Intro: As the United States (US) and its allies prepare for a strong military rebuttal to the ISIS, it's extremely pivotal for India to ascertain its stake-holds in Syria and Iraq, if any-before launching any attacking against ISIS in association with the West.
Ever since the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has captured large areas of Syria and Iraq, it has been unleashing barbaric acts on its captured opponents that include Sunnis, Kurds, Yazdis and civilians of United Kingdom and United States of America. This has forced a reluctant Obama administration to take a call for action against the ISIS-Till recently ISIS’s operations facilitated US and its allies’ approach in Syria i.e. to cause heavy casualties on Assad’s forces.
The US in its war against terror has already suffered heavy fatalities in Iraq-Afghanistan leaving itself a fatigued army with depleted resources. Moreover, there are strong chances that USA’s allies may not substantially contribute soldiers to take on ISIS after their bitter experience in Afghanistan.
Now the question arises that from where will the US get on-ground solders to combat ISIS. Turkey, for example would not support Assad’s Alawaite regime which is an offshoot of Shia’s against a Sunni ISIS.
Also, if today, Iraq is in turmoil, it is because of US only. It had invaded Iraq on the assumption that Saddam Hussain’s regime was in the possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction(s) (WMD), which was certainly not the case.
What is happening in Iraq and Syria is not only a pertinent case of conflict of interest amongst the regional players and their politics, but it can also be attributed to the power struggle between Shias that are led by Iraq and Sunnis that are led by Saudi Arabia.
Talking about India, it would be irrational for us to join the struggle against ISIS since it’s not a party to regional politics and does not have any direct stake-hold in this fanatical Islamic State’s mode of operation.
Recently, a prominent columnist in a leading national daily suggested that India must send its forces to fight against ISIS by taking Iran also on board. According to this writer, India has the man-power and the capacity to tilt the scale against the ISIS. While it was not expected out of such a senior columnist, he must also clearly comprehend that epicentre for terrorism in India is Pakistan and not Iraq or Syria under ISIS.
For more than three decades now, India has been at the receiving end at the hands of Pakistan backed terrorists. And all these decades India has fought its own war without help from the US and the West. The world turned a blindfold when Air India’s IC 814 was hijacked to Kandhar, but when couple of years later 9/11 happened – the entire world including a Sunni Pakistan promised to join against terror. The USA till date hasn’t handed over David Coleman Hadley to India. Apparently, David conspired with the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to orchestrate terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008.
Therefore, India must steer clear of herself from becoming a pawn in the game that is being played in Syria and Iraq. The lead players are US, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other parties with confirmed vested interests. They are quietly and smartly making the moves from a safe distance.
The priority for India at present is to tackle China’s incursions and check mate Pakistan in its nefarious game and not get embroiled in Iraq and Syria.
Manoj Sharma (The writer is a senior columnist)