If the Gaza crisis explodes, India too will lose
India should support the moderate Palestinian Authority for better security and politics.
India's Shifting Perspectives on the Middle East
- Early Indian Preference for Secular Nationalists: Independent India initially favored modern, secular leaders in the Middle East over traditionalist and religious forces.
- Complexities beyond Secular vs. Conservative: The simplistic division between secular republics and conservative monarchies failed to grasp the intricate dynamics of the region.
- Rise of Religious Extremism Alters Dynamics: Developments since the late 1970s led to the emergence of violent religious extremism, challenging both secular and conservative regimes.
India's Evolving Middle East Engagement
- India's Closer Ties with Arab Moderates and Israel: India has strengthened its relations with Arab moderates and Israel due to shared interests in countering extremism, economic development, and regional security.
- Recent Gaza Violence Threatens Progress: The recent violence in Southern Israel and Gaza poses a challenge to India's gains in the Middle East.
- Preventing Crisis from Breaking Emerging Coalition: Indian policy must work to prevent the current crisis from fracturing the emerging alliance of Arab moderates and Israel.
Imperatives for Indian Policy in the Middle East
- Encouraging Greater Moderation in Israel: India should advocate for prudence in Israel's response to attacks, cautioning against a potentially costly and counterproductive invasion of Gaza.
- Strengthening the Palestinian Authority: Support for the moderate Palestinian Authority against Hamas is crucial for stability in the region.
- Recognizing Regional Ambitions of Iran and Turkey: India must acknowledge the geopolitical aspirations of Iran and Turkey, non-Arab powers with influence in the Middle East.