(This article forms a part of the View From India newsletter curated by The Hindu’s foreign affairs experts. To get the newsletter in your inbox every Monday,?subscribe?here.)
It is day 45 of the Israel-Hamas war, as Gaza continues to brave incessant loss and destruction. Our Foreign Affairs Editor Stanly Johny has been looking at the development closely, breaking down various key aspects — historic and contemporary — of this conflict for our readers.
In this piece, he zooms into the geopolitical question. While the situation in Gaza is effectively back to what it was prior to 2005, the world order has entirely changed, compared to the time when the U.S. was the sole superpower in the region. “Russia and China may not replace America in West Asia in the near future given the U.S.’s huge military presence, but the growing footprint of other great powers is offering space for better manoeuvrability for regional players. By tying itself deeply with Mr. Netanyahu’s brutal, endless war on Gaza, the Biden administration has put the U.S. in a difficult position in a region that is already in a flux,” he writes.??
Meanwhile, speaking at the second virtual ‘Voice of Global South Summit’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi “strongly condemned” the civilian casualties in the ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip. “We are all seeing that developments in West Asia are giving birth to new challenges. India has condemned the dastardly terror attack on Israel on October 7. We urged for a restrained response along with dialogue and diplomacy. We strongly condemn the death of civilians in Israel-Hamas conflict,” he said.?
If countries have geopolitical considerations while taking sides, individuals, including public intellectuals, base their positions on their political persuasion and moral considerations. Many taking a position critical of the Israel state are facing huge backlash across the world, from those deliberately construing the criticism as being anti-Semitic. Criticism of Zionism is not anti-Semitism, noted art critic Ranjit Hoskote has said, while resigning from the selection committee of German art festival Documenta 16. “It is clear to me that there is no room, in this toxic atmosphere, for a nuanced discussion of the issues at stake. And now – in what strikes me as a doomed attempt to save a situation that is beyond saving – I am being asked to accept a sweeping and untenable definition of anti-Semitism that conflates the Jewish people with the Israeli state; and that, correspondingly, misrepresents any expression of sympathy with the Palestinian people as support for Hamas,” he said. Kallol Bhattacherjee reports.
Enhancing trade ties?
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar was in the United Kingdom, coinciding with some surprise twists in British politics. Our correspondent Sriram Lakshman tracked the visit closely, including Mr. Jaishankar’s meeting with newly appointed Foreign Secretary David Cameron, and negotiations on the much-anticipated trade deal.
During the visit, the EAM also took up the issue of Khalistani separatist activity in the U.K., with the newly appointed Home Secretary James Cleverly and the National Security Adviser Tim Barrow. However, Mr. Jaishankar has denied a claim in The Guardian that he “pressured” Mr. Cameron on information about Khalistani activists involved in the protests around the Indian High Commission in London on March 19 this year.
Top 5 pieces we are reading this week
- Priyali Prakash profiles David Cameron, the former British Prime Minister who is now back in action as Foreign Secretary.
- Priyanjali Malik writes on Suella Braverman, Rishi Sunak’s Indian-origin former Home Secretary, and her ‘dangerous legacy.
- Srinivasan Ramani explains why people are fleeing Myanmar for Mizoram. What’s happening in the border States of the northeast because of the civil war in the neighbouring country? Read here.
- What led ICC to suspend Sri Lanka Cricket, a move that has caused a domestic political storm? N. Sudarshan writes.
- K.C. Vijaya Kumar profiles Glenn Maxwell, the ‘demolition man’.