America’s Arms Bazaar Comes To New Delhi

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As the cartoon above says, War is Big Business. This major issue is discussed, if at all, in passing by the mainstream media. Newspapers in India’s capital city had to borrow a news story from The Washington Post that “major US arms suppliers are wooing Indian defence agents and officials.”

Emily Wax of The Washington Post continues: Almost every weekend, there are cocktails and closed-door presentations in the suites of New Delhi’s five-star hotels, hosted by retired admirals and generals from the US armed forces who now work for defence firms, such as Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.

“At the US embassy in New Delhi, defence contractors such as Northrop Grumman are sponsoring little league baseball teams, the companies’ names stitched onto the uniforms.

” ‘America’s relationship to India is maturing and expanding. India is an important global player now,’ said William S. Cohen, a defense secretary during the Clinton administration who is a member of the U.S.-India Business Council’s board of directors.

“India plans to spend an estimated $100 billion on defense over the next decade to modernize its Soviet-era arsenal. The country that spawned the (Mahatma) Gandhian principles of nonviolence now has a shopping list that includes 126 fighter jets, 155mm howitzers, long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, vast cargo planes used in long-distance conflicts, high-tech helicopters and deep-water submarines.

“Boeing is vying with Lockheed — along with French, Russian and Swedish companies and a European consortium — for a fighter jet deal worth about $10 billion. India is holding flight tests for the fighter jets. Lockheed and Boeing have conducted demonstration flights for Indian celebrities and defense experts.”

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The Huffington Post carries this article “Recession Is Dangerously Good for the Arms Business”. The author states: “The New York Times reported that the problem is growing. According to a study by the Congressional Research Service, ‘Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations,’ the United States market-share in the international arms trade — already the world’s largest of course — is growing considerably.

“Our military-industrial complex therefore stands to benefit not only from wars we ourselves wage, but also those of our client states. This is nothing new; U.S. industry has long profited from the conflicts of others. But, in today’s desperate economic times, such practices can proudly display themselves as ‘recession-proof’ devices of recovery.

“And it certainly seems safer to depend on other people’s wars than on our own.”

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As the cartoon above implies, who wants peace in the world? Certainly not the greedy politicians and the arms industry. The more wars are fought the more money to be made by this unholy alliance. So the political leaders would keep on indulging in double-speak, continue to sacrifice their young soldiers in different theaters of war, aggravate the sufferings of common people, and endanger world peace.

Author: SWARAAJ CHAUHAN, International Columnist

Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.) Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department's SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi. In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF's Eco-tourism policy. He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on "Development Journalism" to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years. In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India --- West Bengal and Orissa. Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia. Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there. He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation. And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.