In his first six months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown considerable interest in foreign affairs. A multimedia outfit with a strong foreign affairs team, would raise Indian prestige enormously. And this, surely is the right time to start.
A Turk who supports an Arab cause is welcome from a distance. But a Turk casting himself in a regional role, scares the Arab as a potential Ottoman. That is where Erdogan is stuck at the moment.
Do the Kashmiri separatists by inviting the ISIS want to purge the Shias in J&K in their desire to join the failed state of Pakistan? It appears so, because the ISIS that they support is rabidly anti-Shia. In fact, the ISIS speaks of Sunni supremacy. The Islamic caliphate that they envisage has only a subsidiary and subordinate status for Shias.
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.
Eid-ul Zuha is on October 6. Attribute it to their black humour, but Arab diplomats not in the Saudi camp, have been floating a story: Abu Bakr al Baghdadi may like to celebrate Eid in Mecca. I had written three weeks ago that a Caliphate cannot be a Caliphate without Mecca.
The expanding Shia-Sunni conflict in the Muslim world is exposing vast gaps in popular understanding of the schism. For example when Zaine El Abedine Ben Ali, the Tunisian strongman was ousted, people thought a Shia dictator had fallen. From this they extrapolated that the Arab Spring was an anti-Shia plot.
On the Muslim world’s centre stage, the Nayef-Brzezinski duet roped in Pakistan’s Zia ul Haq for a mass production of Mujahideen in Afghanistan. These would fight the Soviets and be a bulwark against Shia Iran. Zia would help Arabize Pakistani Islam and wrench it from India’s composite culture.
The present hostage crisis, therefore should be accordingly dealt with. One cannot intervene in a sovereign state without invitation, as it has long-term consequences, specially in context of West Asia where long term energy imperatives are involved. Nevertheless, a mix of diplomacy backed by demonstration of military muscle (not intervention) can achieve the desired results. What good is INS Vikrmaditya for, if it cannot support Indian diplomacy at this critical period and that too in the region.