America must build hypersonic weapons with India

If US sanctions shattered India’s military development alliance with Russia, its vital hypersonic weapons program could be slowed at a critical time when the threat from China is growing.

Today there is a race for dominance in Asia that may well determine the fate of the rest of the world. China, the world’s second largest economy and a burgeoning military and technological juggernaut, seeks to control the entire Indo-Pacific – and Beijing is poised to accomplish that task. But Asia is a dynamic economic zone. Nations like India, Japan and Australia all call the Indo-Pacific “home”. These countries have no desire to become vassal states of China. And since the United States is also a Pacific power, countries like Japan and India have a natural ally against China’s unwanted new imperialism.
At its core, however, the race to dissuade China from carrying out its neo-imperialist agenda for the region is an arms race. China’s ambitions are thwarted by the presence of US military forces in the region and the growing relationship between the US military and local Asian powers. US military dominance, however, depends on its technological supremacy.
The United States has been the undisputed master of technological innovation for decades. Unfortunately, in the 21st century, America’s competitive advantages in high technology have eroded. Great stagnation has occurred in the US tech sector just as other countries, notably China, are springing up to compete with the Americans for dominance. Today, China is at least on par with the Americans technologically. The more China innovates and the less the United States does, the more it will have a negative impact on the American military position in the Indo-Pacific.
Throughout the 1990s and beyond, the Chinese government ordered its young people to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) so that one day China would be the source of new technological innovations rather than the West. The West, meanwhile, took its position as the dominant technological power for granted. Thirty years later, the results show that China has caught up and is starting to forge ahead at a crucial time.
Last summer, China stunned the West by successfully testing a sophisticated hypersonic vehicle. Hypersonic weapons can render most modern air defenses obsolete. Few countries have their own hypersonic capabilities, which means deterrence won’t work anytime soon. Moreover, China’s hypersonic capabilities are superior to those of the United States. Thus, a serious power imbalance exists between China and America that could fundamentally threaten the American-led order in the Indo-Pacific.
The globalization that American leaders championed after the Cold War clearly did not directly benefit the United States. Yet it has improved many other countries (notably China). As America has globalized its technology and knowledge sectors, other emerging countries, such as China, India and Japan, have benefited. Some American leaders have tried to undo the effects of globalization. However, a total reset of globalization seems to be nothing more than the fantasy of rabid ideologues. And since it is not only an American rival, like China, that has grown in power and strength through globalization, but also allies, like Japan and India, Washington should embrace this new reality and l use to America’s advantage.
After all, China is not the only Indo-Pacific country working to develop breakthrough hypersonic weapons. Japan and India are too. The same goes for Australia. Here are three of the four members of the new quadrilateral (quadrilateral) alliance, whose mission is to prevent China from dominating the Indo-Pacific, working on the same cutting-edge technology that China clearly believes is essential for them to achieve to dominate the Indo-Pacific. -Peaceful.
The Americans, for their part, have spent years and billions of dollars researching hypersonic weapons. Yet despite all that time and money spent, America has little to show for it. This American failure reminds us how wrong American leaders have been in shipping America’s industrial base overseas. Fortunately, however, America has many friends who are more than willing to join forces with Uncle Sam to build next-generation weapons that will deter autocratic rivals, like China.
According to a recent Atlantic Council assessment of hypersonic weapons capabilities in the Indo-Pacific, Japan will have its own hypersonic weapons by 2025. India is second only to Japan. It strains credulity that Washington did not create a joint development program between the Quad states to build advanced hypersonic weapons together, as an alliance.
There is, however, an additional complication. India has teamed up with another US rival, Russia, to develop its powerful BrahMos II hypersonic cruise missile (as well as many other key components of its military). Relying on advanced components from a Russian defense company, India managed to cut R&D time to develop this advanced weapon system. Yet, due to the ongoing tension between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine, the threat of US sanctions looms over the critical BrahMos II project that could kill the program. Russia’s recent illegal (and misguided) invasion of Ukraine has placed India and other powers in a precarious position. What were once, frankly, ridiculous US sanctions threats that threatened to undermine India’s fighting prowess in its continued competition with China, are now on the table. These sanctions against Russia and any nation or company that does business with Russia could impinge on India’s ability to rapidly develop hypersonic weapons. To cripple India’s ability to reliably and effectively produce its own hypersonic weapons because New Delhi has partnered with Moscow, which is now at odds with Washington on a European issue, is foolish. As Elbridge Colby explained in his recent book, the United States must focus on countering China’s rise in the Indo-Pacific now before Beijing is simply too strong to be deterred. India is a key ally in this fight. But if US sanctions shattered India’s military development alliance with Russia, its vital hypersonic weapons program could be slowed at a critical time when the threat from China is growing. It could also prevent other potential Indo-Pacific partners, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, from better defending themselves against China. These other countries want to buy the systems built in India to oppose the rise of China. And BrahMos II could be decisive in preventing any future Chinese attack on targets in the Indo-Pacific. A fight between the United States and Russia in Europe cannot be allowed to stop India’s vital development of hypersonic weapons, which could prove decisive in deterring any future conflict Beijing may seek to ignite in Indo. -Peaceful.
Rather than punishing an important ally like India for working with Russia, Washington should take the great gift that has fallen into its lap and promote India’s ingenuity. This weapon is vital to the defense of the American-led order in the Indo-Pacific. It will also help other countries resist an increasingly belligerent China. Together, India and America should build more complex hypersonic weapons that could also directly threaten China. While it would be great to see these weapons developed exclusively in the United States, unfortunately that is no longer possible.
If China dominated new weapons technologies, such as hypersonic missiles, American security guarantees would be worthless. The region will be lost to China. America’s allies are now more capable than ever. It’s time for the United States to fully embrace these allies and recognize that there are some things it can no longer do alone, even if it means allowing these partners to do business with other rivals. , like Russia.
Brandon J. Weichert is the author of “Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower” (Republic Book Publishers). He is a geopolitical analyst who runs The Weichert Report: World News Done Right and can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.

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