Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Book Release by Shri Brajesh Mishra

My book on Chinese military strategy, The Dragon's Fire: Chinese Military Strategy and Its Implications for Asia, was released by Shri Brajesh Mishra, former National Security Advisor during the NDA regime. The function was well-attended, both by the strategic community and the media.

General VP Malik, former Army Chief and President, Institute of Security Studies, Observer Research Foundation welcomed the guests and introduced the books to the audience. Deba's book on Indian defence procurement policy was also relased yesterday. After Gen. Malik's remarks, he requested Brajesh Mishra to release the books, after which the two discussants, Brig. Gurmeet Kanwal, Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, and Mr. Dhirendra Singh discussed both the books. Thereafter, Brajesh Mishra made his remarks, highlighting the threat that China poses to India. He in fact said that the threat is more dangerous than in 1962, as China is much more powerful, in economic and military terms. Looking into the future, he said that India could potentially be faced with two-front war, both from western and eastern fronts, given the all-weather friendship between China and Pakistan. He also touched upon the aggressive Chinese attitude in the last few years, whether it is on the Line of Actual Control or through their writings of the think-tanks or other official media. He also identified as to why China has become stronger and more powerful, whereas India is still struggling with lot of problems. Blaming on the politicians, he said that issues of national security have been compromised due to the electoral politics of politicians. He noted that until and unless India took the issue of national security seriously, it could never become a great power. He concluded by saying that while China has managed reasonable control over Asia, India has to defend itself through policies and diplomacy, while continuing to grow economically.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

VOA Russian News Service on India-Russia Nuclear Cooperation

Here's the link to an article on India-Russia cooperation in the nuclear arena that quoted me. The article appeared on the official blogpage of the Voice Of America Russian News Service. The article appeared in Russian, although a web-based translation is pasted below. Original Russian version is also pasted below.

Russia and India are going to sign the contract about cooperation in the field of use of an atomic energy in the peace purposes. The Russian-Indian nuclear transaction provides guarantees of deliveries of the Russian nuclear fuel on the Indian atomic power stations and construction in India from 12 up to 16-ти power units for three atomic power stations. In July, 2005 the similar agreement has been concluded between India and the United States America (it refers to «123»). Within the limits of this contract, India has had an opportunity legally to get nuclear fuel in the international market and has agreed to admit the international inspectors on a part of the nuclear objects which are not having a military orientation.

At the same time, as marks Раджесфари Пиллаи Раджагопалан, the senior scientific employee of a department of researches in the field of safety from fund Observer Research Foundation (India), between the Russian-Indian and American-Indian contract is the important distinction: « the New agreement gives India right to process and make enrichment of nuclear fuel that does not provide the contract from the USA. Besides the contract 123 provides, that in case of approach of force-majeur circumstances India is obliged to return the USA the equipment and technologies, and also to remain without deliveries of nuclear fuel – in turn, Russia guarantees India uninterrupted deliveries of fuel for its reactors ».
The Indian expert reminds, that cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi in nuclear sphere occurs enough for a long time. So, in 2005 of the atomic power station in Тарапуре it has appeared on the verge of a stop, however Russia has agreed to put urgently 60 tons of uranium and crisis has been resolved.

Paul Podvig, the expert of the Center of the international safety and cooperation at Стэндфордском university (till 2004 it worked in the Center on studying problems of disarmament, power and ecology at Moskovsk physicotechnical institute) emphasizes, that « Russia always wished to guarantee to itself a share of the nuclear market of India. After as a result of achievement of the agreement between India, the USA and МАГАТЭ, a number of restrictions has been removed, Russia has started to act actively this direction. It not seems to me, that the Russian-Indian cooperation in nuclear sphere will damage to cooperation of Delhi and Washington, however it is obvious, that Russia (as well as France) will be the strong contender of Americans ».

Poppy Бергманн, the analyst of Washington research center Center for American Progress, approves, that Russia and India have entered into the mutually advantageous agreement which, among other things « reflects the status of India as growing world force ». Thus Бергманн doubts, that Russia will be capable to supersede the USA from the Indian nuclear market: « However this transaction shows, that India can use various variants of actions in this sphere and will be capable to borrow more a hard line on a number not resolved while questions ».

Nowadays we observe becoming India as one of world leaders in sphere of nuclear technologies. I shall remind, that this country has independently created the nuclear weapon and successfully makes nuclear reactors under own projects. Thus, India has not joined the Nonproliferation treaty of the nuclear weapon, that is had no legal access on the world market of corresponding technologies, materials and the equipment. A number of experts to which I talked, express extreme concern this fact – they are afraid, that successes of India in the long term can destroy a mode of non-distribution. Consequences of it can be the extremely serious.

What your opinion?
2009-12-08 06:50 pm UTC (link)
India - one of the largest countries of the world. In the long term it can become one of the largest economic powers of the world. I think India it is undoubtedly worthy introductions into nuclear club.
Other question, that membership in nuclear club, for all should be combined with the certain restrictions and the international control.

2009-12-08 07:18 pm UTC (link)
" The Indian expert reminds, that cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi in nuclear sphere occurs enough for a long time ".

Under the reference about "for a long time" anything is not present, but basically, it and so it is known. Cooperation with India has been connected, historically, with change of a position of China concerning the USSR. As the Chinese armies also "specified" border with India Delhi and has undertaken the certain steps.

After tragedy in Мумбае, in which Delhi has accused Pakistan, there was a concentration of the Indian armies, and Delhi some days changed.
Then Delhi has chosen a variant of different discussions, possibly, reckoning with presence in rear of friendly China. India cannot wage war on two fronts, and with Pakistan Delhi is necessary for dispute, at least, neutral China. India grants asylum to refugees from Tibet, also in India there is "headquarters" of the ñá½á®-llama, that Pekin considers for itself неприемлимым. Dispute on borders between India and China is not ended yet.

If to assume, that in the future Delhi it will be possible to achieve a neutrality of China concerning so назыаемого Халистана, both on borders, and concerning Tibet, and concerning policy of Delhi to Pakistan it is possible, theoretically, dispute between Delhi and Islamabad. As both countries nuclear such dispute could have unexpected consequences. But now the position of China concerning India, de facto, guarantees to Pakistan absence of such conflict.
2009-12-08 07:33 pm UTC (link)
China supported the Afghani resistance against the USSR, and concerning the Muslim population of India shows the arrangement and friendship, despite of own problems in Синцзяне, and is considered by the Muslim population of India, and also the Muslim population near to borders of India - in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and in " a zone of tribes ", неконтролирумой Islamabad, as the friend. In case of the conflict to Pakistan, India will face internal problems, and also with problems on borders. But all in due course varies, probably, that sometime, in the future, not only the Europe becomes Muslim, but is possible, and India becomes the Muslim country.

But all this - somewhere in the future, and for today "status quo" is kept, and all three neighbours - China, India, Pakistan - nuclear powers, therefore, that that " a Number of experts to which I talked, express extreme concern this fact – they are afraid, that successes of India in the long term can destroy a mode of non-distribution ", only lyrics. As use to say in the White House of the USA - it is necessary "real-politician". That, actually, also occurs in this region.

alex_grigoryev ( alex_grigoryev) wrote in golos_ameriki,
@ 2009-12-08 12:42:00

Ядерная Индия
Россия и Индия собираются подписать договор о сотрудничестве в области использования атомной энергии в мирных целях. Российско-индийская ядерная сделка предусматривает гарантии поставок российского ядерного топлива на индийские АЭС и строительство в Индии от 12 до 16-ти энергоблоков для трех АЭС. В июле 2005 года схожее соглашение было заключено между Индией и Соединенными Штатами Америки (оно называется «123»). В рамках этого договора, Индия получила возможность легально приобретать ядерное топливо на международном рынке и согласилась допустить международных инспекторов на часть своих ядерных объектов, не имеющих военной направленности.

В то же время, как отмечает Раджесфари Пиллаи Раджагопалан, старший научный сотрудник отдела исследований в области безопасности из фонда Observer Research Foundation (Индия), между российско-индийским и американо-индийским договором есть важное различие: «Новое соглашение дает Индии право перерабатывать и производить обогащение ядерного топлива, чего не предусматривает договор с США. Кроме того, договор 123 предусматривает, что в случае наступления форс-мажорных обстоятельств Индия обязана вернуть США оборудование и технологии, а также остаться без поставок ядерного топлива – в свою очередь, Россия гарантирует Индии бесперебойные поставки топлива для ее реакторов».

Индийский эксперт напоминает, что сотрудничество между Москвой и Нью-Дели в ядерной сфере происходит достаточно давно. Так, в 2005 году АЭС в Тарапуре оказалась на грани остановки, однако Россия согласилась срочно поставить 60 тонн урана и кризис был разрешен.

Павел Подвиг, эксперт Центра международной безопасности и сотрудничества при Стэндфордском университете (до 2004 года он работал в Центре по изучению проблем разоружения, энергетики и экологии при Московском физико-техническом институте) подчеркивает, что «Россия всегда хотела гарантировать себе долю ядерного рынка Индии. После того, как в результате достижения соглашения между Индией, США и МАГАТЭ, ряд ограничений был снят, Россия начала активно действовать на этом направлении. Мне не кажется, что российско-индийское сотрудничество в ядерной сфере повредит сотрудничеству Дели и Вашингтона, однако очевидно, что Россия (как и Франция) будет серьезным конкурентом американцев».

Мак Бергманн, аналитик вашингтонского исследовательского центра Center for American Progress, утверждает, что Россия и Индия заключили взаимовыгодное соглашение, которое, кроме всего прочего «отражает статус Индии, как растущей мировой силы». При этом Бергманн сомневается, что Россия будет способна вытеснить США с индийского ядерного рынка: «Однако эта сделка демонстрирует, что Индия может использовать различные варианты действий в этой сфере и будет способна занимать более жесткую позицию по ряду неразрешенных пока вопросов».

Ныне мы наблюдаем становление Индии в качестве одного из мировых лидеров в сфере ядерных технологий. Я напомню, что эта страна самостоятельно создала ядерное оружие и успешно производит ядерные реакторы по собственным проектам. При этом, Индия не присоединилась к Договору о нераспространении ядерного оружия, то есть не имела легального доступа на мировой рынок соответствующих технологий, материалов и оборудования. Ряд экспертов, с которыми я беседовал, выражают крайнюю обеспокоенность этим фактом – они боятся, что успехи Индии в перспективе могут уничтожить режим нераспространения. Последствия этого могут быть крайне серьезными.

Каково Ваше мнение?

(3 comments) - (Post a new comment)

2009-12-08 06:50 pm UTC (link)

Индия - одна из крупнейших стран мира. В перспективе она может стать одной из крупнейших экономических держав мира. Думаю Индия несомненно достойна вступления в ядерный клуб.
Другой вопрос, что членство в ядерном клубе, для всех должно сочетаться с определенными ограничениями и международным контролем.
(Reply to this)

2009-12-08 07:18 pm UTC (link)

"Индийский эксперт напоминает, что сотрудничество между Москвой и Нью-Дели в ядерной сфере происходит достаточно давно".

По ссылке насчет "давно" ничего нет, но в принципе, это и так известно. Сотрудничество с Индией связано было, исторически, с изменением позиции Китая в отношении СССР. Поскольку китайские войска также "уточняли" границу с Индией, то Дели и предпринял определенные шаги.

После трагедии в Мумбае, в которой Дели обвинил Пакистан, была концентрация индийских войск, и Дели несколько дней колебался.
Потом Дели выбрал вариант разных обсуждений, вероятно, считаясь с наличием в тылу дружественного Китая. Индия не сможет вести войну на два фронта, и для спора с Пакистаном Дели необходим, как минимум, нейтральный Китай. Индия предоставляет убежище беженцам из Тибета, также в Индии находится "штаб-квартира" Далай-ламы, что Пекин считает для себя неприемлимым. Спор по границам между Индией и Китаем пока не окончен.

Если предположить, что в будущем Дели удастся добиться нейтралитета Китая в отношении так назыаемого Халистана, и по границам, и по вопросам Тибета, и в отношении политики Дели к Пакистану, то возможен, теоретически, спор между Дели и Исламабадом. Поскольку обе страны ядерные, то такой спор мог бы иметь неожиданные последствия. Но в настоящее время позиция Китая в отношении Индии, де-факто, гарантирует Пакистану отсутствие такого конфликта.
(Reply to this)

2009-12-08 07:33 pm UTC (link)

Китай поддерживал афганское сопротивление против СССР, и в отношении мусульманского населения Индии демонстрирует свое расположение и дружбу, несмотря на собственные проблемы в Синцзяне, и рассматривается мусульманским населением Индии, а также мусульманским населением рядом с границами Индии - в Афганистане, Пакистане, и в "зоне племен", неконтролирумой Исламабадом, как друг. В случае конфликта с Пакистаном, Индия столкнется с внутренними проблемами, а также с проблемами на границах. Но все со временем меняется, возможно, что когда-нибудь, в будущем, не только Европа станет мусульманской, но возможно, и Индия станет мусульманской страной.

Но все это - где-то в будущем, а на сегодняшний день "статус-кво" сохраняется, и все три соседа - Китай, Индия, Пакистан - ядерные державы, поэтому, то что "Ряд экспертов, с которыми я беседовал, выражают крайнюю обеспокоенность этим фактом – они боятся, что успехи Индии в перспективе могут уничтожить режим нераспространения", всего лишь лирика. Как говаривают в Белом Доме США - нужна "реал-политик". Что, собственно, и происходит в этом регионе.
(Reply to this)


Saturday, December 5, 2009

USI-Okazaki Institute Bilateral Interaction on Regional Security Issues

Recently, I attended the USI-Okazaki Institute bilateral interaction on regional security issues, where I also presented a paper on US-Japan security alliance.

The United Service Institution of India (USI) and the Japanese think-tank Okazaki Institute held its bilateral interaction on regional security issues on November 27, 2009. The discussions centered around four major aspects -- China's rise; Chinese military modernisation; US-Japan security alliance in the backdrop of major regional developments including rising China factor and North Korean missile and nuclear activities; and non-traditional security threats facing the region and identifying the scope and potential for a strengthened India-Japan partnership.

I presented a paper on the US-Japan security alliance: problems and prospects. The main argument of the paper is that while the US-Japan security alliance has served as the bedrock of stability in the Asia-Pacific, the centrality of the alliance in ensuring stability in the future is not certain. There may be alternative measures taken up by both sides, in consultation with each other or independently, to avoid destabilising consequences for the region. This is in the light of increasing disappointment by each of the alliance partner of their commitments.

There have been several problems facing the US-Japan security alliance in the last nearly two decades. The problems may be categorised as increasing mismatch between the expectations of the US and Japan of each other in terms of alliance commitments; and the Japanese own assertiveness in the military-security arena in the backdrop of the above-mentioned challenges, especially when there is an increasing perception that the US may not be able to deliver on extended nuclear deterrence.

The end of the Cold War, however, changed contours, at least from the US point of view. The US expected Japan to take more security responsibility. In essence, the US was telling the Japanese not to be “security free riders”. However, Japan having followed a peace constitution not only in letter but also in spirit, was finding itself unable to meet the new expectations of its alliance partner and this began to tell on the alliance, although one may feel that all is well with the bilateral security alliance, if one goes by the rhetoric. But in reality, the strategic partnership that President Clinton followed vis a vis China or Obama’s coddling of Beijing are not reassuring to Japan. In between, the George Bush Administration tried to correct some of these concerns and put in place processes in the Pentagon to revitalise the relationship. September 11 terrorist attacks changed the situation drastically and the US was seeking Japanese assistance and the Koizumi Government came forward with significant support in the war on terror. This provided a new impetus to the alliance; however, many believe that it was not the shared views or collective self-defence that motivated the Japanese response, but a “fear of abandonment.”

However, the more important consequence has been the lack of consensus on common threat to their shared interests. The US, particularly after the 9/11 terror attacks, may be devoting greater attention to issues such as terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism, rising China factor, to some extent, depending on whether it is a Republican or Democratic administration in office, North Korean threats. While some of these may factor on the Japanese radar, the intensity of the threats may differ significantly in the duo’s perspectives. With increasing US-China partnership and the talk of a G-2, there could be serious divergences of opinion as to what kind of a threat would China pose in the future to the two countries.

There have been problems with the strategy of extended deterrence right from the beginning. For instance, if China attacks Tokyo, by the logic of extended deterrence, the US should attack Beijing. Increasingly, the question is whether the US will attack Beijing or not; whether Tokyo is worth the cost for the US. Basically, the US allies will have to feel confident that the US will provide deterrence against China. Irrespective of what the US says, if the allies are not confident of that, then that alliance will weaken. One of the Japanese concerns has been that a closer Sino-US partnership could possibly widen the “gap between Tokyo’s and Washington’s security perspectives” and could weaken the US security commitment. Any doubts over US security will strengthen the narrow voice within Japan to “accelerate Japan’s conventional build-up or even to develop nuclear deterrence.” Such sentiments are expressed in the backdrop of the gradually declining status of the US and given such uncertainties, Shintaro Ishihara stated the dependency on the US is “extremely risky for Japan.” It is also becoming evident that there is a significant section of the population, especially among the younger generation, that seeks a stronger Japan that is more assertive in international affairs and more particularly in Asian affairs.

Constant coddling China as Clinton did and now Obama is doing, it will worry the allies. Some of the recent decisions by the Obama Administration have not been reassuring to Japan. The decision by the Obama Administration to cut back on some of the defense programmes involving high technology weapon systems could be detrimental to Japanese security, as Obama is cutting down on missile defence and satellite programmes. The Airborne Laser program that is being axed remains an important component in intercepting ballistic missiles in the “boost” phase, shortly after launch. All these scenarios put Japan and its security at serious risk. The US’ decision regarding F-22 Raptor also appears to send wrong signals to Japan. Therefore, Japan might be forced to go pro-active and offensive in its postures, even if gradually.

Given the increasing divergence in their threat perceptions or the approach to tackling some of these threats, Tokyo has been contemplating measures independent of Washington. For instance, on the North Korean issue, the public debates on the possible Japanese response have been, by and large, to adopt hardline measures, more on the lines of preemptive strikes and nuclear deterrence. In 2003, Japanese defence minister had suggested that it should contemplate a “preemptive strike” on North Korea if Japan saw an evidence of North Korea planning an attack on it. In 1994, the Clinton Administration came close to carrying out preemptive strikes on North Korea. US plans in this regard in fact involved some Japanese security and intelligence officials as part of the debates; the plan was however rejected due to the spiralling consequences it could potentially have. According to some reports, citing official documents, the Japanese themselves were contemplating a five-stage war-like response to the 1994 crisis. Similar debates have taken place following the 1998 Taepodong-I missile tests too. The subject came up yet again in 2003 when then Defense Agency Director Shigeru Ishiba said, “If a country declares that ‘we will burn Tokyo into flames,’ and that country is about to fuel a ballistic missile, and they erect the missile on a missile launcher, then this action can be seen as the beginning of an attack against Japan.” Following such discussions, the LDP in 2004 proposed that the country debate about whether it should develop offensive military capabilities and if so, how it should be used. Some security analysts believe that developing offensive strike capability will be an effective measure in defending Japan against ballistic missile attacks on several accounts. Firstly, the SDF “can attack missile launch sites when a country intends to attack Japan and the missile is being prepared for launch.” Second, analysts argue that even when Japan is attacked first, “an offensive strike capability could prevent subsequent ballistic missile attacks against Japan.” Third argument revolves around using offensive capability as a deterrent against any missile attacks.

This debate gained a further momentum after the 2006 missile tests and the October nuclear tests by North Korea when some members within the government and the Liberal Democratic Party argued that Japan should “consider developing the capability to strike a foreign missile base if there is an imminent threat of an attack on Japan.” Debates in this regard focused on preemptive military strikes against North Korean missile facilities. Kyodo News reported Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa as saying that “We (Japan) should hold a proper debate about attacking launch bases and about shelters in case something does happen.” Japan, however, lack the wherewithal as of now in terms of long-range bombers or missiles. Japan would need to acquire a few systems in place, including a) ability to destroy air defense radars; b) low-flying aircraft so as to avoid radar detection; c) air-to-surface guided missiles or cruise missiles; and ability to collect intelligence on enemy sites.

It is possible that Japan has been compelled to consider options along these lines on two accounts. First, the worry that North Korea’s nuclear- and missile-related issues cannot be sorted out through international arms control agreements. There is a sense that international arms control arrangements are not effective in taking care of problems like Iran, North Korea. Such a line of thinking led the Bush Administration to go for a preemptive attack on Iraq. The validity of these actions is a separate debate. In a similar vein, Japan is sensing the increasing North Korean threat and is not certain about the effectiveness of international agreements to curb the North Korean threat.

Japanese own uncertainties too add to the complexities of this bilateral alliance. Issues relating to Okinawa base have been one, from the Japanese side. The issue assumed explosive proportions after the rape of a 12-year old girl by US service personnel in 1995 initiated a new round of negotiations by the Japanese on the possible closure of the Futenma base. Another issue that has complicated the alliance relates to the financial aspects of maintaining these bases. The issue has been gaining significance since the 1990s. In recent terms, with global economic meltdown, Japan is feeling the pinch and has cut down on the money that used to be rolled out earlier in terms of public works in Okinawa. Third, Japanese have remained concerned about the growing ties between Beijing and Washington and expressed concerns as to whether Japan would be dumped for China in the future. More recently, the Hatoyama Government’s electoral promises to forge closer ties with Asian countries, particularly with China as well as to take a fresh look at the US-Japan security agreement, specifically at the reorganisation of US troops in Japan, raises doubts in several countries, including India and the US.

Why is Hatoyama adopting a policy that is breaking away from the past? One has to keep in mind a few issues. First of all, geopolitics in Northeast Asia is becoming more complex today, with an important feature being the interplay between the US-led alliance structure and China’s reinvigorated multilateral engagement in East Asia. Beijing is of the view that its increasing interaction with the region will gradually reduce the US role and influence in East Asia and that the new regional framework that emerges out of China’s interactions will become a competitor to the US. Second, China argues that the ‘China threat’ theory will also diminish with increasing regional cooperation between China and the small- and medium-sized powers and thereby reduce their dependence on the US as a security guarantor. Lastly, China argues that increased multilateral interactions between the US and China in East Asia should gradually seek to establish a linking mechanism between the two multilateral approaches that would further erode US bilateral ties with several nations in East Asia. It remains unclear whether such interactions between the US and China, creating a diarchy, will be seen as beneficial by some of the other major Asian powers including India, Japan and Russia.

Similarly, Japan’s proposal for an East Asian Community seems to be sending mixed signals about its foreign policy orientations. Many view that Hatoyama is initiating a shift in Japan’s diplomatic focus to relations with its Asian neighbours. China, South Korea and the ASEAN have been forthcoming in their support for the group, although Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao expressed hesitancy due to the varied economic and social systems prevalent in Asia as well as the fact that they are different stages of development. As far as the membership is concerned, Japan suggested that it could include Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, ASEAN and India. If that be the case, the US factor might become a major hindrance. However, the more important concern is more in terms of the mutual distrust among the major Asian powers. Despite increasing economic interaction between these countries, trust deficit continues to be an issue, with these countries “on guard against each other” which could be a serious impediment in establishing a way towards a unified Asia.

What has been the US view and why does the US want to continue with the US military presence in Japan? US security analysts have continued to argue the significance of Okinawa base to the US, in terms of power projection into the Far East, due to the island’s close proximity to mainland Japan, China, Taiwan and the Korean Peninsula. The presence of about 65% of the 47,000 troops based in Japan ensure that vital trade routes are kept open as also serve a deterrent purpose vis a vis China and North Korea.

While China has clearly emerged as the most significant challenge in Asia, the difference in the treatment to the challenge by both Washington and Tokyo can be even a greater challenge in the decades to come. Washington under a Democratic administration has reverted to their traditionally pro-Chinese approach. This is even truer in the current Obama Administration that looks upon China to salvage it from the current economic crisis. Given the kind of symbiotic relationship between China and the US, it is possible that Washington will be less critical of Chinese military and the overwhelming power that grows from it and even on issues like non-transparency of the Chinese defence spending and the military modernisation. If Washington becomes insensitive to Japanese concerns about the rising China and the North Korean nuclear and missile issues, Tokyo may go independent in its security policies. At various crisis points, Japan has contemplated adopting hardline postures, including pre-emptive and nuclear options. However, these options have consequences that go beyond the borders. First of all, these strikes will be seen as a return to a “militaristic” Japan. Second, Japan’s development of such capabilities could spur North Korea into testing more advanced weapon systems, which will force Japan to carry out further measures. This will lead to a regional arms race. If Japan changes its current defensive stance, China will be compelled to increase the quantity and quality of its offensive weapons; thereafter India will follow the suit and then Pakistan and it could even impact the situation in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt. However, if Japan is to occupy the rightful place in the Asian balance of power, Tokyo has to move out of its security umbrella with the US and assume more power as well as responsibilities.

If the US’ relative decline gains further momentum with a systematic rise of other powers, this will also have serious security implications in Asia. As of now, the US maintains nuclear primacy, although this equation could change in the next decade or so. China, outside of any arms control arrangement (unlike US and Russia), could be improving their capabilities in the nuclear arena to mach the US. In such a scenario, what is more worrying for countries like Japan and South Korea is that US nuclear primacy could erode with projected reduction in US ICBM whereas there will be a significant increase in the Chinese capabilities. Similarly, there are concerns about a possible arms control agreement between Pyongyang and Washington. Such scenarios will drive both the countries towards more independent security options.

With increasing doubts on the credibility of the US alliance, Japan could possibly take steps to improve their conventional military capabilities and potentially even nuclear weapons in the not too distant future. The very fact that there is an open public debate about the nuclear option in Japan is possibly a prelude to the country going nuclear.

This is the first time in centuries that there is simultaneous rise of three major powers in Asia. While China is realistic to understand that rise of other major powers in Asia -- Japan and India -- cannot be halted, it does adopt approaches that are counterproductive to a cooperative framework in Asia. India and Japan, for instance, will continue to look for an inclusive approach as opposed to the Chinese’ exclusivist approach that appears directed against India, US and Japan. India may not be willing to see an Asia dominated by any one power. India will certainly like to see a more powerful Japan taking a larger security role in Asia and global affairs. Japan will need to play a greater role in the emerging balance of power. However, Obama’s recent talk of common security or collective security in Asia appears to be premature as Asia is not yet ripe for such a mechanism. Asia has several inherent problems including Japan’s past militarism, unsettled boundary and territorial issues, inherent distrust among the major powers, and uncertainties about China’s military modernisation and its purpose. Therefore, competition for influence between China and Japan, China and the US, China and Russia and China and India are going to be some of the unfortunate features of the new Asian century. US choice as either an engaged Asian power or a reclusive offshore balancer will be an indicator to its key security partners in Asia about the credibility of the US extended deterrence strategy as well as the future Asian security matrix.