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Pushing Forth Proxy Wars

India sent all sorts of humanitarian aid to Turkey and Syria after a 6.4 magnitude tremor struck the two neighbouring countries on February 6, 2023, killing more than 50,000 people. However, India’s friendly gesture has failed to prompt Ankara to soften its anti-India stance.

Reports suggest that SADAT Inc., the Sunni Private Military Company (PMC) headquartered in Istanbul, is making preparations to launch an operation in northern Indian Province of Kashmir. According to sources close to the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW; the foreign intelligence agency of India), SADAT has already started recruiting staff in eastern Turkey and Syria for the operation. R&AW recently came to know that these people would receive a monthly salary of USD 2,000 for taking part in the operation in Kashmir. It may be noted that Ankara uses SADAT for military, as well as political, purposes.

Adnan Tanrıverdi, a former Brigadier General of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), founded SADAT in 2012 for providing services, such as military and interior training, defence consultancy and ordnance procurement, within West Asia. Tanrıverdi, who also served as the Military Adviser of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had trained the Sunni militants of Iraq, Syria, Libya and many other Middle Eastern countries in the past. Both President Erdoğan and Tanrıverdi openly back Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.

Defence experts are of the opinion that as Turkey and Pakistan cannot defeat India in a conventional or nuclear war, they plan to launch a proxy war against India to destabilise the country. At the same time, they have mentioned that there is nothing new in SADAT’s Kashmir mission. In December 2020, Greek journalist Andreas Mountzouralias stated in his report titled Erdoğan sends mercenaries to Kashmir, published in Pentapostagama, that it was a part of Ankara’s endeavour to influence the followers of Islam in South Asia, and to challenge the dominance of Saudi Arabia in the Islamic World. According to Mountzouralias, Turkey decided to implement its plan in South Asia with the help of Pakistan. Pakistan also agreed to back Erdoğan’s attempt to capture Greek lands and plots.

Liberal diplomacy & exceptions
A video has recently gone viral, as it shows members of India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) leaving Turkey after taking part in post-earthquake rescue operations. The video also shows Government officials and common people expressing their gratitude with claps for helping them during the crisis period. This scene is a real treat for the Indians.

Watch: Turkey planning to destabilise India (in Hindi)

The role of India in the rescue operation in Turkey is not an exception, as the South Asian nation has been extending aid to various countries for the past two decades in line with its growing financial and military influence. It may be noted that India, along with several other countries, joined rescue operations after an earthquake and tsunami rocked the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in 2004. The Indian Naval ships had helped rescue and resettle thousands of people from different islands and coastal areas scattered across Southeast Asia.

When the rich Western countries were busy stockpiling vaccines and essential medicines for their own people during the COVID-19 Pandemic, India sent vaccines and essential medical equipment to poorer countries in South Asia and other parts of the world. More recently, India sent 180,000 tonnes of wheat to Egypt on an emergency basis after the northern African nation experienced an acute food crisis in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine War. Again, India provided financial assistance to Maldives and Sri Lanka when the Tourism Industry of these two countries suffered a lot during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Narendra Modi Government in New Delhi also helped Colombo in various ways when the tiny island nation was going through a financial crisis in 2022.

When Sri Lanka was trying hard to receive a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), no country came forward to be its guarantor. China, in spite of its huge investments in Sri Lanka, refused to be a guarantor. However, India did not hesitate to play that role. On a number of occasions, India has acted faster than the rich Western nations. However, a section of Foreign Policy experts is of the opinion that India’s tendency to side with neighbouring countries in crisis periods actually reflects the attempt of New Delhi to project itself as a major regional power.

Interestingly, Pakistan is a notable exception to this Indian policy. Heavy rainfalls triggered devastating floods in that country in June-August 2022. After the floods, Pakistan experienced food, as well as health, crisis; with countless men, women and children still spending their days in indescribable conditions. Furthermore, political instability and financial crisis have worsened the scenario in Pakistan in recent times. India’s indifference and apathetic attitude towards its immediate neighbour, which is beset by a multidimensional crisis, has shocked the geopolitical experts.

Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the Indian Minister of External Affairs, recently said that the Government would have to see what the people of India want in this regard. With this statement, he clearly hinted that the Modi Administration would consider the sentiment of common people first. Indians, in Kashmir and other parts of the country, have become victims of Pakistan-sponsored terrorist activities since 1947. The two neighbouring countries have fought four wars so far, and Islamabad has used every international forum to embarrass New Delhi.

Although Turkey maintains cordial ties with Pakistan, India has sent humanitarian aid to Ankara after the devastating quake. Still, India would have to keep a few things in mind. As India wants to gradually establish itself as the undisputed leader of the Global South, it would have to normalise ties with Pakistan. The top political leadership in New Delhi would also have to understand that foreign policy should not be based on public sentiment toward a particular country. Public sentiment can never guide a long-term policy.

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