Are South Asian Arms Sales in the U.S. National Interest? The Foreign Policy Implications

Author
Jon P. Dorschner
Content Type
Journal Article
Journal
American Diplomacy
Volume
2016
Issue Number
5
Publication Date
May 2016
Institution
American Diplomacy
Abstract
In 1989 I wrote an article urging the United States to stop selling weapons in South Asia.1 It took a liberal stance, arguing that such a step would enable the U.S. to occupy the moral high ground. The U.S. should not sell expensive weapons systems to some of the poorest countries on earth. The U.S. sells weapons to both India and Pakistan, which they then use in senseless wars against each other. The U.S. reduces its credibility as an honest broker by selling weapons to both protagonists, and cannot honestly mediate the Indo/Pakistan conflict. In his latest book Indian security analyst Bharat Karnad2 approaches this issue from a very different perspective. Karnad is a hardcore realist. He wants India to assume its rightful place among the world’s “great powers” and become a formidable military power. However, he sees Indian dependence on weapons systems imported from the United States and other developed nations as a drag on Indian potential. He calls for India to eschew imports and embark on a radical indigenization program to replace imported arms with those made by an expanded Indian arms industry that includes both the public and private sectors.
Topic
Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons , Arms Trade
Political Geography
South Asia, India, United States of America