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‘Terror is anti-humanity’

Bharat’s strategic independence was displayed while it rejected Hamas terror on Israel but extended support to free, viable Palestine with a message to friends & foes alike


Strategic independence has been the key to Bharat’s foreign policy formulation while engaging with global powers. And, furthering Bharat’s offensive and defensive interests is primacy to this policy.


Globally, zero tolerance to expansionist, jingoistic political thought and rejecting every form of terror irrespective of caste, creed, gender, region, religion, faith and colour is something Bharat feels strongly about.

Concept of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ – entire humanity as one big global family – has been the corner stone to Narendra Modi government’s engagement internationally in last nine years.

These three basic tenets of foreign policy have worked reasonably very well when Bharat stayed away from joining the pro or anti-Russian fronts. Instead of joining the NATO forces blindly or going Russia way whole hog, Bharat espoused its own line.

Strategic independence in thought and actions saw Bharat condemning the violence and bombardment by Russian forces that invaded Ukraine. Bharat did not join hands with European Union or for that matter US to single out Russia. In the same vein, Ukraine was given all possible humanitarian assistance and extricated Indians that were stuck in the war zone.

Such independent line is expected to deliver results for Bharat in dealing with Islamist terror outfit Hamas attack on neighbouring Israel, home to Jews. In a week, the conflict between Islamist terrorists and Jews has escalated into full war having adverse impact in the gulf region and beyond.

War between Jews and Hamas terrorists is expected to heighten further with no end in sight anytime soon. It was important for New Delhi to get its act right in dealing with the situation given that her interests in middle-east are too huge and Israel has been a dependable partner in half a dozen areas.

Within first few hours, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the Hamas campaign as ‘terror attack’ and condemned unequivocally in two tweets. Prime Minister Modi’s telephonic conversation with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu fortified India’s position against terror, terrorism and terrorists that wreaked havoc on Israel and Jews. At G-20 Parliament Speakers conclave that’s underway in New Delhi, Prime Minister Modi elaborated further and said ‘terrorism was against humanity’.

Second part to Bharat’s policy on Hamas – Israel war was unveiled at a foreign media briefing this Thursday. India reiterated its decades old position for ‘an independent, viable and sovereign’ Palestine state that co-exists peacefully with Israel’ in West Asia.

While Bharat does not tolerate, terror, terrorism and terrorist outfits like Hamas, it is not against carving out a Palestinian state. Drawing distinct differentiation between Hamas and Palestine is a significant point in Bharat’s Middle-East policy.

This differentiation is conceptually and strategically significant vis-à-vis the Western powers and European nations. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar led foreign policy team seems to have sent out clear signals to both friends and foes alike by reiterating its support for Palestine state.

The message from Bharat is straight and simple. The US and its partners in NATO cannot take Bharat for granted on the issue as was the case in Russia – Ukraine conflict. Coming out strongly in favour of a ‘free, independent and viable’ Palestine state and rejecting Hamas is also important given that Muslims rallied in country after country either in support of Hamas or advocating Palestinian cause. In the fast evolving situation, Bharat recognized her responsibility towards Middle East Muslims that seek a ‘peaceful’ Palestine state and at the same time stood like a rock with Jews in Israel.

Bharat’s position is in continuation of its historic association with the Palestine movement. This policy has however taken twists and turns, evolved over the years in light of ‘terror’ outfits like Hamas posing serious threat to humanity. Bharat’s continued engagement with both Sunni and Shia dominated nations on political and economic fronts seem to have dictated her nuanced position. This policy also factors in the importance of aligning with Jews in Israel, US and Europe while rejecting Hamas ‘in toto’. By extending support to independent Palestine state via bilateral negotiations, Bharat has been pragmatic in finding lasting solution for peace in Middle East.

It may not have been a cake walk for Bharat to evolve her position on Israel – Hamas conflict given her recent engagements with United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, players in the Gulf and North Africa including Egypt, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain etc. Even the Muslim world is divided in the middle on terrorist organizations like Hamas. For instance, UAE and Bahrain that are party to Abrahams accord with US have limited to extending tactical support to cause of Palestine and not toed the Hamas ‘terror’ line. Similarly, Saudi Arabia has been muted in its responses to Hamas terror. Egypt is not with Hamas. Jordan and Qatar have different positions vis-à-vis Palestine state and Hamas.

Organizations like Hezbollah from Lebanon and Islamic State fighters may have extended their unqualified support to Hamas. Iran’s supreme leader Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei is yet another significant figure that stood behind Hamas terror act. But, Muslim world as such is not united completely.

Apart from the fault lines among Arab nations, Bharat being home to over 210 million Muslims – both Sunnis and Shias – cannot ignore the impact of conflict within its own minorities.

Isolation and elimination of terror outfits like Hamas, ISIS, Hezbollah, Taliban or such religious fundamentalists should be the global priority. For this to happen, a common definition of ‘terror’ may have to be achieved internationally without ‘ifs and buts’.

(Author is Director & Chief Executive of New Delhi based non-partisan think tank, Centre for Integrated and Holistic Studies)

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