The fact is that Mr Modi visited US after his visit to Japan and immediately in the wake of hosting the Chinese President Xi Jinping, served as formidable diplomatic leverage. In the prevailing geopolitical situation, India’s weight can decide the scales of US-Japan-South Korea-Vietnam alliance vis-à-vis China-Pakistan-North Korea. To the US, India’s strategic stance is also decisive with regard to the geopolitical evolution of Russia. Mr Modi played these strategic leverages deftly and with consummate diplomatic skill.

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.