As German government advisors carefully note, already since the mid 1990s, the US and India have been systematically developing their military policy cooperation. The Indian armed forces are to "contribute (...), to military operations, to ease the strain on the Americans" and ensure the "surveillance of important Asian maritime routes", writes the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) quoting the Pentagon. Washington plans simultaneously "to bring [India] into position, to become a possible military counterweight to China" - a circumscription of the power scenarios circulating in Washington. President Bush has now announced an intensification of military policy cooperation with this South Asian nuclear power and has also envisaged prospects of cooperation in the nuclear field. Berlin and Brussels, who also seek to win India's favor, to get an economic and military foothold within the Chinese glacis, cannot compete with their rivals in Washington, fears the SWP, "politically the European Union continues to lose ground (...) as possible foreign and security policy partners to India."
Among Berlin's prompt reactions to the intensification of the Indian/US cooperation, whose development was obvious over an extended period of time, is Bernd Muetzelburg's appointment to the post of German Ambassador in New Delhi. Muetzelburg had directed the department for foreign and security policy in the Federal Chancellery and was a direct subordinate to the then director of the chancellery, Franc Walter Steinmeier, today's Minister of Foreign Affairs. In close cooperation with India ("G4") among others, Muetzelburg was responsible for the efforts to have Germany admitted as standing member of the UN Security Council. His gruff announcement of being able to "impose" Berlin's ascent, culminated in a resounding defeat last summer. Today Berlin hopes that with him in New Delhi, the German position can stand firm against competition from Washington. The prospects are good, alleges former Federal Intelligence Service (BND) president, Hans George Wieck, who had also served as ambassador to India. In view of the "uncertainties in the American-Indian relationship," New Delhi is secretly hoping for a stronger international assertion of power from the EU and "from Germany, its most prolific economic power."
Since German/Indian trade relations leave much to be desired, the federal and state governments, as well as, decisive German business associations are working out new Initiatives. Initial successes can, in the meantime, be seen. Over the last year, the German/Indian trade volume has risen approximately 20 percent to reach 7.6 billion Euros. The goal of attaining an exchange of goods reaching ten billion Euros, by 2010, seems within reach. In April the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, is due to visit the Hanover Fair, whose partner country this year is India. April 24, Singh, as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel are to be the keynote speakers of the star-studded business conference. In the meantime, German/US business competition, for the allocation of the denationalized markets in India, is becoming more acute. Last week, President Bush was accompanied, among others, by prospective US investors in the Indian food industry, who view the still growing billion population, as a profit-promising investment sector. Last November, a German business delegation, interested in the same industry, paid a visit to India in search of investment possibilities.
The arms sector will be less affected by this competition, explains the SWP. Since India pursues "an arms diversification policy," the current military cooperation with Germany will "not be impinged upon" by an increase in US weapons deliveries. "Germany is traditionally one of India's main arms suppliers," is heard from circles critical of arms exports. Occasionally, this South Asian nation was the second largest recipient of German arms exports outside of North America and Europe. In 2004, India received military equipment valued at more than 103 million Euros. The navy has always been priority. German manufacturers have furnished four submarines, among other things, and permits the production, under license, of sea-patrol aircraft. A current follow-up order valued at about 1.6 billion Euros, has been awarded the French shipyard industry, that will deliver "Scorpène" class submarines. Rumor has it that the Indian navy is upgrading its offshore bases in the Indian Ocean and expanding its military influence to Southeast Asia. The control over the sea routes of that area, is of no minor significance to trade between Germany and East, as well as, Southeast Asia.
The competition for the emerging Indian market between the western industrial nations leads to economic and diplomatic confrontations, whose significance shrinks, as soon as the issue centers on holding down China, India's neighbor. Therefore in Washington, Paris and Berlin, the recent arms agreements with India are seen as strategic decisions, for making provisions for the "big war" on the Chinese south flank. Accordingly, India, together with Japan and Australia, are to establish a terrestrial-maritime ring around the People's Republic. This goal serves the intended extension of the NATO Alliance toward the Pacific. At the recent NATO conference in Munich, the German chancellor also spoke in favor of this military expansion. The Indian "Prithvi" and "Agni" nuclear missiles are stationed in the north of the country and can reach from Jalandhar deep inside Chinese territory. The development of the "Agni 3" missile has a target radius, that includes Beijing.