The United States & India: Rocky Waters Ahead?

By: Matthew A. Roberts

In the past two years, many pundits have pondered the future prospects of Indian-American relations. Are ties really so tight? Is India a threat?

In the economic realm, to many Americans, India certainly remains a menace. Western countries are unable to compete with India’s slave-labor market, and India has captured countless American jobs through ominous outsourcing. First-world countries simply cannot compete with India, which is why some economists – even Republican free-trade enthusiasts – have suggested that America should buoy more trade barriers.

But the threat does not stop here. We know that India has at least 65 active nuclear warheads, of which the delivery systems differ. Some have short-range capacity, aimed at Pakistan, but India has engaged in research to develop ICBMs. The production of nuclear weapons persists today and, even under Rice’s plans, India still develops nuclear weapons vis-à-vis Pakistan and China. There also are grave concerns that India has shared or will share nuclear technology with Iran.

What remains deeply disturbing about India increasing its nuclear weapons is its instability. Terrorists, bombings, assassinations, potential secessions, and violent struggles persistently plague the Indian Government – so often that incidents rarely make the international news. Given the constant chaos, it is likely that nuclear weapons will someday fall into unfriendly hands.

At least 14 percent of India is Muslim, making its Muslim population at least 140 million, and growing. The Hindu religion rarely converts people, and Hindus have smaller families. The Muslims, however, with their large families, are actively converting much of the countryside. At the present conversion and growth rates, some have concluded that by the year 2050 the majority of Indians will be Muslim, at which time you will have a Muslim state with a massive nuclear arsenal. In the meantime, much strife will endure between Hindus and Muslims, making many areas of the country perennially unstable.

Muslim terrorists, however, are not alone. Incidents of Hindu terrorism, even against Christians, have also risen. As reported recently by Agape Press (March 14,2006), Hindu terrorists in the state of Rajasthan, in some cases supported by the local police, have attacked Christian missionaries who work at local charities and orphanages. And as evidenced by the recent protests, anti-Western sentiment still persists in India among the Hindu population.

Another problem confronting India is the fact that the Indian Government blatantly lies about its HIV infection rate. International organizations and public health experts vehemently dispute the Government’s “official statistics” downplaying the HIV epidemic. In reality, health experts argue, India has surpassed South Africa with the most HIV infections in the world, with infections spreading at epidemic rates. The reason India lies about these figures, more than likely, is to maintain a pro-business posture. But many Western countries recognize the reality, and have begun to restrict travel and visas from India, due to the recent infections.

In short, India is reliably unstable, and an unstable country is an unreliable ally. There has been much unjustified hype about prospect American-Indian relations. But the more analysts look at India, the more perilous it appears, and the future of friendly American-Indian relations seems fickle at best. Americans should tread with great trepidation.

Matthew A. Roberts is a freelance columnist whose articles have appeared in dozens of publications. He also co-edits a weblog at:

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