Do you suppose the various ministers in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet know each other? That they talk to each other?
News stories like this one make me wonder.
Way back in 1995, India and the United States signed a military cooperation agreement that supposedly broke the Cold War paradigm, and “ushered in” a new era of close relations between the armed forces of both countries. That remained pretty much on paper, till July 2005 when, in the wake of Manmohan Singh’s love fest with George W Bush at the White House, the two countries among other line items decided to step up the pace of military exercises. Since then, there’s been a flood of them [back in October 2006 I tagged along on one], and Hillary Clinton during her recent visit to India signed agreements to step the pace up even further.
Hence, my puzzlement over this:
Leaving the US flummoxed, the Indian Navy pulled out of an amphibious exercise with American forces in Japan last week after it failed to get clearance from the Defence Ministry. …
While no explanation was given by the Defence Ministry for holding back the clearance, this is not the first time that Indo-US defence interactions have been called off by the Ministry this year.
At least four exercises, including the Okinawa war game, have been called off at the last minute this year despite being scheduled well in advance. In all cases, while the armed forces had committed troops and equipment, lack of permission from the Ministry led to cancellations.
In one case, the US even expressed dismay as it suffered a loss of several million dollars due to the last-minute cancellation of an exercise between the US Marines and Indian Navy. The exercise, which was scheduled to take place in India weeks before the Lok Sabha elections, was called off after troops and specialised equipment had been committed by the US. Another exercise was called off after the elections took place, sending conflicting signals.
Makes you wonder if the governmental left hand knows what its right hand is up to.