A watchful, critical eye on US troops, training, and “war games” in South Asia

Revolutionary Democratic Front:  “Resolution on US troops in South Asian countries including India” – April 2012

The growing military ties of the Indian state with the number one imperialist power in the world, US, has resulted in joint military exercises and ‘war games’ in recent years. One such training, codenamed ‘Exercise Malabar’, has been made a regular event to be held by the armies and navies of the US and India. This year, Exercise Malabar was conducted by Indian and American armed forces from April 9 to 16 in the Bay of Bengal as well as Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is also in common knowledge that US Special Forces have trained Indian army in ‘counter-insurgency’ warfare and ‘counter-terrorism’ in the so-called Jungle Warfare Schools in Kanker, Chhattisgarh and Vairengte, Mizoram.

Of late a number of defence agreements have been signed by the governments of the two countries. More agreements are in the process of finalisation, including the Logistic Supply Agreement (LSA), Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). The so-called ‘India-Japan-US Strategic Dialogue’ has also been set up with a similar agenda. This shows the growing military alignment of the Indian state with the US and its strategic partner Israel, with multi-billion dollar defense deals with US and Israeli arms manufacturers. India’s defense budget has also been scaled up exponentially in order to satisfy the needs of the imperialist economy spearheaded by the US.

Since 2001, India’s defence spending has risen by more than 60 per cent to $36 billion in 2011 – 2012. Between the years 2007 and 2011, Indian state has signed $35.6 billion worth of defence contracts. The largest share of this spending has gone to the US, the latter now becoming the largest defence supplier to India. American companies have received $12 billion in contracts from India – a 34 per cent share of all defense spending since 2007. Private American companies closely connected to the imperialist ruling class of the US such as Rapischen, Taxtron, BOD, Lockheed Martin, Northcorp, Motorola, GE etc. has benefitted from these contracts. All this is being done in the name of ‘anti-terror cooperation’ and intelligence sharing.

While these agreements and deals have been made by the Indian state quite openly and with the pride of being chosen as the primary agent serving the US imperialist interests, certain other agreements have been made in utmost secrecy, aimed at bolstering the imperialist designs and geo-strategic stranglehold of the US in South Asia. Indian ruling classes are thereby performing the same role in South Asia which is played by Israel in West Asia in order to further US economic and geo-strategic interests.

The recent declaration in March 2012 by the US commander Admiral Robert Willard in charge of USPACOM (US Pacific Command) that ‘Pacific Assist Teams’ of the US Army’s Special Forces have been stationed in South Asian countries, namely Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India, has exposed the extent to which servile Indian rulers have gone in order to facilitate imperialist aggression in the region. The commander revealed that the US is “working very closely with India with regard to their counter-terrorism capabilities… assisting them in terms of their internal counter-terror and counterinsurgency challenges.” Though the Indian Government has vehemently denied the presence of the US army in India by claiming the news to be “factually incorrect”, this exposure from a high-ranked US army official leaves no one in doubt that a new phase of imperialist aggression on the people of the region is well under preparation in connivance with the Indian ruling classes. It shows that US imperialism no longer wants to conduct its wars only through the armed forces of the comprador ruling classes, but is preparing to directly enter wars of imperialist aggression with its own military might. Moreover, it is widely known though hardly acknowledged by the Indian state that US military and intelligence specialists have for long been in Chhattisgarh to oversee and ‘advise’ the Indian armed forces engaged in Operation Green Hunt – its war on the people of central and eastern India as well as the revolutionary movement gaining strength in this region.

US is taking these steps in order to mitigate the growing crisis in the imperialist world economy, intensifying inter-imperialist rivalries and the upsurge of democratic, militant and revolutionary mass movements all across the world, and particularly in South Asia. In such a situation, the Indian ruling classes are vying to take the place of the most loyal lackey of US imperialism in the region by offering to play the role of the custodian of its ‘sphere of influence’. Under the garb of countering the perceived ‘threat from China’ and in pursuing its ambition to be recognised as a ‘super power’ by US imperialism, the reactionary Indian ruling classes are not only subjecting the people of the subcontinent to a more intense phase of imperialist exploitation and aggression, but also providing a reliable base for imperialist wars launched or planned on the people of countries like Afghanistan and Iran. It is only by strengthening and expanding the revolutionary movement and uniting with the anti imperialist forces world over that this military nexus between US imperialism, Israel and its lackeys in the Indian state can be confronted and defeated. RDF resolves to mobilise the people of the subcontinent against the growing imperialist stranglehold in connivance with the Indian ruling classes.

April 2012

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