Media reported extensively in 2022 – at the start of Russia-Ukraine conflict – that the Indian Prime Minister had a telephonic conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and with a (contrived) air of a philosopher statesman pontificated: ‘this is not an era of war.’ Leaders of western nations – in particular the USA – hailed and interpreted it as a harbinger of a peace move initiated for an early end to the conflict.
However in the recently declared Israel war on ‘terror’ – a euphemism for committing a genocide of Palestinians in Gaza – no such homilies and pearls of wisdom have emanated from Narendra Modi’s stance. Reportedly over 6546 unarmed Palestinians bombed to death; 17439 injured; millions being forcibly displaced from their homes and under total siege.
Why is the Indian PM – who constantly boasts of his 56 inches of chest circumference – now somersaulting on his views on war?
The Indian PM has not taken a stance on whether the Al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza strip was destroyed by an Israel air strike causing the death of over 500 Palestinians. Maintaining a deathly silence on the identity of the perpetrators of this abominable crime is itself a crime. If the Indian PM thinks there is insufficient evidence to apportion the blame on either party – Israel or Hamas – he should publicly & loudly say so. This could halt the media blitzkrieg unleashed by both Israel and western countries. The Indian PM should additionally ask for evidence from those absolving Israel.
In recent times the Indian government took a stance vis-à-vis the Canadian government that the evidence supplied by the latter is insufficient to conclude that Indian agents were responsible for the murder of a Canadian Sikh named Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Why is the Indian government not showing courage to ask for the evidence – regarding bombing of Al-Ahli Arab hospital – and then assess it before taking a final stand?
Does the Indian government have the courage to tell the Israeli ambassador based in Delhi to stop interfering in the internal affairs of India. Attention is invited to his recent tweet on ‘X’ after the Indian cricket team’s victory over Pakistan. In the tweet the Israeli ambassador is trying to drive a wedge between India and its neighbour. On another occasion (TOI, 20.10.2023) he is seen to be indulging in spreading Israeli propaganda re. Israel-Hamas conflict. Diplomats are not expected – nay allowed – to indulge in crass political activities. Recently the Indian government took umbrage at Canadian diplomats indulging in political activities and packed them off from Indian soil. Why is the Modi government lacking the courage to pack off the Israeli ambassador from Delhi?
Fourthly, the whole world has seen how fragile the Israeli defence and security system was; the impenetrability of the system was just a brand-name. In the last decade, the Indian government has risked a tectonic shift in its policy relations with Palestine & Israel. There has been no meaningful debate in the Parliament on the issue. The opposition parties have not been consulted. There is a palpable lack of dissemination amongst the masses of this policy and the reason thereof. In any case all agreements/MOUs between the Indian government and Israel signed in the last decade need to be reviewed – in particular those pertaining to purchase of defence & security gadgetry. After all, 1400 million Indians need a much safer security system than the one which failed Israel.
P.S. Sahni is a member of PIL Watch Group.