The chemical weapons window
- Malaysian plane crashes off Vietnam coast; 5 Indians on board
- No compromise with live-ins or gay rights, moral values supreme: RSS
- In Mumbai, new warship system malfunctions, Navy officer killed
- SC calls Sahara proposal an âinsultâ, Subrata Roy to stay in jail till March 11
- I'm not a terrorist, Modi should have met me: Arvind Kejriwal
India has so far been reticent to enter the Syria debate despite the debilitating economic impact of a possible US strike, especially on India's oil import bill. In many ways, Indian diplomacy has come to believe that there is little it can do in a fight where its opinion may count for little given that it's no longer a member of the UN Security Council.
In fact, this guarded stance is quite in line with India's general attitude towards such conflicts beyond its immediate geography. And in reality, this may, perhaps, be a more pragmatic line as unlike the past, India no longer wants to take normative positions that could negatively impact its relations with bigger powers. Simply put, why end up taking sides if it can be avoided?
But at the same time, it's important to make a distinction between taking moral positions for the sake of international grandstanding and those which are congruent to a country's national interest. And here is where the Russian proposal, which Damascus has agreed in-principle, to have Syria give up its chemical weapons provides India that opportunity.
How? India is among the founder signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention. It destroyed its stockpile and became one of three countries in the world to declare that it does not have chemical weapons. In fact, the US and Russia are yet to do away with their stocks. This is one area, where India's non-proliferation credentials are impeccable enough to take a stronger position in the interest of resolving the current crisis after the chemical attack in Syria.
In other words, India should go beyond just termig this proposal as a "positive development", which has even got the US interested, but also proactively push it further given its own commitment against chemical weapons. Until now, India was caught between this commitment and its larger principle against unilateral military intervention.
- Chai pe Charcha gets police protection, EC officials to check on poll norm violation
- Complaint against Kejriwal: Kutch cops gather evidence
- AAP chief to hold first public meeting in Gujarat today
- Nominations for North Bangalore primary begin
- ‘Our campaigning in the state will be out of the box’
- ‘Aai Retire Hotey’ to take the stage for 100th time today