The standoff in Ladakh takes the mind back to External Affairs Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee’s 1979 visit to Beijing. That visit was conceived in a context. Until 1971, with the Cold War at full throttle, a tiresome parity existed between India and Pakistan.
Hard to believe, but Mosul, currently in the news, would have been ours today had Atal Behari Vajpayee not played spoil sport.
It would be useful for Sushma Swaraj to recall the goings on in Atal Behari Vajpayee’s cabinet. L.K. Advani and Jaswant Singh had agreed to send Indian troops to govern the Kurdish North of Iraq, exactly the region the Americans have now returned to in military formation.
As I mentioned at the outset, the attack on Syria, should it happen, will be the umpteenth US-led military action against a Muslim country since the collapse of the Soviet Union. I mention the Soviet Union repeatedly because unprecedented military might in the possession of a nation in decline is a dangerous new global reality. New Delhi’s silence in such situations may be commended by those who place a value on cunning and craft. But cunning and craft towards what end?
I like to imagine neither Jawaharlal Nehru nor Atal Behari Vajpayee would have remained silent if there any risk to Damascus, the world’s oldest, continuous habitation and the great civilization of which it is the capital.