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Inaugural Edition

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

May 2002

 

I N S I D E

Spotlight    Chalmers Johnson

Editorial

Special Report Sundeep Waslekar Ilmas Futehally

Fundamentals Jagan Kaul

Book Review Romeet Watt

InsideTrack          Dr Subash Kapila

Himalayan Blunder              Romeet Watt

In Black & White An Assessment

Statecraft             S a p r a   says

Bottomline           Dr Subash Kapila

 


A b o u t  U s

F e e d b a c k

D i s c l a i m er

C o p y r i g h t s

 

I  N  S  I  D  E    T  R  A  C  K

 

India's payback time to Israel

 

Dr. Subhash Kapila


In international relations, as in human relations a payback time occurs when one of the parties helping the other all along, itself needs support and understanding. In terms of India-Israel relations, it is payback time now for India. Israel today is under severe attack by a succession of suicide bombings resulting in the loss and wounding of hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians lives. These suicide attacks against Israel have been launched by Palestinian terrorist organisations and other Islamic Jehadi organisations, mostly operating from Palestinian areas.

When Israel retaliated with military operations to root out the menace of suicide bombings, all of a sudden the conscience of the world’s human right crusaders, liberalists and the media woke up in a shrill outcry against Israel. They seemed to project a perverse argument that terrorists and suicide bombers have human rights while the innocent Israeli civilians targeted in super-markets and cafes, do not qualify for the same.

Indian readers of the discerning type would be struck by the similarity of this argument with a similar campaign in the Indian media against Indian security forces engaged in combating Pakistan sponsored Islamic Jehadi terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir including suicide bombers.

Strangely, another similarity exists between the Indian and Israeli situation today. General Musharraf of Pakistan refuses to condemn the Islamic Jehadi terrorist and suicide bombers playing havoc with civilian lives in Jammu and Kashmir and in various other Indian States. Similarly, Chairman Arafat in Palestine has resisted all efforts to condemn the terrorist and suicide bombers operating against Israel.

India -No Double Standards on Terrorism Issues: Lately, Palestinian representatives and others have met even the Indian prime Minister to intervene in the on-going Israeli military campaign against the Palestinian terrorists and suicide bombers. Efforts are being made to seek Indian condemnation of Israeli military counter-terrorism actions.

Leaving the political considerations aside for a while, the moral considerations attendant on this issue negate any official Indian condemnation of Israel’s counter-terrorism operations. The prime moral consideration here revolves around answers to three crucial questions, namely:

  • Are terrorism and suicide bombings against innocent civilian targets, morally defensible?

  • Are terrorism and suicide bombings in the eyes of international community, a legitimate political weapon to kill and maim, hundreds of innocent civilian lives, in pursuance of political causes?

  • Are terrorists, suicide bombers, their sponsors and their abettors entitled to the protection of Human rights and democracy?

For India, the resounding answers will have to be "No" in unambiguous terms. India cannot afford to display double standards on the terrorism issue in the light of similar problems extending from Kashmir, to Bombay, to Coimbatore, to the Indian Parliament and to Godhra.

There can be no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ in the answers to the above questions.

Israeli and Palestinian Support for India - A Comparative Analysis: Some would argue that it is unfair to carry out a comparative analysis of Israeli and Palestinian support to India. The reason that they are likely to advance is that Israel is an independent state and that Palestine has yet to emerge as one. This argument is not sustainable as Palestine is accorded and enjoys all the political trappings of a state.

Israel, even when it did not have diplomatic relations with India, has always extended unreserved political, strategic and military co-operation and support. lately, the following needs to be cited:

  • During Kargil War, emergency military supplies needed by India were flown in by Israel within 24 hours.

  • Israel has emerged as a valuable source of India’s defence equipment needs. It is an assured source with no politically coercive strings attached.

  • Israel has given unreserved support to India on the Kashmir issue.

  • Israel has not only supported India’s counter-terrorism operations but also provided expertise and equipment for India’s needs

  • Israel is a valuable source for India’s intelligence needs on terrorism.

In marked contrast to Israel’s cooperation and support to India, Chairman Arafat, basking in the glow of unreserved Indian support extended to him by successive Congress and United Front Governments, as a result of their Arab-centric policies (determined by Muslim vote-banks) invites the following criticism:

  • Arafat has never condemned Pakistan’s proxy war in Kashmir.

  • Islamic Jehad and suicide bombings all over India have never been condemned by Arafat.

  • Arafat glowed when Pakistan nuclear weapons tests took place. He welcomed it and termed it as not Pakistani nuclear bomb, but an "Islamic nuclear bomb".

Chairman Arafat’s political Dependability: In politically conflictual relationships, the dependability of political leaders on both sides comes into focus. In the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the political dependability of Chairman Arafat comes into sharper focus, in view of the questionable strategies and instruments used by him.

It is quoted: "For example Yassir Arafat compared his position vis-a-vis Israel to that of Islamic conquerors who defeated both the Jews of Arabia and the Crusaders ‘we respect agreements the way that the Prophet Muhammad and Salah-al-Din( Saladin) respected the agreements which they signed’ Arafat explained. The truce agreements were signed at the time of weakness and unilaterally violated by both leaders once circumstances were ripe for defeating the enemies. Arafat used these examples to justify a possible unilateral violation of his agreements with Israel, in order to revive the war against Israel whenever the Arabs were ready" (Bodansky 1999)

Conclusion: India’s national interests should determine its postures and pronouncements on global conflictual issues. India’s national interests cannot be made subservient to domestic vote banks or ill-conceived postulations of idealistic liberalists and the media.

India’s national interests demand that it is now pay-back time for India to extend unreserved political support to Israel in its counter-terrorism operations. This is also a splendid opportunity for India to project that it does not adopt double standards on terrorism, suicide bombers and the need for strong retaliatory action by the state to counter these.

Dr. Subhash Kapila is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs analyst

By special arrangement with South Asia Analysis Group, Noida, India

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