India should not rely on US; Russia more trustworthy: expert

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (UNI) An expert has favoured India joining the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), a strategic framework of the CIS states, while having good ''working relations'' with the US for the country to hold on to its sole overseas airbase in Dushanbe, the Tajikistan capital.

Dr Kunal Ghosh, an IIT Professor, expressing his views while analysing Indian strategic interest in Central Asia with 'Organiser', the RSS mouthpiece, found India's foreign policy ''ill-advised and short sighted'' in putting all its eggs in the US basket.

''India can have limited joint naval exercise with the US but should not enter into any military or strategic pact with that country,'' he said.

India's sole military facility at Ayni, outside the Tajikistan capital, had been developed under a bilateral agreement in 2002 and the Border Roads Organisation had completed refurbishment of the Ayni military base after being 24 months behind schedule, Dr Ghosh said.

''India is likely to be evicted from its sole albeit fledgling overseas military facility under pressure from Russia, which has considerable influence on Tajikistan because it is concerned about New Delhi's ties with Washington,'' he added.

Dr Ghosh said it would be ''sheer stupidity'' to think that the US will help India to contain China and it will have to have a strong army and airforce to meet the Chinese challenge.

China, he said has 900 billion dollars worth US treasury bonds and helps maintain world dollar standard. It means that China subsidises US consumer and US indebted to China.

China on its part, Dr Ghosh predicted, would continue to maintain ''aggressive posture'' in Arunachal Pradesh and military thrusts and jabs along the border but never engage on Indian side of Himalayan ridgeline. It may have superior strength in the inter-continental ballistic missile and nuclear arms but infantry management across the mountains was another matter. China also remembers its skirmishes with Vietnam in the late 1970s when the latter did not even possess strong airforce but yet gave the Chinese a 'bloody nose'.

Communists in China considered Buddhism as a competing religion and a threat and were prosecuting any organised Buddhist activity in mainland China such as Falun Gong. However, they were tollerating organised Lama Buddhism in Tibet had circumscribed it to a great extent. India must make a realistic assessment of any internal situation and should neither whip up or get carried away by emotions, he wrote.

India must keep up its vigil, take local action, lodge protest when required but should not get perturbed but maintain adequate military strength along the Chinese borders to prevent any attempts to repeat its 1962 like limited action. India's priorities should be to have security along the border and economic development, the prof said.

He said Russia always had been a ''reliable friend'' of India while the record of US was mixed. What would be the standing of India in Central Asia after 123 nuclear agreement with the US.

Russia and China were also drawing closer in the face of western hostile posturing, it would only mean that the ''time was running out'' for India, he said.

The writer also said that if China can have close economic ties with the US, it should not be difficult for India to have its traditional friendship with Russia and have working relations with the US, he concluded.

UNI MCN SK HS1120

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