented, for our emphasis must be to disrupt the many caustic elements of China’s geopolitical strategy. We must move to sanction the PRC. If America had done a tenth of what China has done to the world, even given the most charitable view of their acts, the PRC would do anything to make us pay.
If we are not willing to act and to act decisively, we are leaving the field and we are leaving it to an unhindered, unremorseful, and ravenous state with a degree of relative economic power that we have not faced since the War of 1812. We dare not marginalize this crisis, for to do so is to admit defeat. This pandemic has almost certainly uncovered treachery by the PRC in its pursuit of world domination by whatever means necessary; the pandemic did not have to be planned, it is enough that the communists seized on it, took advantage of it, and had special knowledge of its origin.
For deterrence to be established so that a future malevolent actor is given notice of our capacities both to endure and to respond, America must exact a high price from the People's Republic of China for their patent deceitfulness and carnage. In this cause, we must seek the support of all the free nations of the world.