US - India Strategic Partnership: Frustration in India for not acting against Pakistan and support against China

US - India Strategic Partnership: Frustration in India for not acting against Pakistan and support against China
BEIJING - There are doubts about the India-US strategic partnership within India. Despite obvious improvement of India-US relations and growth of their partnership, some Indians believe India's accommodation of US diplomatic policies has not yielded benefits. Alleged threats from Pakistan and China have not eased. 

The US has Pakistan under tight control, but no actions have been taken to stop Pakistan from fighting proxy wars and terrorism. Until today, the US has not helped to secure for India a permanent member seat at the UN Security Council. The US, while pressuring India to cripple its nuclear arsenal, will only compromise on an expanded Indian presence in the Indian Ocean under its sphere of influence. 

Third, India doubts whether the US truly intends to contain China. Relations among major powers are not all a zero-sum game or pure cooperation, but in fact a mixture of conflict and collaboration. 

Although the US does seek to contain China which is also its closest economic partner, the China-US economic relationship is beyond comparison with that of India and the US. So there is naturally both conflict and closeness in political and economic interaction between China and the US. India grew jealous when G2 was invented. 

US President Donald Trump is expected to visit China in November, which will inevitably trigger India's speculations about Sino-US relations and make India calculate the real intention of the US toward India. 

Fourth, the Indian government cannot afford to throw itself into the arms of the US. India aims to become a global power and so treasures its independence as both a sign of dignity and diplomatic strategy. India has been trying to benefit from cooperation with the US while avoiding a close partnership. Once India is wholeheartedly dependant on the US, then its dream of being a global power will become a joke. 

In this sense, India's dignity and vanity is an obstacle for deeper defense collaboration with the US. The US also hopes to sign agreements on each and every item of defense cooperation, but India worries that too many agreements will give the world the impression that India has become America's sidekick. 

Fifth, the US is not totally satisfied with its cooperation with India in economic and regional affairs and so exercises vigilance against India. Actually the US will never be satisfied with India until it decides to be its pawn. 

Take the US attitude toward Iran as an example. The US deploys extreme pressure and sanctions while India still needs energy from Iran. 

Under the Trump administration, despite enhanced defense collaboration, Trump asks India to strike a balance in the India-US economic and trade relationship, which is obviously beyond India's capability. Some in the US believe India may develop into a threat like China and so they do not go all out on defense cooperation, especially the transfer of advanced technologies. 

Last, conflicts in defense technology cooperation may also prevent collaboration going deeper. The US seeks to influence arms buyers through training, maintenance and even control of core defense technologies whereas India aims for a transfer of military technology. The division is quite obvious, and thus another obstacle. 

With obstacles ahead, India-US defense cooperation will be no different from the past: much cry and little wool.