One of the highlights of the latest Modi U.S. trip was the admission of India in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). It is important because it opens doors for various defence deals involving missile and drone technology. What is not really being highlighted though, is the fact that US is planning to sell Predator Drones to India, as an immediate consequence of this deal. And this could have huge consequences on the future of India!
Predator Drones have a dodgy history. Of course this fact is ill reported in the mainstream US Media. No country likes knowing about the bad deeds being carried out by its military. The word of the recklessness of the U.S. Drone program, however, has even got into popular American media. Criticism notwithstanding, Obama has increased the drone strikes 9 times as compared to Bush. Noble Peace Prize winner ladies and gentlemen!. Even with the state of the art capabilities of the US Army, the current surveillance and intelligence is not sufficient to provide good accuracy of drone targets. In the hands of Indian military, one can expect only worse!
Now, the US can afford to experiment with the drones because they are not doing it on their own soil. The civilian casualties are merely collateral damage and more importantly, merely Pakistanis. Pakistani government is heavily compensated and supported for this. We however, could only use the drones in our own country as neither Pakistan nor China is going to allow India to fly armed drones in their territory.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize where would the Indian military use their drones. India is seemingly impressed by the use of predator drones in Northern Pakistan. Probably because of the similarity of the terrain with Kashmir. One could argue how much the drone attacks are responsible for the insurgency and chaos seen in Northern Pakistan, but only a fool will say that they have had zero contribution. Pakistan has been struggling to counter the terrorism emanating from that zone, leading to more drone attacks. It is a vicious circle and it is only getting worse.
This is not to say that all military action in Kashmir should be stopped. That would be a disaster of Iraq proportions. But relying on technology which increases the capabilities of destruction, without guaranteeing reasonable accuracy is definitely not going to solve many problems. If anything, it will create greater problems as seen in Pakistan.
The solution thankfully is simple. We are not obliged to buy the Drones being sold to us. Just like we ‘guarded’ net neutrality through social media, we can tell the government to not waste money on harmful toys. Drones are not deterrents, and their use till now has only led to increasing chaos.
So if you get time off from outraging over censorship, help save some lives from unreliable technology. The money could be used for better purposes. Say #NoToPredatorDrones.