Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is meeting with defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj in the Pradhānamantrī Kāryālaya (prime minister’s office) located in South Block in New Delhi’s Raisina Hill, to discuss his country’s $5 billion deal that he signed with visiting Russian president Vladimir Putin October 5 to buy a Russian S-400 air defense system.
The system is to be delivered by 2020, and they also signed deals for more space cooperation.
Modi is upbeat; having quieted the brouhaha over his $8.7 billion deal to purchase 36 French Dassault Aviation produced Rafale jet fighters where he successfully led the French government to accept Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defense Ltd. – a company that has no weapons production credentials — as its India partner.
The criticism was shrill and once again Modi assures his cabinet members, declaring, “You know that how we were offered Lockheed Martin’s F-16, Saab’s Gripen, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Russian MiG-35, but we preferred the Rafale. Indeed, these jets will enhance the combat ability of the Indian Air Force… we will be doing surgical strikes against Pakistan… China… anyone we want!
“About this Russian S-400. I know Donald Trump is uncomfortable because he has imposed sanctions on countries that trade with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors.
“I told him and Sushma, you too told him that we have to buy all of the world’s arms from wherever possible to face the twin threats from China and Pakistan.
“Sushma, you met with Donald, [U.S. Secretary of State Mark] Pompeo and [national security adviser John] Bolton in New York at the UN… I enjoyed seeing them squirm. [Modi guffaws heartily] They are in a difficult position when it comes to dealing with us. They need us to counter China’s growing assertiveness.
“And oh… did you note that he did not spare China from sanctions when they purchased the same Russian systems and fighter jets.
“You know how Donald loves to sell his beautiful weapons. He knows that we are doing a $100-billion upgrade of our military hardware.
“He was complaining that Russia is our number one arms supplier. So I told him aren’t you now our second biggest arms supplier.
“I reminded him that next year, we will be doing joint military drills with him, and we have established an exchange of sensitive military information.
“You know how he is. He was whining about our work with Iran on Chabahar port [in south-east Iran]. He loves business and business opportunities for his friends. He stopped whining when I told him about the golden opportunities for trade with Afghanistan with central Asian countries through India. [Modi guffaws again] … mind you it is through India!”
Swaraj offers, “Pardhan Mantri [prime minister], I did detect a hint of displeasure over our Russian deal when I met with Pompeo and Bolton.”
Modi cuts in sharply, “I will take care of that. I am going to stress that it is not just defense against China but also Pakistan. At this point I will hit the religious aspect. You know that Donald is a religious person. I am going to tell him that in Pakistan beef is like a staple food. Of course, despite living all his life in New York skyscrapers, he knows that beef is cow meat!
“Now here comes the strong argument. I am going to explain to him that we, the Hindus equate killing of a cow with the killing of a human being especially a Brahmin. It is a religious issue.
“Can anyone counter this argument?
“Right there we have a religious argument in our favor: Pakistan a cow-slaughterer is a threat to our Hindu beliefs.
“And fortunately in America we have partners. In Gainesville, Florida, we have the International Society for Cow Protection (ISCOWP).
“Sushma, you go ahead and ask [Indian ambassador to Washington, D.C. Navtej] Sarna to invite ISCOWP president William Dove, who also goes by the name of Balabhadra Dasa, to Washington and let him explain to the American public and the lawmakers about the the centrality of Mother Cow to our faith. Sarna should get Balabhdra in touch with Pawan Pandit, president of our Bhartiya Gau Raksha Dal (Indian Cow Protection Organization; BGRD).
“I am immediately establishing the Gau Rakshak Samman Puraskar (Cattle Guard Honor Awards) that I will bestow on Donald.
“Sushma and Nirmala, you know we live in lucky times. Donald will accept anything to pressure Pakistan… the Afghanistan mess is on his mind. The religious argument of having a defense against beef-eating Pakistan is a winner. So sanctions or not, we will buy weapons from everywhere to our heart’s desire!”
Modi concludes the meeting raising his glass of his favorite beverage, Gao Mutra (cow urine).