(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India
Syria and West Asia:
Foreign Policy Slide Again
THE UPA government has
done a volte face on Syria.
In October 2011, India
had abstained on a resolution in the United Nations Security Council
for more sanctions against Syria
moved by the EU countries which was vetoed by Russia
and China. However, within three months, India
about turn. It voted in favour of a
resolution sponsored by the Arab League which, in effect, would have
a Libyan style intervention. This
was nullified by the double veto again of Russia
But this time, India
with the US,
its NATO allies and its client Arab states.
Having failed in the
Council, a resolution was adopted in the UN General Assembly on similar
for which too, India
voted. This resolution has no binding
effect. If there was any
ambiguity about India’s
stand on Syria,
was dispelled when the UPA government decided to attend the so-called
of Syria” meeting held in Tunis
on February 24. India sent its joint secretary in the
of external affairs in-charge of West Asia and North
Africa to attend the meeting reminiscent of the “Friends of
Since October last year,
situation has developed into a deadly
conflict. The United States and the former colonial
rulers of Syria, France
and Britain along
with Saudi Arabia
have embarked on a course to effect a regime change in
by toppling the Bashar
al-Assad government. For this, Turkey,
ally, is being used as the base for hosting Syrian rebels.
A Syrian National Council and a
Free Syrian army have been set-up.
NATO has been supplying arms and ferrying Libyan fighters to Iskerendum in Turkey, close to the Syrian
border. Centering on Homs and other pockets, armed groups
attacking Syrian security forces and
government institutions. Even the Arab League mission which was
had reported that an “armed entity” is
attacking “Syrian security forces and citizens, causing the
to respond with further violence”.
The western media is
providing a one
sided and distorted picture of the
violence within Syria. It is also masking the character of the
rebels who are mainly drawn from the Muslim Brotherhood and hotter
groups. The Al Qaeda has
declared support for the rebellion given
the fact that the Syrian government is
the only secular regime within the Arab world today. The hypocrisy of the West in condemning the
authoritarian nature of the Syrian regime is manifest in its calculated
the authoritarian Saudi and Gulf regimes to target Syria.
The struggle in Syria
is not some localised affair.
It is part of the geo-political struggle directed
and the perpetuation of the domination of the
imperial powers over West Asia
control of the oil resources there. The United States and its NATO allies would
effect a regime change in Syria
to snap its close ties with Iran. This
would suit Israel’s
interests too. Saudi Arabia
also sees the removal of the Assad
regime as a major step in extending Sunni Wahabi influence over Syria and the isolation of Shia-ite Iran.
had taken a correct stand on Libya
in the UN Security Council. After
seeing how the Security Council resolution was used by the NATO powers
proxies like Qatar,
imperative that India
distance itself from the cynical power
game being planned with regard to Syria.
The reversal of the stand taken in October
2011 can be directly attributed to the pressure of the United States. This is also becoming
apparent with regard to India’s
stand on Iran.
The United States wants India
to fall in line with its consistent
effort to isolate Iran
and finally effect a regime change there.
The pressure on India
to stop buying oil from Iran
and abandon its trade and economic ties is relentless.
The US State Department spokesperson specifically
mentioned India and
China when she said on February 21 that her
government was “having talks …with regard to our expectation that
will increasingly wean themselves off dependence on Iranian oil.” When
announced that it would continue to buy oil from Iran, the former under
secretary of state, Nicholas Burns, who is well-known for his role in negotiating Indo-US nuclear deal wrote in an article that India’s
decision “is not just a slap in the face
of the US – it raises questions about
its ability to lead”.
finance minister Pranab
Mukherjee’s statement that India
will continue to buy oil from Iran,
quietly steps are being taken to reduce
oil imports from Iran. According
to the figures available, from 21.8
million tonnes of Iranian oil imported from 2008-09, it has come down
million tonnes in 2010-11. In the
current fiscal year, it has gone down further to 13.1 million tonnes. The oil ministry has given instructions to
the state oil companies to explore other sources.
As per US
advice, India has
talked to Saudi
for stepping up oil imports from that
country. India is
quietly accepting the choking of India’s
exports to Iran.
The Syrian episode and the
on Iran once again
illustrates the truth about India’s
foreign policy. It is no more an independent policy based on
national interests. It has become
vulnerable to the imperialist pressures and geo-political interests of
United States of America.
(February 29, 2012)