Skip to main content

Passage to the Gulf

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/passage-to-the-gulf-narendra-modi-visit-to-muscat-oman-india-deal/

Agreements with Oman must be a beginning. India needs to open up its long-ossified military diplomacy.

By: Editorial |Published: February 15, 2018 12:31 am

PM Narendra Modi in Oman. (File)

The most remarkable thing about the new agreements with Oman on military access to the Duqm port and logistical cooperation, announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Muscat, is that they took so long. The Gulf kingdoms have always been interested in strong security partnerships with India. It was Delhi, however, that thumbed its nose. Through the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries, the undivided Subcontinent under the Raj was the principal security provider for Oman and other sheikhdoms in the south eastern coast of the Arabian peninsula. After Independence, non-aligned India began to dissociate itself from such a role. When the British decided to withdraw most of their military forces from the east of Suez and granted independence to the Gulf kingdoms in 1971, many of the sheikhs turned to India for security partnerships.

Related NewsPM Narendra Modi in Arunachal LIVE updates: Doordarshan to be re-launched for northeastPM Modi in Arunachal today, first visit since Doklam rowIndia in a corner: Beneath the foreign policy bluster is a great floundering

At the urging of Muscat, for example, India signed a defence cooperation agreement with Oman in 1972. India also deputed its naval personnel to man the fledgeling maritime forces of Oman. As India’s own defence infrastructure began to rust and its foreign policy turned increasingly ideological, Delhi’s ability and interest in sustaining the security partnership with Oman and other Gulf states began to diminish. As India began to turn outward again in 1991, Oman took the initiative to renew the defence cooperation agreement with India in 2005. Since then there has been a tentative expansion of India’s military engagement. While the Indian Navy and the Foreign Office are eager to expand India’s security footprint in the Indian Ocean, the civilian bureaucracy of the Ministry of Defence has not bought into the idea of military diplomacy.

Meanwhile, the PLA has begun to develop basing arrangements across the Indian Ocean as part of its naval power projection. It will be a huge mistake for Delhi, however, to view its naval engagement with friends like Oman through the Chinese prism. Delhi does not need access to Oman’s Duqm and other ports to counter Chinese naval presence in Pakistan’s Gwadar port that is so close to India. There is a strong case for rebuilding special military relationships with Oman and others on their own merits. In securing its growing economic interests far from national shores, India needs access to military facilities across the Indian Ocean. As small states seek to diversify their defence relations in an uncertain era, they are indeed eager for India’s security cooperation.

Unfortunately, Delhi has been hesitant to walk through that open door. Although Modi has been more enthusiastic, he is yet to modernise the ossified higher defence organisation that severely limits India’s military diplomacy. Without that reform, India’s security cooperation in the Gulf and beyond will remain ad hoc and underwhelming

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Balochistan to establish first medical university

https://www.dawn.com/news/1366135

The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentOctober 25, 2017QUETTA: The provincial cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft for establishing a medical university in Balochistan.Health minister Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch made the announcement while speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.“The cabinet has approved the draft of the medical university which would be presented in the current session of the Balochistan Assembly,” he said, adding with the assembly’s approval the Bolan Medical College would be converted into a medical university.Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017

5 Shia Hazara community members gunned down in Pakistan

http://m.hindustantimes.com/world-news/5-shia-hazara-community-members-gunned-down-in-pakistan/story-CHWR4lYByRHzf2KjHjMloI.html



Five members of the minority Shia Hazara community, including two women, were killed on Sunday in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.This is not the first time that members of the Hazara community have been targeted in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan.(Reuters File Photo)Updated: Sep 11, 2017 00:20 ISTBy Press Trust of India, Press Trust of India, KarachiFive members of the minority Shia Hazara community, including two women, were killed on Sunday in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.The gunmen targeted a car in Kuchluck area of Quetta while it was coming from the Chaman border crossing area, police said.The firing took place when the travellers had stopped at a filling station to refuel their vehicle. Five people of the Shia Hazara community, including two women, died in …

China’s 'Digital Silk Road': Pitfalls Among High Hopes

https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/chinas-digital-silk-road-pitfalls-among-high-hopes/


Will information and communication technologies help China realize its Digital Silk Road?By Wenyuan WuNovember 03, 2017In his speech at the opening ceremony of China’s 19th Party Congress, President Xi Jinping depicted China as a model of scientific and harmonious development for developing nations. Xi’s China wants to engage the world through commerce but also through environmental protection and technological advancement. This includes Beijing’s efforts to fight climate change with information and communication technologies (ICTs) that it plans to export along its “One Belt One Road” initiative (OBOR). Xi may have ambitious plans, but could China be throwing up obstacles in its own way?In his speech, the Chinese president emphasized the need to modernize the country’s environmental protections. The Chinese state is taking an “ecological civilization” approach to development and diplomacy, with a natio…