What should India do on Syria?

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by ejazr, Feb 21, 2012.

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What should India do on Syria?

  1. Support the Assad regime.

    4 vote(s)
    19.0%
  2. Support the rebels.

    2 vote(s)
    9.5%
  3. Engage both sides in a dialogue but stay put on the fence.

    4 vote(s)
    19.0%
  4. Sit back quietly and watch.

    11 vote(s)
    52.4%
  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Ths Syria issue may just be hotting up now with the US and Arab League countries calling for "material support" to rebels. This indicates pretty much arming anti-Syrian militants with an aim to toppling the Secular dictatorship there.

    Silence on Syria is no option | Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses

    At last India broke its silence on Syria. Since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in January 2011, India has maintained a studied silence towards the Middle East. Its official response has been minimal, calculative and often non-existent. Till now this not-speaking-too-much position served India’s interests, especially when its stakes in the region are high. Despite external pressures and demands from a section of its intelligentsia, New Delhi has consciously refrained from any hasty decisions or unwanted statements. It urged President Hosni Mubarak ‘to listen’ to the Egyptian people, for example, only after it recognised an overwhelming opposition to his rule.

    This has also been the official Indian position vis-à-vis Syria. Until now this was prudent and sensible. India has strong political ties with the secular Ba'ath regime as manifested by high-level state visits between the two countries. Indeed, President Pratibha Patil was in Damascus in November 2010, that is, just weeks before the Arab Spring broke out. India also has established budding energy ties with Syria. But, these alone do not explain the prolonged Indian reluctance to criticise the regime and its handling of popular protests.

    Until last March, Syria appeared immune to the popular protests in the Arab world against their rulers. President Bashar Assad claimed credit for pursuing a policy that reflected popular sentiments. Things however changed and the Syrian regime began witnessing discontent and protests. Initially it appeared marginal and confined to rural areas bordering Jordan and Turkey. Calling them disturbances, the regime blamed them on external interference and cross border arms smuggling.

    Such a state-centric discourse was also popular in India and was reflected by the views expressed by the Indian delegation that visited Syria last October. A noted journalist gave a clean bill of health to the Assad regime: “My first impression was that everything is normal in Damascus and life is quite calm unlike what I used to see on some media, particularly the American news network whose reports were proved contrary to reality.” Another vouched that there was “nothing abnormal” in Syria and blamed the Western media for its exaggeration. One academic went on to blame ‘satellite channels’—an indirect reference to al-Jazeera—for the problem. In short, standing up to the US and Israel is good enough for some in India to overlook and justify Assad’s treatment of his own citizens.

    India’s first official response had to wait until April 27 and it was made not in New Delhi but during the course of the deliberations of the UN Security Council. As a non-permanent member, India could not maintain its silence. Reiterating the historic importance of Syria, it felt that “prolonged instability or unrest in Syria” would have far reaching ramifications for the Middle East and beyond. Yet, siding with the regime, it drew the attention of the Council to “reports of armed extremist elements mingling with the demonstrators and using the demonstrations to attack security personnel and damage government property.”

    In August the Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on Syria because of the veto by China and Russia, and India sided with them. Then, a three member team comprising of India, Brazil and South Africa visited Damascus “to discuss the current situation in Syria and the way forward.” This visit took place when India was holding the presidency of the Security Council. During its visit the delegation met President Bashar al-Assad, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem and other senior officials and reaffirmed its commitments “to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria” and expressed its “grave concern” at the current situation in the country and “condemned violence from all sides.” Welcoming the “establishment of an independent judicial committee to investigate the violence” the delegation stressed the importance of its “credibility and impartiality.”

    Later that month, India abstained from voting in the UN Human Rights Council Resolution (UNHRC) on Syria because it did not regard “spotlighting and finger-pointing at a country for human right violations as helpful.” In its view engagement and “collaborative and constructive dialogue and partnership is a more pragmatic and productive way forward.” The NATO military intervention in Libya was also a reason why India was wary of Western moves against Syria. It did not want the UNSC to provide a carte blanche for another military campaign in the Middle East.

    Unfortunately for India, Assad was not ready to heed friendly advise from his friends in the region and beyond and the matter only deteriorated. The UNHRC put the number of deaths in Syria since mid-March 2011 at over 5,000. Forced to respond to growing Arab criticism, in early January 2012 New Delhi advised its citizens “to avoid all non-essential” travelling to Syria.

    For long even the West was reluctant to dislodge the Assad regime lest it creates more problems for the region. But the ground realities are deteriorating fast. The unrest has spread and reached the outskirts of the capital. Getting out of its legendary slumber the Arab League decided to temporarily suspended the Syrian membership. The peace deal it subsequently mediated with the Assad regime did not calm down the situation. Amidst continuing violence against civilians, early last month the League pulled out its observers and asked the UN to intervene.

    By all accounts it is clear that the Assad regime is on the way out. In the past year the Arab Spring had given four options for unpopular rulers. When Tunisian President Ben-Ali wanted to flee the country in a hurry, Saudi Arabia gave him asylum. Forced to step down, President Hosni Mubarak chose to stay behind and is being tried. Muammer Qaddafi was defiant but was literally lynched by his opponents. President Abdullah Saleh Yemen dragged on until he worked out a pardon package before stepping down. What will be the choice made by President Bashar al-Assad?

    An orderly transfer of power is critical for Syria. By not listening to popular discontent and acting in time, President Bashar has squandered the greatest legacy of his father Hafiz: political stability to Syria. Smooth transition is critical not only to maintain the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country but also for the political future of the minority Alawite community to which Bashar and much of the ruling establishment belong. Without stability Syria will plunge into a civil war that would dwarf post-US invasion Iraq.

    On February 4 China and Russia once again throttled efforts by the UNSC to adopt a strong stand on Syria. This forced the Arab countries to go the General Assembly which on February 17 overwhelmingly passed a non-binding resolution (137 in favour, 12 against with 17 abstentions) condemning Syria for the ongoing violence. It also called on Damascus "to immediately put an end to all human rights violations and attacks against civilians."

    For long India remained on the margin or with the Assad regime. It was not responsible for the failure of the UN to act. That responsibility rested with China and Russia. In recent weeks, Russia has resumed arms supplies to Damascus which has not gone down well in the Middle East. Moscow is trying to work out a deal whereby it still retains influence in a post-Assad Syria. When the Medvedev-Putin duo is indifferent towards domestic Russian opinion, it would be naïve to expect it to be more amenable to international reactions and criticisms.

    The growing violence and regional unpopularity of the Assad regime forced India to give up its erstwhile silence on Syria and vote against it both in the Security Council and General Assembly. Even if its vote did not make a difference, it was sensible on the part of New Delhi to have decided to make a difference by speaking for the people of Syria as well as for a stable future for that country. When it comes to Syria, silence is no longer an option for India
     
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  3. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Lick Iran ass, aur kya
     
  4. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Do nothing... we should learn from China... About how they purposefully kept a low profile on International affairs until they are strong enough,,, We should do the same...:thumb:
     
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  5. Vishwarupa

    Vishwarupa Senior Member Senior Member

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    why should we follow china path? we are strong enough to express our intent...and anyways India will never get involved in any internal matter of other country
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
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  6. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Just to add on this, on top of the UNSC vote on Syria, India has as expected voted against the Assad regime again in the General Assembly resolution this week.

    Syria is a difficult topic because Syria has traditionally supported the Indian position on Kashmir and has been a long time ally since the Nehru-Indira days. But given the current situation there and the with the backdrop of pretty much countries like US/EU/Israel/Turkey/Arab League all supporting Assad's ouster, India would be isolated and will have to side with China and Russia on this.

    The best possible outcome would be for India to work out some sort of deal with the Assads regime to bring about reforms and at least symbolically step down. Supporting Assad without any meaningful reforms will be difficult and as we can see from the voting patterns, GoI has already adopted a "Assad must go" policy.

    UN adopts resolution against Assad; gets support from India - Hindustan Times
     
  7. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    What can India do? France is arming and training the opposition readying to set up humanitarian corridors to make safe havens for FSA. They kill our soldiers and journalists, we will make them pay.
     
  8. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    India with ‘FOS’, pleases Saudi, US, Israel

    India with ‘FOS’, pleases Saudi, US, Israel

    India has decided to attend the ‘Friends of Syria’ [FOS] meet in Tunis today. The decision signifies three things. First and foremost, India is a ‘Friend’ of Saudi Arabia. Second, India is willing to be seen as ‘friendly’ toward FOS, which of course will please the US and Israel. Third, India’s longstanding ‘friendship’ with the secular-minded Syrian regime is a thing of the past.
    Each of these vectors has subplots. The Saudi angle rests on two pillars. One, ‘green money’. Delhi has been swift to cash in on the ‘Friendship’ with Riyadh by demanding an increase of 5 million tonnes of crude additionally from Saudi Arabia in the current financial year. Delhi has couched this demand in terms of India’s need of additional crude imports but also coyly hinting that greater access to Saudi crude can help it meet the Saudi and US demarche that India should cut back on oil imports from Iran.
    The Saudi King Abdullah had offered additional crude supplies as part of the growing strategic ties between the two countries during the recent visit by Defence Minister A.K.Antony to Riyadh. Antony discussed Indian help for Saudi military build-up; helping train the Saudi army in mountain warfare (Saudis are involved in a ‘low-intensity war’ in the mountainous border provinces which Yemen claims as its territory); training Saudi National Guards to control mob violence (saudi Arabia’s Shi’ite dominated eastern provinces are increasingly restive with demand for political reform); and, Saudi investment in India’s defence production industry.
    Equally, Indian elites have been traditionally susceptible to Saudi influence, which percolates via the ulema who have substantial clout over the Muslim electorate during the Indian elections. Also, a trend in the recent years has been that Indian political parties (especially in Kerala) access the expatriate communities in the Persian Gulf for the activities known euphemistically as ‘fund collection’. Two million relatively affluent Indians live in Saudi Arabia alone. Finally, the Haj quota provided by Saudi Arabia lends itself traditionally as an instrument of patronage by the Indian political establishment.
    Over and above, weaning the worldly-wise Wahhabi regime away from the Pakistani embrace has been a perennial obsession with the Indian strategists.
    However, somewhere deep within their conscience, the mandarins in Delhi seem to feel unsure where a co-habitation with the FOS can lead India. They are aware that the FOS is strikingly similar to the Libyan Contact Group and all indications are that it is being formed with the intent of arming the Syrian opposition. The path to a full-fledged civil war is opening.
    And the historical truth is that India has never been associated with the Western doctrine of unilateral military interventions to bring about ‘regime change’ (except, arguably, in East Pakistan, Goa and Sikkim). Therefore, the mandarins have pleaded that a only a middle-ranking official will represent India at the FOS meet, while the MInister of State in charge of West Asia, E. Ahamed (who, incidentally, belongs to the Muslim League, which is a constituent in the Congress-led Kerala government) will discreetly keep away from the limelight in Tunis.
    It is a lame excuse. For, ultimately, India is turning its back on the Bashar regime in Syria. It is a poignant moment because the secular-minded Baathist regime in Syria has been traditionally one of the stanchest supporters of India in the Arab world. Even during the darkest years of the insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir, the Syrian regime was supportive of the Indian concerns when the issue came up in the Organization of the Islamic Conference [OIC] — ironically, Saudis consistently sided with Pakistan during those occasions and were even instrumental in forming an OIC ‘Contact Group’ on Kashmir issue.
    Happily, the J&K situation has improved and US and Saudis are favorably inclined on the Kashmir problem and Pakistan can’t do much about it. So, India can now dispense with the Syrian friendship.
    However, underlying all this is India’s gravitation toward the US-led axis in the Persian Gulf region. Despite the reports that the US is about to arm the Syrian opposition and notwithstanding the tensions stemming from the US-Iran standoff, Delhi is pressing ahead with its naval exercise with the US in April.
    Although the slant of the naval exercise is being interpreted as directed against China, the fact remains that it comes at a time when war clouds are gathering in India’s extended neighbourhood in the West Asian region and the US Navy is expected to be the principal player in the maelstrom.
    On a broader plane, India is breaking loose from its two BRICS partners — Russia and China — and going along with the West in what is arguably shaping up as the most crucial issue in international security today. Will this prompt Washignton, finally, to secure a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council? I doubt it. Washington will prefer to think this is a favor shown by the Indian leadership to Abdullah and Barack Obama is a mere collateral beneficiary.
    Russia and China have refused to identify with the FOS meeting. Moscow, in particular, has entered into consultations with the regional powers over the Syrian crisis. The Russian president yesterday spoke to the UAE counterpart. This is in addition to his earlier conversations with the prime minister of Iraq, Saudi king and the Iranian president.
    Moscow is also working on the ‘big picture’ of the Western strategy to dominate the Middle East. Clearly, Moscow sees the western intervention in Syria as a prelude to stepping up pressure on Iran.
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke to his Chinese counterpart Yang Yiechi on Syria in a phone call on Thursday. Moscow and Beijing have jointly warned that foreign intervention in Syria can have “dangerous consequences.”
    All in all, therefore, India’s decision to identify with the FOS is momentous. It signifies that India is stepping down from the fence and is willing to be counted as one of the flock siding (or, at least the very least acquiescing) with the western strategies in the Middle East. This gingerly walk that India is taking today will immensely please the US and Israel.
    How the foreign-policy establishment is going to explain their decision will be interesting to know. Probably, it won’t feel the need to explain. Mandarins seldom feel they owe an explanation, anyway. They can always shove it under the rubric of ‘national interest’.
     
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  9. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Two new developments on this account

    First countries like Russia and China who have vetoed the UNSC resolution on Syria have suffered a strategic setback in the Gulf Arab countries.
    The King rarely speaks on foreing policy issues like this and what is interesting is that when Russian president tried to make amends by discussing with the Saudis on possible Syria talks, the King snubbed him.
    Saudi tells Russia president Syria dialogue futile


    Second and the more interesting and India specific development is that India has decided to attend the "Friends of Syria" meet in Tunisia, all the at the joint secretary level rather than a ministerial level. He will be attending the meet after a Friends of Somalia meet in London.
    India invited for Friends of Syria meeting in Tunisia

    This pretty much means that GoI has quietly said good bye to the Assad regime. FoS group is probably going to be the Contact group on Libya which was instrumental in kicking out Gaddafi and providing aid to the opposition groups.

    Russia and China also did not attend the FoS meet and hence seem to be isolated on the issue compared to other countries in the region. On the Syrian issue, GoI has seemed to pretty much taken a US/Arab League/Israel line vis a vis Iran.
     
  10. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    India to join Arab League to ask Assad regime in Syria to step down

    New York, Feb.24 (ANI): India will join the Arab League in demanding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime step down to facilitate an end to the ongoing violence in that country.

    An Indian representative has been sent to the 'Friends of Syria' meet in Tunis convened by the United States and the Arab League to determine who will succeed Assad. ussia and China, which exercised their veto power at a UNSC meeting on Syria, are boycotting the Tunis meeting.

    The UN General Assembly has passed a resolution urging Assad to step down and condemned human rights violations in Syria. It has also issued a call to end the violence in that country.

    India had voted in favour of the resolution, taking a U-turn from the February 4 voting on a similar measure. (ANI)

    India to join Arab League to ask Assad regime in Syria to step down
     
  11. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    BharadKumar as always has some insightful analysis although he still remains loyal to his pro-Soviet/Russian views on International policy. But he does have contacts with serving diplomats and is difficult to dismiss him completely.

    Although I am surprised why the Muslim electorate and politics are being brought up by him on a foreign policy as certainly there is no decisive impact as such by them. Neither does the govt. Haj quota benefit the aam Indian Muslim and they would not like such a quota to be run. Infact, the SC is currently hearing a case to get rid of this govt. quota as people have brought a PIL that this is unfairly used and is UnIslamic.


    Mods can this be merged with the Syria related thread here
    http://defenceforumindia.com/foreign-relations/32144-should-india-do-syria.html ?
     
  12. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Yeah right, a country which gives rats ass about its Fisher men being killed by a puny neighbor is strong enough to do something in another country???? Mushroom dreams at its best....
     
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  13. Tronic

    Tronic Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    So India is now ditching it's time tested friends to make place for Wahhabi terrorist countries which have always supported Pakistan and opposed India on issues like Kashmir. Ridiculous!
     
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  14. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    This is a classical catch 22. Choose between two evil, will ya :confused:
    My take - rather than supporting a side, support a step which could halt the bloodshed among civilians.
     
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  15. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well with almost every country in the world taking the Indian pov on Kashmir that it should be resolved bilaterally, the Syrian position of supporting India in Kashmir is not so unique any longer.

    And in this case, a quick resolution of the Syrian civil war would probably be the best way for India to reconnect with the Syrian people rather than allow it to fester and worsen

    http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/304243/20120224/india-syria-tunis-summit-arab-league-russia.htm

    India is endorsing the Arab League censure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and is participating in a summit in Tunisia to discuss options in the troubled Middle Eastern nation.
    New Delhi is sending a senior diplomat Rajeev Shahare, joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs in charge of West Asia and North Africa, to the Tunis summit, called “Friends of Syria.”

    The development marks a turnaround in New Delhi foreign policy which had, up until now, either refrained from a direct condemnation of its ally Assad or discouraged any moves against the Damascus regime.

    The Tunis summit is being boycotted by Russia and China which both demand no foreign interference in Syria.

    Earlier this month, India voted in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an end to the violence in Syria and condemning human rights abuses by Assad’s forces

    "Our support for the resolution adopted by this Assembly today is in accordance with our support for the efforts by the Arab League for a peaceful resolution of the crisis through a Syrian-led inclusive political process," India’s UN officials said in a statement.

    India will be joined by 50 other country representatives in Tunis, including the United States, European Union members, as well as many Arab and Muslim nations.

    ZeeNews reported, however, that India’s role at the summit will be “observational.”

    --

    A report in PolicyMic tried to explain India’s gradually changing views on Middle East unrest.

    “As an emerging market economy, India’s development is dependent upon a stable supply and price of oil to fuel its growth,” the report stated. “Prolonged conflict in the region is bad for Indian businesses… In the long-term, India would prefer more secular forms of government to emerge in the region.”

    Moreover, a blog on Rediff.com noted: “Ultimately, India is turning its back on the Bashar regime in Syria. It is a poignant moment because the secular-minded Baathist regime in Syria has been traditionally one of the staunchest supporters of India in the Arab world. Even during the darkest years of the insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir, the Syrian regime was supportive of the Indian concerns when the issue came up.”
     
  16. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Josef Joffe: Why Nobody Will Help The Syrian People | The New Republic

     
  17. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Now, India to back Arab League’s stand on Syria - The Times of India

    NEW DELHI: With India having switched its stance on Syria to being more critical of the Bashar al-Assad regime, New Delhi is ready to lend its considerable diplomatic clout to support the Arab League, which is driving the international community's response to the ongoing unrest in Syria.

    Foreign minister S M Krishna will be in Cairo on March 2, to hold unusually comprehensive high-level talks with the Arab League troika of Qatar, Libya and Iraq. On the agenda will be three main issues - Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.

    Having abstained in the first UN Security Council resolution on Syria, India teamed up with Brazil and South Africa to send a diplomatic mission to Damascus to convince Assad that a political roadmap needed to be followed. However, India maintained the violence in Syria was externally infused, that Assad's opponents were financed and armed by outside forces, that it was more than a popular unrest. Almost six months later, India changed its position to become more critical of Assad's actions - and following the lead of the Arab League - it took a different position on Syria.

    In the past week, India sent senior official Rajeev Shahare to represent India at the Friends of Syria meeting in Tunis, an early sign that New Delhi was ready to listen to different voices on the region.

    India's turnaround at the UN Security Council earlier in February was the first sign that it would back the regional organization to do what they believed was best. "It's pointless us holding out for Assad when the regional organization is asking for him to step down," said an Indian official.

    In his talks with the Jordanians and Palestinians too, Krishna reportedly came back with the sense that India would be out of step if it continued to buck the conventional wisdom. It has been the Gulf Arabs who have strongly opposed Assad.

    In a statement welcoming Krishna's forthcoming visit, the Arab League subtly reminded India why it was important: Trade between India and Arab nations has touched $120 billion in the past couple of years, not to speak of the huge remittances being sent back by six million Indian migrants in the Gulf.

    The Arab countries are clear that they want to "align positions" with India on these issues. Besides, India is looking at larger FDI from Gulf states, especially in the infrastructure sector. India is also increasing its contacts with countries like Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia in the security area, particularly in intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism. In short, India would like to be on the right side of the Arab League.

    Arab countries have been asking India for some time to pressure Iran into giving up its nuclear programme. Although India is deeply opposed to Iranian nuclear programme, India is trying to keep up its ties with Tehran in the face of Western sanctions and open opposition by the Gulf Arab states.

    India is also painfully aware that despite its support, Tehran is not likely to heed New Delhi's call on its nuclear programme. An unlikely convergence is being seen between India's other ally Israel and the Arabs, who are working on every scenario possible to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions. And as Iranian oil becomes more difficult to access, India is inevitably turning to the Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, to source oil from them.

    Iran is likely to dominate discussions between India and the Arab high table. Sanjay Singh, secretary (east) in the ministry of external affairs will precede Krishna with high-level official consultations on March 1.

    ---------------------

    Just a quick correction in this article India-GCC trade is approx. $120Billion. India-Arab League trade is actually $145Billion. The second biggest trading block is the EU with approx. $90Billion in annual trade. This according to EXIM databank of the commerce ministry website for 2010-2011.

    SM Krishna's visit to Egypt to meet Egyptian as well as Qatari, Libyan and Iraqi representatives soon after his visit to Jordan, Israel and Palestinian territories last year indicates a welcome ramp up of Indian diplomatic prescence in West Asia.
     
  18. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Ok guys, I have added a poll. If you want to add more option, post it here.

    And, vote!
     
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  19. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    With France arming the rebels I wouldn't waste my time supporting a regime that will fall. One hundred defect the army every day. It is impossible to control an 80% majority that are enraged and coming out more all the time. You can either be on the winning side by joining France or you pick the loser Russian-Iranian side. For every rebel Assad kills, 10 more pop up. Laying waste your cities isn't going to kill what has already started.
     
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  20. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    just wait and watch let them decide
     
  21. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Looks like India is doing a course correction after being seen as joining the anti-Assad camp. MEA is clarifying that none of the resolutions India has supported calls for Assad to step down and that this has to be decided by the Syrian people themselves.

    The Hindu : News / National : India, Arab League differ on Syria

    India says it is for Syrians to internally decide how to resolve the crisis

    India and the Arab League on Saturday held extensive discussions on Syria, but have been unable to chart out a common route that would end the crisis in the strife-torn nation.

    After a lengthy dialogue between visiting External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Arab League head, Nabil ElAraby, the two sides failed to find convergence on one core issue — the fate of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

    The Arab League, citing the Syrian Constitution itself as the basis, says it has called upon Mr. Assad to step down and hand over power to his Vice President and a national unity government. In contrast, India's view is non-prescriptive: It is up to the Syrians themselves to internally decide how they need to resolve their crisis. Foreign intervention of any kind was both unhelpful and unnecessary.

    Diplomatic sources clarified that it was not for India to decide whether the Syrian President should stay or not. That was the prerogative of the Syrian people themselves, and any decision taken by them through an internal dialogue would be acceptable to India.

    Resolution on Syria

    Foreign office spokesman Syed Akbaruddin clarified that the resolution on Syria, which India had supported but China and Russia vetoed at the United Nations Security Council, did not call for the exit of Mr. Assad from the Presidency.

    Diplomatic sources said that while the Arab League called for Mr. Assad's exit, there was hardly any consensus within the 22-nation grouping on how that result could be achieved. The call by Qatar, which was endorsed by Saudi Arabia to arm the Syrian opposition, which itself stood divided, had not been endorsed by the rest of the League.

    “It was only natural that fault lines within a large grouping like the Arab League on modalities would surface,” Mr. Akbaruddin said.

    With the divergences on how to resolve the Syrian crisis remaining unbridged, the Arab League and its components are set to hold a flurry of meetings. Their diplomatic activism includes an upcoming meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), whose core members, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been calling for more muscular approach to end the violence in Syria. The League is preparing for a vigorous engagement with the Russians and the Chinese, who have, citing the principle of sovereignty and apprehending a covert attempt at regime change, rejected external intervention to end bloodshed in Syria. Kofi Annan, the new U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, is set to visit Cairo, next week to hold talks with the Arab League. It is likely that Nasser Al-Qudwa, the veteran Palestinian diplomat maybe appointed as Mr. Annan's deputy on Syria.

    During their talks, both sides agreed to step up their economic ties — a decision that would be reflected in the upcoming meeting in Abu Dhabi of the India Arab Investment Projects Conclave.
     

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