Russia and China have vetoed the resolution on Syria sponsored by the United States, France, Germany and Portugal at the United Nations Security Council. This is not surprising, as Moscow and Beijing have been consistent in their opposition to any form of UNSC mandate being deliberately misused or misinterpreted by the Western powers to justify an eventual military intervention in Syria — as had happened over Libya an year ago.
The Russian and Chinese stance has strongly projected that the Syrian crisis can be resolved only by the people of that country and the role of the international community should be confined to facilitating a national dialogue between and amongst the Syrian groups and the government.
The latest Russian and Chinese veto has been prompted by the western draft resolution invoking Chapter 7 of the UN Charter which allows the Council to authorize actions ranging from economic and diplomatic sanctions to military intervention. Evidently, the resolution, if passed, could have opened the door for a Libya-style western intervention in Syria.
What comes as an absolute stunner is that India voted in favor of the resolution. Equally, India has taken a rather dubious stance to justify its vote — namely, that the Indian vote in favor of the resolution was “to facilitate a united action by the Security Council in support of the efforts of the Joint Special Envoy [Kofi Annan].” This is a specious plea ridden with sophistry.
India’s Statement in Explanation of the Vote read out by Ambassador Hardeep Puri a few hours ago at the Security Council plainly ignores that the western resolution invoked Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. In short, India fudged the core issue by ignoring it and sidestepping it in order to vote in favor of the resolution anyway.
This is a vote which is not consistent with India’s opposition to foreign military intervention to settle internal conflicts. Until recently, India would have opposed tooth and nail such a move on J&K. The Indian vote is particularly controversial since the LIbya analogy is in full view and what happened in Libya following the NATO intervention was a bloodbath.
Also, India cannot be unaware that like in Libya, the West’s agenda is “regime change” in Syria and the civil war conditions in that country have been orchestrated through covert intervention by various countries.
Why has India taken such a patently dishonest, unprincipled and highly opportunistic stance? The answer is clear: India wants to be on the “right side of history”, as US secretary fo state Hillary Clinton would have exhorted. Plainly put, India has decided to take an open stance on the side of the US-Israel-Saudi-Qatari axis in the geopolitics of the Middle East.
What explains this Faustian deal may never be fully known — unless, perhaps, there is a change of government after the general elections in 2014 — given the abysmal levels of corruption prevalent today in public life under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s watch. Suffice to say, the Indian stance is certainly not borne out of ideology. Ironically, this is all happening at a time when the establishment pundits are proclaiming India’s (re)discovery of “Non-Alignment.2″.
A footnote is also in order. The two countries which abstained during today’s voting were South Africa and Pakistan. That is to say, out of the 4 BRICS countries currently represented in the Security Council, India has been the lone exception in identifying with the western resolution on Syria. Pakistan’s abstention is a principled position; it cannot condone something that it wouldn’t like being done to it. India should have followed Pakistan’s footsteps.
If a western intervention indeed takes place in Syria, which seems increasingly likely, India will have blood on its hands — and on what remains of its conscience as an ancient civlisation that has experienced the horrors of colonial rule.