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India should pursue its non-aligned foreign policy, not side with any of global power

By Prof. Sudhanshu Tripathi* 

Once again the India’s foreign policy finds itself placed into a dilemma over Hamas attack upon Israel. And that pertains to choosing a side between the US led NATO powers assisted by several western nations and the consolidating Russia-China-Iran-North Korea alliance accompanied by many of the Arab states in West Asia. Evidently, the sudden terror attack by Hamas on Israel and Israeli counter-attack on Hamas have indeed created an unprecedented situation not only in and around Gaza but in the entire West Asian region by polarizing the aforesaid two power blocs.
And that may most probably spread in all over the world to assume a global catastrophic dimension, most probably as a Third World War, with higher possibility of nuclear weapons being used, given the vested interests of the most of the global and major powers like the US led NATO powers and other western powers versus Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Turkey and most of the Muslim states in the region including dreaded terrorist networks like Hezbollah, Huti revolutionaries, Islamic State etc., apart from Jaish-e-Mohammad and Tehreek-e-Insaf and many other such terror outfits from Pakistan having close connections and similar objectives and goals with the former ones.
As obvious, how should India respond to such an unprecedented human crisis as India had unilaterally supported the Palestinians as against Israel during the long past decades since late 1940s up to late 1990s when New Delhi for the first time formally established the bilateral relations with Israel. Since then the country continues to diversify its relations with Tel Aviv and that includes bilateral cooperation as regards defense, security, terror, potable water from sea, climate and other r elevant areas. Because India continues to enjoy its long-trusted friendship with Russia, on the one hand, it (New Delhi) can’t afford to ignore its newly-forged consolidating bilateral relations with the US, on the other. Hence New Delhi has to invoke its nuanced stand so as to offbeat its hitherto long-practiced foreign policy towards the Middle East or West Asia.
Why may this happen in all probability? That, of course, needs to analyze and understand the prevailing international scenario marred by regional wars and consequent insecurity and instability throughout the world. It is largely during the recent past that the world has witnessed several turmoil in the form of interventions, aggressions in addition to testing of bombs, missiles and other latest generation of lethal weapons including nuclear bombs and such guided missiles etc.. And that still continues with full might even today.
The role of China, North Korea, Iran and few clandestine operations by some of the rouge states like Lebanon and Libya in the Middle East and Pakistan in South Asia may be significant in this respect, though South Korea, Japan, Israel and the US can’t be absolved due to being hectically engaged in the very same endeavour, albeit pursuing under compulsion to the aggressive actions of the aforesaid aggressive and interventionist states. The role of Pakistan is especially relevant here as Islamabad taken keen interest in supporting Muslim in all over the world brotherhood as it had recently dispatched terrorists to help Azerbaijan warriors fighting against Armenia.
In this scenario, the Hamas action against Israel has obviously opened the Pandora’s box in the emotionally surcharged Middle East region, hitherto long burning as a boiling cauldron involving almost all regional partner-states, fighting brutal fratricidal wars among themselves. Although Arab-Israel conflict is perhaps the worst persisting conflict in the world today for sake of reclaiming homeland for Palestinians whereupon the Israeli Jews also extend their pious claim of being their own mother land.
The seeds of this conflict obviously lie in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 as the region had been under British mandate as part of the then prevailing Mandate System evolved by the United Nations, almost as the replica of the earlier ‘white man’s burden’ policy during peak of colonialism. Unfortunately the mandate administrators, mostly Anglo-European states, despite ostensibly owing allegiance to the principles of freedom, equity, equality, fraternity and democracy, failed to execute these noble gospels on the ground level in reality and instead sowed mistrust and played divide and rule tactics to divide the native community living therein for furthering their partisan interests to smoothly rule the unknown and different race or nationality with maximum ease and comfort and also to loot the natural resources available there in plenty for boosting their economy and social and political strength.
And that evidently led to immediate arousal of deep resentment and bitter animosity among them (native population) against the foreign mandate rulers which soon witnessed inter-community clashes between rulers and ruled including the pro-ruler sections of the native population leading to brutal violence and killings of the large number of common masses, thereby further instigating the mounting of tensions and consequent enactment of gruesome acts of violence and terrorism in the entire region.
Thus the West Asia saw the onset of terrorism as a tool or weapon to serve the sectarian interests of the deprived sections of both the Muslim or Jews community and that goes on almost uninterrupted since then despite three Arab-Israel Wars remaining undecided and the Camp David Accord of 1978 for establishing peace and security for both of the warring nationalities.
With the passage of time, few more terror groups have emerged for championing the cause of Palestinian home land and among those the Hamas has already occupied the scene as a powerful organization after the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) of late Yasser Arafat with perhaps largest following of the Palestinian community. Interestingly Hamas is said to have been strengthened and evolved by the Israeli government itself as a counter-force of the PLO during its climax under late Arafat.
But being a terror organization, Hamas can’t be considered as a genuine pressure group to pursue the socio-economic and political interests of the Palestinian Muslims in the true sense of the term. Hence the Hamas terror against Israel must be crushed to its end so that never to resurface again in any likelihood.
However innocent residents in Gaza must be protected and for that Israel must follow the Laws of War and must not drop bombs or missiles on civilian population and their peaceful destinations. Instead of evacuating Gaza, the native population residing there be immediately and fully protected by providing safer areas with electricity, water, routine life-sustaining commodities besides schools, colleges and hospitals by the United Nations Security Council through its peace keeping operations and such force to be urgently united and commanded for this end. And for this end, all members of the UN Security Council including permanent ones must immediately unite to collectively pursue the much-needed humanitarian assistance at this crucial juncture for the war-torn residents of Gaza, while not forgetting that they are also the human-beings in distress, who ought to be served with all dignity and compassion. Further, Hamas must be made to surrender and must be compelled to release all the Israeli hostages unconditionally to pave way for the possible cease fire.
As regards India’s role in this crisis, the country must activate its diplomacy, being the founding father of the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) and exercising enough influence in most of the states in the West Asian region apart from enjoying a peaceful, compassionate and accommodating friendly image with all nations in the world. This is so on the basis of New Delhi’s ancient cultural distinguishing features and so-evolved rich traditional heritage projecting the nation as the Vishwa Guru and reflecting ahimsa (non-violence), apramad (non-coceit), vishwa shanti (world peace), vasudhaiv kutumbaka (the whole world as a family) and many more. Hence New Delhi must come forward in association with like-minded peace-loving nations like Australia, Japan, England, South Korea to resolve the long-sustaining complicated Arab-Israel conflict forever, which has already taken a toll of millions of Muslims and Jews so far.
Thus it will be very appropriate here for India to remain non-aligned and pursue its ever-green non-aligned foreign policy amidst the ongoing crisis, instead of aligning with any of the global power - either the US or Russia - just to complicate the contentious issue to degenerate into a global catastrophe. Of course, it is a tightrope walk for New Delhi to maintain its nuanced stand while balancing between both America and Russia which are hectically engaged today into a bitter confrontation. It may happen as nothing is beyond human endeavour.
---
*Dept. of Political Science, MDPG College, Pratapagarh (UP)

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