L'armement de l'Inde au cœur des relations avec les Etats-Unis

NEW DELHI – La progression des ventes d’armes américaines à l’Inde est régulièrement citée comme la preuve de l’approfondissement de la relation de défense entre les deux pays. Mais la viabilité à long terme de cette relation, dans laquelle l’Inde est davantage client que partenaire, reste un sérieux sujet de préoccupation pour les Indiens. La Déclaration conjointe sur la coopération de défense entre l’Inde et les Etats-Unis, publiée le 28 septembre dernier, et qui comprend l’intention d’aller au-delà de la vente d’armes pour établir une coproduction d’équipements militaires, constitue-t-elle un point tournant ou n’est-elle qu’un artifice destiné à apaiser l’Inde ?

Les moteurs du développement de la relation stratégique sont évidents. Depuis 2006, les échanges commerciaux bilatéraux ont quadruplé, pour atteindre 100 milliards de dollars environ cette année. Et au cours de la décennie écoulé, les exportations américaines d’armement ont grimpé en flèche, de seulement 100 millions de dollars à plusieurs milliards de dollars par an.

Compte tenu de la baisse des dépenses militaires aux Etats-Unis mêmes et de la situation tendue des autres marchés à l’exportation, les entreprises de défense américaines ont cherché à accroître leurs ventes à l’Inde, qui est aujourd’hui le plus grand importateur mondial d’armement. Le contexte politique est favorable à leurs projets : l’Inde mène actuellement plus d’exercices militaires avec les Etats-Unis qu’avec n’importe quel autre pays.

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