After the alleged chemical weapon attack on the rebels by the Syrian government, different countries all over the world are still in the mode of confusion about the course of action that needs to be taken. US President Barack Obama said that he had concluded that there indeed was such an attack on the rebel forces by the Syrian government but the decision over an armed intervention in Syria is still not made by him. Last few days have been very critical for Syria. If we look at the various developments then:
August 21: Opposition accused President Bashar-al-Asaad’s government of firing chemical weapons over rebels near the suburbs of Damascus, which killed many men, women and children while sleeping.
August 22: UN chief Ban-Ki-Moon and other Western powers urged Syria to allow a UN team to investigate about the allegation of the chemical weapon attack.
August 23: US naval forces’ movement in the Mediterranean gives hints that there could be an armed intervention by the US.
August 25: President Bashar-al-Assad agrees for an inspection by the UN team
August 26: The team of UN inspectors was attacked by snipers. Their vehicles were disabled; although they resumed their trip after 2 hours.
The British Prime Minister who was advocating an armed intervention has reportedly changed his stance and similar is with the Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Dusk who refused to participate in any military action against Syria. Russia and China have also been speaking against any such action. Indian government has still not cleared its stand on the issue. Any turmoil in Syria can have adverse affects on India in the present situation when oil prices are hiked fearing an armed attack on Syria and rupee is continuously hitting low.
DefenCe Minister AK Antony skipped the meeting of ASEAN Defence Ministers meeting plus (ADMM+8) which was held in Brunei from August 27 to August 29. Although Antony is said to be skipping the meeting because of the ongoing Parliament session and the crucial and ambitious Food Security Bill but this decision of not attending the meeting is also being perceived as the India’s unwillingness to be a part of any move to stand up to China; since one of the major topics in the meeting was territorial assertiveness of China. Instead of Shri Antony, Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh attended the meeting on his behalf.
It’s intriguing that when India is having such a tussle and dispute with China over the border issues then why Defense Minister Antony opted to pull out of the meeting. Brunei, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia are embroiled in territorial disputes with China over several resource-rich islands in the South China Sea. Japan and China are engaged in a separate dispute in the East China Sea. ADMM is the highest level pan-Asian defence meeting, it would have been a nice forum to raise the issue in front of the international community but it seems the UPA Government is more keen to look at the other way when the opportunity knocks.