US commander seeks to supplant Russia’s influence - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

US commander seeks to supplant Russia’s influence

Admiral Davidson, likely next PACOM chief, sees “historic opportunity” in India

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 19th April 18

Admiral Philip S Davidson, who President Donald Trump has chosen to replace Admiral Harry B Harris as the top US military commander responsible for the Indo-Pacific region suggested the US should replace Russia as India’s premier security partner.

Asked in his confirmation hearings on Tuesday by the US Senate Armed Services Committee about what he envisaged – military sales, or military training – as the key tool for engaging India, Davidson stated: “India’s military has long relied on the former Soviet Union for some of their technology and training. We have to break down that historical background, to a certain extent. Break down is not the correct word, but we willing to work with that so we can move forward with India.

As Pacific Command (PACOM) chief over the last three years, Harris has assiduously cultivated India as a military partner for helping contain Chinese expansionism. However, his likely successor, Davidson, has gone even further.

Davidson’s statement comes just days after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman snubbed Russian arms exhibitors at Defexpo 2018 in Chennai. As this newspaper reported (April 15, “Russia rues its declining role as arms supplier to India”) Sitharaman turned her back on Russian exhibits, ignoring them as she strolled past, looking instead at the Israeli exhibits across the aisle.

Questioned in Washington D.C. by the Senate panel about which Indo-Pacific countries he regarded as “most important”, Davidson mentioned America’s “five treaty allies in the Pacific” – Japan, [South] Korea, Australia, Philippines and Thailand – but then switched tack to India. “Of partners, I think the historic opportunity for the United States going forward is probably with India. That would be a relationship that I intend to work on with great energy”, he stated.

Davidson was also questioned about his views on the “quadrilateral, which Senate Committee described as “a loose coalition between the United States, Japan, Australia and India”.

Davidson responded: “I agree there is some opportunity there, Senator. Absolutely, to come together on issues where our interests converge.”

“I will seek to prioritize increasing maritime security cooperation, expanding the military-to-military relationship across all Services, concluding key foundational agreements, facilitating greater Indian contributions to Afghanistan, and deepening defense cooperation,” Davidson said.

As a navy officer, Davidson made his worry clear about China’s growing capability in submarine warfare, which threatened to erode the US Navy’s “perishable lead”.

“They have new submarines on both the ballistic missile side and on the attack submarine side and they’re achieving numbers in the build of those submarines as well”, Davidson stated.

Asked by Senate panel members whether cyber espionage was responsible for China’s growing submarine capabilities, Davidson was blunt: “I believe they are stealing technology in just about every domain and trying to use it to their advantage”, he said.

With no apparent hurdles to Davidson’s confirmation as the next commander of PACOM – the Hawaii-based military command whose responsibilities sprawl across the Pacific Ocean, the seas around China and much of the Indian Ocean, including India – he is likely to take over command from Harris in the middle of 2018.


  1. Off course! This the admiral wants India to be allied to the United States.
    This is all about sheer US self interest - And we, lacking long term strategic vision, might well do exactly that.
    And naturally Some of our Harvard returned, Business Standard readers, think joining up with the US is just cool too.
    The Indian lumpen twitterriat, and most of the Indian chattering classes agree, the US of A Rocks!
    Such is America’s overwhelming soft power!
    But Pay attention!
    1. The Chinks will be the next superpower.
    2. They are our neighbours.
    3. We must not get into an arms race or try and compete with China, we will lose
    4. Make friends with our biggest neighbour and focus on our own countries economic development.
    5. Join The Road & Belt, it is somebody else’s idea, but it might lead to good things for all.
    6. China is set to be the Middle Kingdom. They consider themselves the centre of the world.
    7. We will never be the centre of the world, we can’t even build enough toilets.
    We must tell this US Admiral he can go and F#&* himself.
    India, Uber ales
    Jai Hind

  2. India needs to act fast as it approaches the catastrophic comsquences of years of failed governance.
    Our resources need to be invested in education and lifting our population out of poverty and therein lies our security.
    It is obscene that this Admiral feels that India should be pulled into an alliance which is all about US hegemony in the Pacific and the South China Sea. India can not afford to get involved in the American game.
    Out security will be obtained by diplomacy and by the pursuit of peace and a vision of achieving (with our neighbours) collective economic prosperity.
    The aim of this Admiral it seems is to destabilise and worsen Indias relations with China and drive us into a perpetual arms race with weapons bought from the USA - at the cost of our undernourished and uneducated population.
    Why not give our American Admiral a drive through one of our thousands of slums in our teeming cities, and ask him.
    “Do you really think should join your warlike alliances and buy your weapons by cutting the stomachs of our Children”.

  3. We live in interesting times ! We need to be strong on our own. Just being non aligned is not enough, it could mean you get screwed by all.
    Even the powerful and thriving Vijayanagara empire took barely 5 years to collapse once defeated militarily .
    Hope we develop a lot of local capability , may not be state of art. Where not possible be intelligent and buy.

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