India & USA military relationship


Active member
This bothers me a bit:
India as a democratic country, USA also a democratic country.
It seems to me that India is not buying much weapons from USA, why?

Only because of the embargo imposed on India after the nuke thing?
Or USA actually does not sell top-notch weapons to India at all?

What's the current military relationship btw India and USA? Cool or Hot?
What's the status of the embargo if there is such a embargo?

India & USA relationship good or bad? How come that?

Above a lot of questions, you can pick anyone if you like.

Economically, the relationship couldn't be much rosier. I think that US diplomacy need to focus more on India. There is no reason for the USA and India to NOT be much closer. The USA keeps its distance partly to keep clear of the India/Pakistan messes I suppose. Also, the USA tries to remain friendly to both sides and has had a very good relationship with Pakistan in the past. If you had to pick one or the other for an ally for completely selfish reasons, its pretty obvious that you'd want India over Pakistan.

India buys arms from where they are cheaper. USA may arguably have the best gear, but its also very expensive. To the best of my knowledge, the USA doesn't currently sell arms to India because India shops elsewhere.

I'm not aware of there being any embargo currently. Can you post a link to bring me up to speed?
That's very good of you mentioning Pakistan. View taken ( I just forgot Pakistan).

I don't know either if USA is having an embargo on India now or not, I did hear there was one after India tested Nukes years ago.

I was trying to Google "American arms embargo on India" But Google gave me back this one "EU to Maintain Arms Embargo on China -- 10/12/2004", I think I am pretty much pissed off now.
The alliance with Pakistan has always been a mutually beneficial one. They let us base spy planes that we used to find out what the Soviets were up to, and they helped us with diplomatic relations with China. In recent years, they have been a big ally in the war against terrorism. We help them out in return by selling them weapons and giving them our best interest in that area.

FlyingFrog said:
EU to Maintain Arms Embargo on China -- 10/12/2004", I think I am pretty much pissed off now.

Man do you guys need help in that area... I bought a Norinco Mak-90 before the import ban, and I had numerous problems with it. The workmanship was shoddy and it had burs all in the action. OF course AKs have loose tolerances so it didn’t really effect functionality, but you could hit the broadside of a barn with it. Also, the receivers aren’t properly heat treated and they have a tendency to split after several thousand rounds.
I wonder what is the major weapons buy of India from USA, cannot think out too much, while Pakistan bought some F-16's.
I know we sold block two Patriot missile systems to India because ours were cheaper and supposedly more effective than anything Russia had.
the USA dosent sell top notch to any but its prime allise... The indians right now mainly update existing systems. they are buying alot of improvement packs from Israel, and put tem on their British and Russian made weapons.
USA imposed some sanctions on India after the 1998 nuclear tests carried out in Pokhran, India.But still these days we here in India hear a lot about top notch US military officials visiting India and that the sanctions are to be removed soon.I think the co-operation is pretty good cos I think the US knows that even though India performed nuclear tests it has signed the nuclear non-profileration and the no first use treaty and is a responsible state.
Here's some recent news links:

(btw frog did the chinese media post anything about china supporting India's candidature for UN Security Council ? , was a pleasant shock to us indians lol )
(btw frog did the chinese media post anything about china supporting India's candidature for UN Security Council ? , was a pleasant shock to us indians lol )

Haven't seen you for a while, nice to see you back mate.

First thanks for the Links.

Yes, China supports India to be in UNSC, and Chinese media reported this in all headlines. And most of Chinese people support you too. Me too :)

Btw, it is only a question of time for India since India will be on Top 3 Nations in near future, I bet in 2040, so just be patient like we do :)
Are we talking about adding India as a permanent member of the UN Security Council? If anyone qualifies, India does. 1/6th of the world population, etc.

Its interesting reading some of the forum views by the people of India about the upcoming election. There are actually a few people in favor of Bush. Completely unexpected.
Are we talking about adding India as a permanent member of the UN Security Council?

Yes, a permanent member of the UNSC and not temporary 2 years member.Currently there are 5 permanent members since the end of World War-II - USA, Russia, UK, France and China.
India has a green signal from the rest four except USA, its decision is on hold.

Some News:
Buoyed by the resounding victory it secured in the elections for Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations on Thursday, India now feels that its case for permanent membership of the UN Security Council is also strengthened — given that it got 174 votes of the 190

Its interesting reading some of the forum views by the people of India about the upcoming election. There are actually a few people in favor of Bush. Completely unexpected

ppl favour bush because i think of his outsourcing policy and the strengthening of the military ties between the two nations.Currently india is the top destination for US outsourced jobs.Though kerry would have to do the same thing, theres a bit of skepticism about him. [/quote]
Kerry has vowed to make outsourcing more difficult. Underlying thing has been that the American people are scared that it is losing jobs over here. If you know economics, you know that its the sort of thing that is generally mutually beneficial in the long run, but Americans get scared easily and Kerry is riding heavily on promises to make outsourcing much more difficult for American companies. Sounds good to Americans and bad to India.

I believe that you mentioned it earlier Xion. The United States and India would do well to cooperate on anti-terrorism as both nations are hit hard by it. With our relationship with Pakistan, we are in good position to mediate things and encourage Pakistan to behave themselves perhaps.

I see only one problem with India being voted in a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council -- the veto power. Its already a bottleneck and adding India to the list potentially makes it even more of one. But its silly not adding a nation that represents such a giant chunk of the world.
Hi guys, this is my 1st post here

Probably the BEST introduction to the history and future growth of America-India ties is from the following paper: India and America: Estranged No More. The report is some 7 pages long and is in PDF format, but is very well worth the read for anyone interested in the relationship.

I'll post the introduction from the paper below:
India and America:
Estranged No More


“A growing awareness of India’s economic and strategic potential has led to serious revaluation in the United States of the India relationship.”

For more than half a century, the world’s two largest democracies—the United States and India—have had a difficult relationship. That unhappy situation appears to be changing. Today, a growing chorus of voices recommends a long-term strategic understanding, perhaps partnership, between the two. What such a relationship might mean is not yet clear, but a qualitatively higher level of strategic and economic cooperation seems almost inevitable. The direction, if not the precise definition, of future relations is clear.

In the emerging scenario, new frontiers include growing military - to - military cooperation regionally as well as in the global war on terrorism. But for the relationship to endure, India and the United States will have to boost sharply their economic as well as scientific, technological, and democratic ties in a manner that will enmesh the countries in bonds that can become self-sustaining. Most likely, a shared and deepening economic stake in bilateral relations will have to undergird a new relationship if it is to transcend problems of the past and enhance readiness on both sides to resolve differences.

During the past decade, India’s economy has grown at an average annual rate of 6 percent; the current rate is likely to exceed 7.5 percent. Most forecasters agree that huge pent-up demand gradually will come into play as economic reforms continue to improve all-round developmental performance, keeping growth rates high in the foreseeable future. A forecast by Goldman Sachs boldly suggests that India’s economy will maintain an average annual growth rate of 6 percent over the next
50 years, outstripping the performance of other major emerging economies such as China, Brazil, and Russia.

In terms of strictly military relations, during only the last 1.5ys, the closeness of the relationship has literally exploded, from joint SOF, troops, air force and navy exercises, to American soldiers being trained in Indian institutions, it is simply amazing how fast these two countries have come together.

Below, I'll post some pics from the various India-US exercises from the last year :)
Here are pics from the American-Indian exercises at India’s Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS), the best CI and Jungle training academy in the world:
^ A US infantry soldier (C) gives a traditional Indian 'Nameste' greeting to Indian soldiers during a Indo-US army exercise at the Indian army's Counter Insurgency Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS), at Vairengete, in the north-eastern Indian state of Mizoram. Indian military officials announced 21 August 2004, that some eleven countries including France, Uzbekistan and Italy, are seeking permission to have soldiers trained in combatting low-intensity guerilla warfare at the school
‘Is that any good??’ (just kidding :))
‘Lets go get'em buddy
U me and Uncle Sam’ ;)
^ Indian and US army infantry soldiers run up a hill in a heavy rainstorm during an early morning warmup training run part of a Indo-US army exercise in the Indian state of Mizoram,06 April 2004.

Following guerrilla attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US army is keen on learning from the Indian army's 50-year experience of combating insurgencies. For this exchange of expertise, a platoon of 55 soldiers of the first US Army Infantry regiment's 2nd battalion is mobilized to "Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School" in Mizoram-a. "Fight the guerrilla like a guerrilla" is the motto of this unique school says Commandant Brig. Basant Kumar Ponwar. Lt. Col. David Wisecarver leads the American contingent and joint exercises are named "Yudh Abhyas" (battle training). "We do not have a school like this in the US. We will take the lessons from here to other units in our army", says Wisecarver who, along with his soldiers are part of the Alaska-based 172 Stryker Infantry Brigade. US soldiers Nicholas Shanahan (2nd L) and Landon Gomez (4th L) with Indian command

Here are some pics from the recent high-altitude warfare exercise. India is currently engaged in the world’s highest battlefield, Siachen Glacier, and has considerable ultra-high altitude warfare experience.

Indian army troops and American commandos conduct a joint military exercise in the Ladak region in Leh some 430 kms (267 miles) east of the summer capital Srinagar, 12 September 2003. US and Indian special forces are holding joint exercises on high-altitude operations in Ladakh, a Himalayan region on the sensitive frontiers with Pakistan and China:
Here are pics from exercise Balance Iroquois, held last year:
Combined Indian and U.S. Army Special Forces teams conduct an Indian fast roping technique, called “slithering,” from an Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopter on Silchar Airfield, India, during Joint/Combined Exchange Training (JCET) Event BALANCE IROQUOIS 2003-01.
A mock terrorist jungle hideout in Mizoram, India used during the above excercise
Members of a combined Indian-U.S. Special Forces team wait to board an Mi-17 helicopter on Silchar Airfield, India, to conduct heliborne operations.
An Indian-U.S. Special Forces team races to board an Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopter for combined heliborne operations
An Indian Army colonel directs a roadwidening project in the Mizoram State village of Phainum, while a U.S. Army sergeant heads the U.S. Civil Affairs personnel working on the project.
Indian and U.S. Army Special Forces members “slither” – an Indian fast roping technique from an Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopter on Silchar Airfield, India. This technique was developed during the Liberation of Bangladesh from pakistan in 1971 due to a neccisity for fast deployment during extreme rain and wind conditions. Due to the hilly terrain the wind directions would change fast which was the reason why this technique became necessary

Background information:

Exercise Cope India 04 was an Air Force level exercise between the USAF and the Indian Air Force (IAF) and marked a beginning of a new chapter in Indo-US bilateral relations. This was the first opportunity since 1963, for USAF fighters to operate from Indian soil

The exercise brought together leading fighter combat aircraft and aircrew and ground crew of both air forces. The USAF flew in F-15Cs, while the IAF was represented by Mirage 2000, Su-30K, MiG-27s and MiG-21 (upgraded). The meeting ground provided a strong foundation and deep understanding towards developing a new relationship between the IAF and USAF for the future. Not only was the exercise a gathering of hi-tech, state of the art aircraft and systems of both air forces, but also proved to be an excellent meeting ground for the personnel of the two air forces to understand each other. Despite such a vast difference in culture and traditions, there was complete synergy and understanding of minds, and of concepts in the air and on the ground. The mutual respect and bonhomie that developed between members of the two sides have cemented a firm foundation for moving ahead towards higher bilateralism.

Planning for the exercise commenced during the IPC (Initial Planning Conference) at the Air HQ at New Delhi in the last week of Sep 2003. Various modalities for the smooth conduct of the exercise were chalked out during the IPC. Col Greg Neubeck, a senior F-15 pilot with flying experience of over 3000 hrs, led the USAF delegation. Sgt Mike Boden in-charge of administration helped to work out modalities concerning security and admin aspects. Once the IPC was conducted, a broad outline for planning was set into motion.

All aspects relating to operations, maintenance and administration were finalised and put in place during the discussions which took place subsequently between the two teams. Exchange visits by the participants of the two air forces took place. A team of Indian pilots, fighter controllers, ATCOs and AFSOs visited the US Air Force Base in Alaska. Likewise, a USAF team visited India to familiarise and acquaint themselves with the procedures followed by IAF

AF Stn Gwalior, the host IAF airbase began preparations for the exercise in true earnest, almost three months prior to the Exercise. The Chief of Air Staff made a visit during the first week of February 2004, to check the arrangements for the Exercise. The operating complex of 7 Sqn “THE BATTLE AXES”, which was the host Sqn, was further built up to accommodate USAF personnel and reflected itself as a model Indian Air Force Sqn.

By the first week of Feb 04, Gwalior Air Force Base was all geared up for the exercise. The first transport support aircraft of USAF, a C-5 Galaxy, arrived in the evening hours of 12th Feb 04. This was followed by a few more trips and the entire ground support facilities were in place by 14 Feb 04. The first two F-15 fighters, from the 19th Fighter Sqn “GAMECOCKS”, arrived at Gwalior on 14 Feb. The next four F-15 were delayed due to technical reasons and arrived in the afternoon of 19 Feb 04.

The exercise began on 16 Feb, with the USAF pilots being familiarized with the airfield and local procedures and also of the diversionary airfields. USAF pilots got a chance to see the Taj Mahal at Agra and the mighty Himalayas from the air and they were visibly impressed by both.

Flying activity picked up pace in the next few days and missions went through as planned. The Americans soon became familiar with the famous Indian culture, hospitality and especially spicy Indian food, which was well appreciated. The growing friendship between the two teams was clearly visible by the fact that the airmen of both air forces were soon playing volleyball and football matches together during their spare time. The Americans showed a lot of interest in learning cricket and likewise the Indians in learning baseball!!

Flying activity continued at a brisk pace during the second week with large package missions being flown, which required lengthy briefing and even more exhaustive debriefs. Many thought provoking ideas and lessons emerged from these missions.

Besides flying activity, there was considerable social interaction during the fortnight. Welcome Cocktails at both Officers Mess and SNCOs Mess was organised on 16th Feb, so as to break the ice. This was followed by a “Roll - Call” on Friday evening, the 20th of Feb. This “Roll -Call” requires a special mention, as this was an interaction which set the grounds for strong bonds of friendship between members of both teams.

Interaction with the media was planned on the 25th Feb. The press were impressed on seeing the launch and recovery of a large number of combat aircraft participating in the exercises. A static display of all participating aircraft was planned during the day. Commanding Officers’ of all the units and a few participants exchanged their views with the media.

On 26th Feb, various presentations and lectures on a wide variety of aviation-related topics took place. The team exchanged their past experiences on various operational, admin and maintenance aspects of both air forces.

A farewell dinner was organised on the evening of 26 February, with the Americans getting a short glimpse of Indian tradition and culture during a brief cultural programme put up by a local group from Gwalior city. Mementos and pleasantries were exchanged during the dinner.

The USAF fighters ferried back on 27th morning at 1100 hrs. The transport support followed soon after and the IAF bid farewell to all USAF personnel.

The exercise provided a stepping-stone to a new beginning in Indo-US military and bi-lateral ties. It provided a firm foundation for enhancing mutual operational understanding, and set the basis for future co-operation between the two air forces. Although this was the first meeting ground between the two air forces in a truly operational air combat environment, all initial hesitations vanished from Day One. The relationships which developed were indeed, excellent. A healthy professional respect was noticed on both sides in the air and on the ground.

When questioned on the capabilities of IAF pilots, Col Greg Newbech, USAF Team Leader made the following remarks: -

- What we’ve seen in the last two weeks is, the IAF can stand toe-to-toe with best AF in the world.

- I pity the pilot who has to face the IAF and chances the day to underestimate him; because he won’t be going home.

- Indian hospitality from everyone has been truly overwhelming.

- The greatest compliment we heard from an IAF pilot – You American pilots are just like us, simply down to earth people.

- We depart India with great respect for the Indian Air Force. Your pilots, maint and support crew are exceptional professionals.

The Indian Air Force now looks forward to meeting the USAF in Alaska during Ex Cope Thunder-04.

Crests of the Exercise and participating Squadrons:
^ COPE India exercises crest
^ 7 Sqn Battleaxes IAF
Exercise Pictures:
^ USAF F-15C and IAF Mirage 2000
USAF F-15Cs escorting IAF MiG-27upg
^ IAF Su-30Ks escorting USAF F-15C
^ USAF F-15C scrambling to intercept
^ IAF Mirage 2000
USAF F-15C escorting IAF MiG-21upg Bison
^ IAF Mirage 2000s and USAF F-15C over the Himalaya
^ USAF F-15Cs in formation
^ IAF Su-30K landing
^ After a long day's work!