Admiral of the Pivot

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Admiral Sam Locklear, head of the United States Pacific Command. The largest of the several US military commands, the Pacific Command stretches from California to India, Alaska to the Antarctica.

Locklear provided some depth to the so-called “pivot to Asia” policy announced by US President Barack Obama and now expected to be the cornerstone of his foreign policy in the new term. Locklear will, in many ways, be the main US military officer to implement the pivot.

Locklear noted that the US military had been involved “in the past decade in two challenging wars directed in the West Asia area.” The US leadership had then taken time to stop and say “let’s reset and find our new priorities.” After a careful look, the president and the US leadership concluded that the priority for the US future lay in the Asia Pacific. It is a focus that Locklear said could be there for six to seven decades.

The pivot to Asia policy was more than just about the 60-40 repositioning of US military capability towards the Pacific which, as senior Indian officials have pointed out, would require only the movement of one carrier task force into the region.

One is that the US pivot would require restructuring of its power within the Asia Pacific.

“Our present layout is World War II based, with a concentration in Northeast Asia,” said Locklear. “Globalisation has changed our concerns to encompass such things as sea lanes of communication, cybersecurity, terrorism and so on.” In other words, there will be pivots within the pivot.

Two, the US pivot was about more than just military firepower.

“I want to reemphasize that the balance is not just military. We will also see a marked rise in the diplomatic contact of the US with this part of the world. The recent visits of Tim Geitner and Ben Bernanke are part of the totality of what we are trying to accomplish here,” he said. The rebalance to the Pacific is more than military, it encompasses diplomacy and information strategies, a broad range of signals.

Three, the US wanted to reinforce its existing alliances in Asia but also develop new relationships that it had, among the more notable ones being India.

“The last few decades have been among the most productive when it comes to the Indo-US relationship,” said Locklear. US and Indian interests align in a whole set of areas including counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance and areas like maritime domain security which helps ensure the free flow of goods and services and energy supplies.

“China of course is an area of common interest,” he said. He wasn’t surprised at the continuing island disputes that China was having and saw them as flowing from the rise of China’s economic and military influence. “The question is how as a global community we allow China to emerge and ensure it is a productive member of the international system.” This is common to the US and India, Locklear noted. “China has to make choices. We have to let China to mature in a secure environment so that it becomes a constructive part of the region,” he said. “Otherwise, the alternative is not pleasant.”

Part and parcel of the US and India relationship, for the Pacific Command was a view that the Indian military “should have the best equipment they can.” So his command fully backed US military sales to India and the need to streamline, shorten timelines and make more efficient the means by which such sales are made.

New Delhi is known to be taking a wait and watch attitude to the US pivot, largely because it believes the policy remains a work in progress and it believes India should wait to see how it is rolled out.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 3 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
  • Anonymous

    Paid article.


  • Kumars1

    Don’t get delirious, Sujatha. Regain your senses. Mr. Modi is still very much here and will be here for a long time. Just chill, my dear.


  • A

    Hello congress paid agent. Why did you mention other judge judgement that goes against governer?


  • DharmaRepublic

    The coloniall educated Indian fools, mirror the ideology of their paid colonial masters the congress party. They speak in english, they where educated in an english education, and then they comment on Indian matters, through an english pro christian viewing glass. British craeted congress, British created the colonial english media via the colonial education.PAID AND FLAWED ARTICLE.


  • DharmaRepublic

    The coloniall educated Indian fools, mirror the ideology of their paid colonial masters the congress party.


  • An outlaw

    “Very few people may have noticed it but in the recent panchayat elections in the state, 70 per cent of the local self government bodies have gone to the Congress and only 30 per cent to the BJP”

    oh god, the lady has no clue how Panchayat Elections are fought. Panchayat Elections are not fought on party symbols. So no party can have any claim on that. And as far as Congress’ 70% winning is concerned, they make this false claim every year. Don’t believe me, check the records.

    & rest of the article is equally @#$%^&*


  • Rakesh katyal

    In Australia the game is above the individual and the establishment but here in India the establishment and the individual are above the game.


  • Guest

    P. Chidambaram saved the government’s bacon after 26 / 11. Had Shivraj Patil continued till the general election, Bombay’s tryst with terror would have extracted a high political price. One hopes he can do enough with the economy to give UPA II a fighting chance in 2014.


  • guest2

    Sanghvi is so drunk on his hatred of MMS that he can’t see the appointment of Chidambaram for it is — a desperate attempt by the PM to save India’s sinking economy. The fact is that the PM of India has so much on his plate, that try as he might, he can’t give the economy his 100% attention, which is what it needs. Hence the need to bring in PC. This act of MMS is the very opposite of getting away from his role as a liberaliser.


  • everybodyplays
  • Vivek Agarwal

    The number of Fashion weeks and themes to the shows might be over-doing it – there has to be a phase of consolidation in the industry and the different fashion events in India!