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India joins the West on Syrian crisis

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.  

Posted in Diplomacy, Military, Politics.

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7 Responses

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  1. Ashwin says

    India wants Syria also to be a Democratic Country like India and want Syria also to go to Dogs like India under democratic pattern Govt. Several reports say, though Col Qadhaffi ruled Libya with an Iron hand, he has done a lot to his people in

  2. ashok kumar says

    Certainly its not a good move by India..Its against our very old tradition. Its like destroying our identity and culture.

  3. Zahid Iftikhar says

    Unfortunately principles take a back seat when confronted with strategy. I am glad that Pakistan’s abstention goes against NATO powers.

    I have thought for quite some time that change is inevitable in Syria. Alawite-led regime was never popular. I would not mind them going away, if real democracy comes in Syria. But let it be a Syrian affair, not a NATO one. I just do not trust NATO powers.

    Peace from Lahore…

  4. tick says

    Suffice to say, the Indian stance is certainly not borne out of ideology.

    Non-alignment policy and NAM movement policy are two distinct policy. NAM movement policies emerged out of freedom movement against colonial history. Non-alignment arose from the long term need to be an independent power commensurate with the size and civilization status.

    Earlier the two policies often coalesced when it came to deployment of these policies in real world. Since 1998, the policy differentiation have become more discernible. The mature Chinese response to N-test, saw India opening up its economic linkage with China which has thereafter undergone spectacular growth. The contours of non-alignment policy implementation becomes easier to interpret if seen as efforts towards attaining independent pole status, while prioritizing development needs and safeguarding against real strategic threats.

    Non-alignment can no more be constrained by imperatives of NAM movement bonding, and even less by Left of Center ideology which in an earlier era had conditioned NAM movement to a required tilt against their former colonial masters.

    In Syrian case, deepening of democracy such that majority voices get heard; and also avoiding the looming civil war scenario has got precedence. In the absence of effective and timely measures, the alternative may be not just strife but emergence of a far steeper sectarian forces. The Security Council as a whole would be seen as acting responsibly from different vantages. Indian stance need not be interpreted as dilution of Non-alignment.

    Coming together of Indian and US perspectives, with their congruence in Constitutional values and increasingly overlapping security needs is a welcome sign, if not always inevitable.

  5. guest says

    i am unaware that anybody, china and russia themself, or outside commenters have read ‘moral grounds’ into their position. their position is based on LEGAL grounds. russia has made clear it doesn’t have a problem with the assad/military regime going away. it doesn’t approve of GCC autocrat-funded islamist militants taking over the regime by military force… leaving the unarmed civilian population which isn’t thrilled about either ‘side’ left outside in the dark.

    i’m not sure about the relevance of bringing up ‘corruption’ – since ‘realpolitiks’ was already brought up, why is corruption necessary or relevant to bring up?

  6. navi_reyd says

    India did right by voting in favour of the resolution. China and Russia vetoed the resolution, not on moral grounds, but ONLY because of their “interests” in Syria. But leftists be a little patient,, “The Ides Of March” are coming for Assad and his thugs. After Syria is free, it will be Iran’s turn!

  7. Ibne Ashfaque says

    Mr. Bhadrakumar can’t you see that Ghandhian India is slowly and surely moving closer into NATO’s tight embrace. My hearts goes out for the millions of Indians surviving on less than a dollar per day as they will ultimately pay the price of this relationship.

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