I have always admired Sandeep Unnithan work but I have some major issues with this article:
1) The central argument is that US will never part with sophisticated nuclear sub tech (NST), because they have never done so in the past. They just decided otherwise. confirmation bias?
2)Tweak1: Nevertheless, they will never do so for India. The same argument was prevalent for civilian nuclear cooperation before the Indo-US nuclear deal. We got there eventually. Inter. politics often springs surprises for naysayers. Just wait for the right condtns & motivations
3) Even whn AUKUS suggests change in US intent, and DC agrees to provide tech support, it will never materialize as with 2008 nuclear deal. May be. But that helped India access the global civ. nuc. mrkt. Same with nuc. sub mrktplace. Systemic effects of US decisions are huge
4) Quotes a US defence attache that DC will never provide top of the line tech. But our folly to ask for the latest tech in any case. No state does that? Did Soviet Union and then Russia provide top of the line NST to India?
4 Cont) No, they didn't. But we settled for far less. Because first you don't need the best and second, military diffusion is evolutionary. Get a foot in the door first and then claim the room.
Now substantive facts
5) India's nuc sub prog is often considered to be either an entirely indigenous effort or externally aided by Russia. US is often seen as a spoilsport. Correct version: Bhabha started the naval nuclear propulsion prg. on a belief and hope of USAEC aid.
6) Sarabhai even got USAEC to review the first parametric studies done by RRD at BARC in 1967-68. Two factors however worked against initial cooperation.
6 Cont) First, rather thn anything else, US NST policy was single-handedly defined by Rickover who hated coop. with others BCZ it created unnecessary distraction for his project and second bcz he was extrmly. posesive. of the tech. Only Mountbatten could could sugarcoat him.
6 Cont) He even snapped NATO allies asking for help. Second, the nonproliferation norms did the rest.
7) US policy towards India's nuke sub prog changed substantially between 1980s and 2000s. In 1980s, Reagan went after Gorbachev to rescind the lease of Chakra. In fact, the Soviets had grave misgivings internally. Reagan admin also pressured the Soviets not to extend the lease.
8) In 2000s, on the other hand, when real stuff happened between Moscow and Delhi, US turned a blind eye. Conditions under which decs. are made and who makes them matter in INP. New Delhi has to roll with the dice when situation is unfav. It shd also capitalise when it is prop.
9) No one did India favour by providing tech. In statecraft, emotional baggage weighs one down. Russians extracted their pound and so will the French. You cant even exercise strategic autonomy if you are not cold-blooded in this arena.
10) Lastly, Indian military has always preferred Western equipment over others. India's decision to purchase conventional submarines from Moscow was reaction of both a jilted lover and the response of a customer with no vendors. That however forced India into a long dependency.
11) Last, nothing can be better than indigenous tech. But dreamwork in defense production does not take you far. Pragtism. suggests to take whatever is available and build on it. Otherwise, remain stuck. Notwithout reason India's nuc sub prg was motionless for almost 20 years.
But again, I have always learnt a lot from @SandeepUnnithan

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More from @Yogeshjoshidec1

18 Sep
Why is Paris so angry about AUKUS?

Yes, losing the Australian deal and few billion dollar sucks but there are bigger worries:
1) US has not opened up the sub market 2) it may also translate to arms transfer across military technologies. 3) signaled to the rest of the world that it is not bound by yesteryears commitments to norms and vague notions of regional stability.
2) Market run by a few monopoly vendors now faces competition from a player which has both the tech and money but was hamstrung by its normative commitments. Not a great day for market leaders.
Read 7 tweets
18 Sep
Few thoughts on AUCUS:

1) For the 1st time since the US helped the Brits in nuclear sub tech beginning in late 1950s, US has made a decision to share it's nuc propulsion tech with any other state.
2) Rickover agreed to help Brits bcz of his cultural affinities; but declined to help Even other NATO members such as Italy and Netherlands. Nonproliferation norms did the rest.
3) US decision has finally opened the nuclear military tech market which otherwise gave advantage to states such as Russia and France. There were no other vendors available. What is being offered to a treaty partner today, may be offered to a strategic partner tomorrow.
Read 15 tweets

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