Courting Indian Country
Russia has indicated that it will continue with assisting Iran's nuclear program, increasing the likelihood of a nuclear-armed Iran. Between the soft efforts of the European Union 3 (EU-3) to stop the Iranian nuclear program and Russia's encouragement and support, the Mullahs of Iran are sure to continue their quest to become a nuclear power.
The impact of Russia's support of Iran's nuclear program is both far-reaching and short sighted. Russia is indicating that it is separating itself from the West by co-opting the theocratic regime of Iran. Russia's myopia is clear: they do not recognize the interrelated threat from Islamist states and terrorist groups. The murderers of Beslan ultimately receive support from the Iranians via their tacit support of al Qaeda and Hezbollah. The net of the Islamic terrorist groups is cast far and wide.
In light of Russia's defection, the United States must think long and hard about finding a new and powerful strategic ally in Asia. India is that natural ally.
India is a large, democratic, developing nation strategically positioned in Asia, bordering on Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and close to other nations in Southeast Asia where terrorists operate. Pakistan is a nuclear power that is potentially susceptible to an Islamist takeover. No doubt any operation to secure or destroy Pakistan's nuclear weapons in the event of an Islamist takeover would be conducted in cooperation with India. Bangladesh is becoming a haven for radical Islamists.
India has a longstanding problem with Islamist terrorists, most notably in Kashmir. These Kashmiri terrorists work in close conjunction with al Qaeda and its International Islamist Front. Denying Kashmir as a base of operations for al Qaeda is a strategic goal in Asia.
The Indian people also are supportive of an Indian-American alliance. A recent poll was conducted in India about America, and the results are encouraging. Americans were viewed in a positive light by a large majority of Indians. The main reason cited was terrorism:
But it was terrorism that ultimately brought Delhi and Washington together, says Rajamohan. "After the attacks of Dec. 13 [on India's parliament building] the US for the first time defined groups based in Pakistan as terrorists. They began to hold Pakistan accountable for their actions."
The time is right to actively pursue a strategic relationship with India. The loss of Russia as an ally on the war on terror is both disappointing and difficult to offset, but a strong relationship with India can mitigate the damage and improve our odds in fighting against the enemies of civilization.