crisis & subdued Indian response
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
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.
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.