A recent report by an influential US thinktank has recommended establishing American military and intelligence facilities on Indian soil
recent report by an influential US thinktank has recommended establishing American military and intelligence facilities on Indian soil.
The report titled ‘Reorienting US Pakistan Strategy: From Af-Pak to Asia’ by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) states:
“In light of Pakistan’s geographic location, India is the obvious U.S. alternative to Afghanistan. In recent years, Washington and New Delhi have taken steps to expand their counterterror cooperation with the intention of building defenses against future attacks like the Lashkar-e-Taiba strike on Mumbai in November 2008. However, given persistent terrorist threats and Pakistan’s clear lack of capacity (and, in some cases, will) to tackle them, Washington would need to ramp up its efforts in India considerably, perhaps even to the point of establishing military and intelligence facilities on Indian soil.”
The report, authored by Daniel S. Markey (CFR senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia) recommends:
“Starting with the national security adviser to the prime minister of India, senior U.S. national security officials should begin to discuss options for significantly expanded counterterror cooperation with their Indian counterparts, up to and including the possibility of basing U.S. military and/or intelligence operatives in India to address Pakistan-based terrorist threats in a post-Afghanistan context. These conversations would be politically sensitive, so they should begin only after the next Indian government is elected in the spring. If diplomatic discussions make progress, the Pentagon should work with members of the U.S. intelligence community to develop specific implementation plans for on-the-ground operations in India.”
But the report also states that the plan may not actually work given the reluctance of the Indian political leadership to get into any “binding alliances”.
“Yet any such plan would immediately run up against India’s lingering ambivalence about tighter ties with the United States. A declared U.S. military/intelligence presence in India, even if directed against Pakistan-based security threats, is for now a political nonstarter in New Delhi, where Indian leaders jealously guard their freedom from binding alliances,” the report states.
The report recommends that: “To prepare for a likely scenario in which neither Afghanistan nor India offers adequate basing opportunities for U.S. military and intelligence operations directed against Pakistan-based security threats, the Pentagon and CIA should identify and develop alternative sites, most likely on the Arabian Peninsula and at sea, where such efforts can be sustained and expanded as necessary over the long run. The cost of these bases, while considerable, would be less than retaining facilities in a violence-plagued Afghanistan and less likely to arouse Pakistani fears than bases in India.”