T h e

K a s h m i r

T  e  l  e  g  r  a  p  h

Vol I Issue XI

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

March 2003

I N S I D E


Spotlight 

Romeet K WATT

 

Comment     

A B Vajpayee

 

Column     

S Chaulia       

                   

View Point      

Romeet K WATT

 

On Track     

Romeet K Watt 

                  

Opinion

Kanwal Sibal

 

Analysis

Sawraj Singh

 

State Craft

Subhash Kapila

 

Perspective

T R Jawahar

 

Last Word

Anil Narendra 

 

                            


 

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A N A L Y S I S

Iraqi crisis & subdued Indian response

Sawraj Singh


The Iraqi crisis is becoming more serious every day. It seems that President Bush has already decided that Saadam has to go and a pro-American government has to be installed in Iraq, which will give the control of oil to American oil companies. This will ensure continuation of the unipolar world order led by America. Because by gaining almost full control on the Middle East oil (about 70% of the known oil deposits are in the Muslim countries), America will be in a position to thwart any challenge to its hegemony by potential competitors, especially the Europeans.

This line of thinking may sound very good and also very pleasing, but it can prove severely difficult to implement. Instead of installing a pro-American government in Iraq, the country can go into a state of anarchy. This turmoil could engulf many other countries. Cross-border terrorism could increase and the oil supply could be disrupted?leading to a very adverse effect on the global economy. Three countries are likely to bear the brunt of terrorist attacks. They are America, Israel, and India. Out of these, India is most vulnerable. A major terrorist attack on India is almost certain to evoke a retaliatory attack by India. If America comes to Pakistan´s aid then Russia may join India. This can lead to a third world war on the Indian subcontinent. If America does not come to Pakistan´s help, that can mean almost certain defeat for Pakistan. When Pakistan feels cornered, it may think of using its nuclear bombs, inviting a massive nuclear response from India.

After the September 11th terrorist attacks, America attacked Afghanistan with a declared purpose of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and destroying the Al Qaeda terrorist network there. None of these stated goals have been achieved. Osama bin Laden is still giving statements on Al Jazeera television. Out of about 40,000 estimated Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan, only about 1,000 have been killed and about the same number have been captured. That means about 38,000 members are still at large. It is believed that they have all escaped to Pakistan. Half of these Al Qaeda members are supposed to be near the Afghanistan border and the other half are thought to be near the border with India.

An American attack on Iraq can provoke a major terrorist attack on India while it can also aggravate the already precarious situation in Afghanistan, where Mr. Karzai is virtually a captive in his residence in Kabul. Leave alone going to any other part of Afghanistan, he can hardly venture to move freely in Kabul. He has dismissed all Afghanistani bodyguards and has replaced them by all American security personnel for his personal protection. Even the Northern alliance which sided with America against the Taliban seems to be switching its stand and is ready to join forces with them to throw the Americans out of Afghanistan.

An American attack on Iraq can aggravate all these problems and push Afghanistan further into instability and anarchy. Anti-Musharraf and anti-American sentiments are rising in Pakistan. An American attack on Iraq can really flare these sentiments to a point where Pakistan can go in two directions, either fundamentalist Islamic forces can take over or it can disintegrate.

Both of these situations can be very dangerous for the Indian subcontinent and the rest of the world. Not only it will destabilize the Indian subcontinent but can endanger the rest of the world as well. India has most to lose from a possible American invasion of Iraq. It will lose subsidized oil and Indian firms will lose all contracts in Iraq. No oil for food either.

Whereas the economic loss is very visible, the political, social, and defense threats are less obvious but are certainly much more dangerous. If America attacks Iraq in spite of such strong world opinion against the war, then the concepts of global, community, and world opinion become irrelevant. The already weakened non-aligned movement will become even more weak. India´s declining international prestige will further fall. In spite of the above-mentioned scenario, Indian leaders are only opposing the war in a subdued and ritualistic manner. They will not even let the Indian parliament pass a resolution opposing the Iraq war.

The media is not playing its role in opposing the war, as it should have been doing. There is no mass anti-war movement in India like there is in the European countries or even in the United States. What could be the reasons for the subdued Indian response? One reason is very obvious. America is pressing India not to take an aggressive stand on this issue. The other is the anti-Muslim feeling in the BJP. The BJP is still harboring illusions of an anti-Muslim alliance of America, Israel, and India. But this is an unnatural alliance.

India is part of Asia and the third world. There is a saying in Punjabi that states - it is difficult to become the enemy of the crocodile while you live in the water. India´s geographical proximity, economic interests, and its military needs will dictate an alliance with Russia and China. India should join Russia, China, and the other countries of the non-aligned movement to oppose the war. Not only will India be doing a favor to its own people, but it will also be helping people of the world, including the American people.

    

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