India's payback time to
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
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.
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.
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
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
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?
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.
Palestinian Support for India - A Comparative
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 glowed when
Pakistan nuclear weapons tests took place. He welcomed it and
termed it as not Pakistani nuclear bomb, but an "Islamic nuclear
Chairman Arafat’s political
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.
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
Subhash Kapila is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs
By special arrangement with South
Asia Analysis Group, Noida, India