India-Saudi cooperation finesses past Pakistan

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ejazr, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    India-Saudi cooperation finesses past Pakistan

    SIRAJ WAHAB RIYADH | 1st Jul

    When it comes to the issue of terrorism, Saudi Arabia has always adopted a policy of zero tolerance. It is just that there has not been a clear understanding among many Indians about Saudi Arabia and its strategic security and foreign policy shift.

    The deportation of the alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba-trained Indian terror suspect Zabihuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal points to the seriousness with which Saudi Arabia takes its relationship with India. Media analysts and foreign policy experts have detailed the deliberations that took place between the two countries in the run-up to Zabihuddin Ansari's expulsion.

    The change in Indo-Saudi ties did not come overnight. Before embarking on what everyone now describes as the ice-breaking visit to India in January 2006, the Saudi king and custodian of Islam's two holy mosques, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud made it very clear that Riyadh's relationship with New Delhi will be independent of Islamabad. That was the key.

    Riyadh was keenly aware of New Delhi's reservations. It tried to ally them as much as it can on various occasions. It is only now that it has been proved beyond any shadow of doubt that Riyadh meant business and that it indeed looked at India without the Pakistani prism.

    "Zabihuddin Ansari's deportation is a turning point in the history of Indo-Saudi ties," said a Gulf-based analyst. "In one stroke, Saudi Arabia has won over an entire country on a deeply sensitive issue; this, to me, is a game-changer; the mileage that will accrue from this for Saudi Arabia will be phenomenal, because perception is everything, and it removes all elements of doubts whatsoever."

    Saudi Arabia takes a long time to refashion its foreign policy but once it does then it stands by it. On many occasions, it took a stand that was in stark contrast to that of Islamabad. It was Riyadh that tried, and still tries off and on, to get India into the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), much to the chagrin of Islamabad.

    Talmiz Ahmad, the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, says Indo-Saudi relations were strengthened with interaction at the highest level when King Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud visited India in 1955, followed, within a year by the visit of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to Saudi Arabia. "Later visits were those of then Crown Prince Faisal to India in 1959 and the visit of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1982. However, it is the visit of King Abdullah to India in January 2006, when he was our guest at Republic Day, that the foundations of the contemporary relationship were laid," he said.

    Despite all these visible signs, Indians continued to bracket Saudi Arabia with Pakistan. They saw the mighty Gulf nation merely as a petrol-pumping station. In any case, the relationship was never put to test till Zabihuddin Ansari arrived on the scene. This was the case that led to a greater bonding between the two nations. "If the reports are true, then we all can assume how tough it must have been for Riyadh to deport a person who was said to be in the Kingdom on a Pakistani passport," said a top Saudi editor. "Here is proof that Saudi Arabia will not brook any third-party interference vis-à-vis its relationship with India."

    The Saudi editor agrees that there has always been this lingering fear and suspicion in New Delhi that when it came to a crunch issue with Pakistan, Riyadh will not be on its side. "The Indians have always tried to bracket Saudi Arabia with Pakistan, and I don't blame them," he said. "However, since the mid-2000s Riyadh took a completely different view of India. It saw a successful and rising India as a stabilizing force in the region, and then it started reorienting its foreign policy."

    He is, however, quick to admit that good ties with India do not come at the expense of Pakistan. "Pakistan remains a dear friend, but this issue about Zabihuddin Ansari relates to terrorism ... an issue on which Saudi Arabia has shown no compromise... Once convinced about the incontrovertible proof of Zabihuddin Ansari's nationality, Saudi Arabia had no second thoughts on what to do with him," he said. "Saudi Arabia is against its territory being used for any terror-related activities against any nation in the world."

    A significant role in bringing the two countries together has been played by the Indian community, which has participated enthusiastically in all the major development projects in Saudi Arabia. It is not surprising that Indians, now numbering nearly 2.2 million, constitute the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom. In turn, the Kingdom is the largest source of crude oil for India, meeting 25%of India's oil imports.
     
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  3. ^ inspite of things as pointed out . . . i'll still be skeptic . . ! !

    you can never reliably expect KSA to support India against Pakistan openly . . . they are quite simply not natural allys
    Pakistan and KSA are. . .
    from my very narrow POV. . . KSA's relationship with india is at best driven by economic considerations. . .
    and by its desire to keep a leash on Pakistan .

    IMHO Abu jundal is but a sacrifical pawn . . . . offered at Pakistan's expense . . masterstroke indeed . .!
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
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  4. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Most countries including KSA follow geo-political policies from a realist paradigm.

    In this case, anti-India terrorism being planned or getting refuge on Saudi soil is just not in Saudi interests. Particularly when the Saudis are counting on makeing a bigger strategic partnership with India on issues like Iran and greater economic partnerships. The terrorism issue is quite important to us and visible action on this issue by the Saudis is certainly welcome but also incumbent as well on the Saudis.


    However, just as a background, the author SIRAJ WAHAB is a regular reported for Arab news and has decades of reporting history in Saudi Arabia and can reasobly be expected to be able to potray the establishment's pov. I particulary invite attention towards the tail end of the piece and the responses of the "top Saudi editor". I would hazard a guess that this refers to Khaled Al-Maeena who is the editor of Arab News and the largest English Daily in the ME.

    In otherwords, you can't expect the Saudis to become enemies of Pakistan and help India in attacking Pakistan. You might have better chance to do so with the Afghans who are probably are more inclined to do so. But at the same time, use of Saudi soil for terrorism is a strict no and India will no longer be looked at though the Pakistani prism.

    So you can see even in the media coverage of India being largely positive in the past couple of years and it would come as no surprise to those following these changes that a gallup survey done in Nov 2010 showed that the Saudis had the highest approval ratings for India in the Arab world. Although not as high in some of the sub-saharan AFrican countries.
    India's Leadership Unknown to Much of World
     
  5. i see ur points & i agree with
    But this doesn't imply that they are in principle against anti india terrorism . . .

    That their recent benevolence towards India arises from their geo-political policies from a
    realist paradigm as u put it . . .is somewhat true
    and that their newfound respect for India is based on it rising economic status is . . . only natural for Saudis .
     
  6. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    Also relavant is that Saudis are aware of Indian cut on Iranian oil imports.
    Instead of allies, I'd rather say they are neutral. They didn't give up Jundal until we produced the ultimate evidence of DNA.
    Their co-operation or the lack of it are completely driven on case basis. Too soon to count them as allies.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  7. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    The Saudis basically supported the militant Islamic groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan with two main objectives: (1) To counter the Soviet/Communist expansion as part of the global alliance with the US and West. (2) To counter Iranian expansion in Af-Pak

    Anti-India terrorism wether as a matter of principle or policy never was a part of Saudi calculations. At most Saudis could be indifferent to it if not actively against it. Ofcourse this doesn't mean there could be uninteded spill overs for example in the funding issue. The best example of this is the 9/11 attacks by Saudi origin AQ members that came from the remnants of militant Islamic proxies that were being used in the Af-Pak region. 9/11 and the later 2003 attacks of AQ within Saudi Arabia was a wake up call for revamping this policy and implementing the rollback.

    The other important thing to understand about the Saudi political system is that the Saudi King and his associates (mainly from the Royal family but also important tribes and burecrats) have the final say in policy matters. If the King is political strong i.e. percieved to be a honest / religious / non-corrupt leader ; he can take even unpopilar decisions. An example is when King Faisal opened up the girls schooling in the 50s for the first time. There was enormous backlash from the conservative wahabbi heartlands and warnings of protest if he goes ahead with it. He took on the conservatives theologically in debates and the more militant among those who took to the gun to prevent girls from going to school were mowed down in a brief but important gunfight near Riyadh. Today there are more females in higher education than males in Saudi Arabia.

    On the other hand, you had King Fahd who was infamous within Saudi Arabia for having a wayward lifestyle even before becoming a King. Wellknown for wasting the new found oil wealth gambling away in Las Vegas and Spain as well as antiques of his son. The result was an overpowering influence of the Wahabbi establishment on the social affairs as a quid pro quo and the excuse of the Afghan "Jihad" were the populace was directed so as to not rise up against his actions.

    With King Abdullah in the saddle, the situation is again different as he has the moral standing to take on the conservative establishment and clip their powers that had been given because there is no such "vices" that he can be attacked on like King Fahd. So its possible to see the Saudi led movement to recognise Israel as part of the Arab peace plan which was basically a King Abdullah idea. The cut down on funding to religious establishment. Clipping of powers to the religious police. And even establishing of co-ed educational instutions and programs to increase women work participation ratio. Something that met oppostion by the conservatives at every step.

    So if the Saudi political establishment decides that having India as a pillar of stability in the Gulf region is essential to Saudi interests, then they have the wherewithal to make it happen.


    And ofcourse. there is no country in the world that acts out of benovelence and nothing else.
    If you go back 20 years, the US and West in general were preparing to sanction India on HR abuses on Kashmir as part of the Pakistan/OIC led move until Iran threw a spanner in the works. The US played hardball with democratic India and supported the dictatorship in Pakistan in the '71 war. Israel has had military ties with the Chinese that directly impacted our security. Russia has provided important military technology to China and was instrumental in the Chinese achieving nuclear weapons. Iran had provided military support to Pakistan in wars agains India but in the 80s and particularly 90s worked with India to support the northern Alliance to counter the Taliban.

    Alliance are always a cost-benefit analysis. The fact of the matter is no one will give India a free lunch out of benovelence. What International diplomacy requires is for us to build as broad as possible a coaltion of regimes/countries favourable to India to achive OUR national interests. And that basically revolves on countering and managing Pakistan in the short term and China in the long term.

    Pakistan doesn't have many partners as such thanks in part to the problem that Pakistan follows an ideological policy more than a realist one. If we can even move the Saudis to a neutral position and a strict "anti-" on crucial issues like terrorism,
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Advani Dawood advice to Pakistan

    New Delhi, July 8: L.K. Advani today said Pakistan could take the “cue” from Saudi Arabia and hand over Dawood Ibrahim, the suggestion coming in a blog the BJP veteran posted days after meeting a guest from across the border.

    “If taking a cue from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan can hand over Dawood Ibrahim to India, it can overnight change public perception in India about Pakistan,” Advani wrote, giving details of his meeting with visiting Pakistani foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani.

    The allusion was to the deportation of alleged 26/11 suspect Abu Jundal, who was bundled into an India-bound plane by Saudi authorities last month and arrested the moment he landed in Delhi.

    Jilani had dropped in at Advani’s bungalow on Thursday, nine years after the then home minister’s department had pushed for his expulsion for allegedly supplying funds to Hurriyat leaders. Jilani was then charge d’affaires or acting high commissioner for Pakistan.

    Advani said he told Jilani that a distressing aspect of continuing the India-Pakistan tension was the safe haven Islamabad still provides to terrorists like Dawood, one of the main suspects in the 1993 Mumbai bombings and also accused of supplying arms to terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba.

    Indian agencies believe the fugitive don lives in his plush quarters in Karachi, where his D-company thrives with help from Pakistani agencies.

    Advani told Jilani that though Pakistan was taking the Pakistan Taliban head on, it continued to “provide assistance” to terror groups like the Lashkar and the Hizb-ul Mujahideen.

    He said the Indian government as well as Indians were aware that Islamabad was proactively fighting terrorism within its own borders, but the shared view here was also that Pakistan continued to shelter groups inimical to India.

    Advani said Jilani and Pakistan high commissioner Salman Bashir had praised the then NDA government’s efforts to restore normality and goodwill between the neighbours.

    “I said to him that for us the greatest regret has been that the joint statement issued by Gen. Musharraf and Shri A.B. Vajpayee at Islamabad after the SAARC Conference affirming that Pakistan would not allow any part of its country or any area under its control to be used for terrorist operations against India has not been sincerely followed up,” Advani said in his blog.

    “Today, I said to him, there are numerous terrorist outfits active in Pakistan. There is no denying that lately more people are dying in Pakistan at the hands of terrorists than they are dying in India,” he told the Pakistani officials.Advani also wrote that if Pakistan Punjab governor Salman Taseer “had been in India, he would not have died!”, as he tried to underline the difference between the two countries.

    Taseer was killed for speaking out against blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

    Advani Dawood advice to Pakistan
     
  9. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    This fella was working right under the noses of the agencies while he was in India. Even if Pakistan was to handover Dawood to India, not convinced that our law agencies will be able to indict him. What then? Dawood could freely roam his empire in India!! May not necessarily happen but is one of the possibility nonetheless.

    Rather have Dawood stay in Karachi as a fugitive and let India score brownie points against Pakistan thanks to his presence than let our law agencies handle him!
     
  10. blueblood

    blueblood Senior Member Senior Member

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