Ever since the anti-CAA agitation and violence took shape of a massive riot in Northeast Delhi, several countries and individuals around the world have been making anti-India remarks about it.
In a shocking development, even Tehran which shares close ties with India made some rather disconcerting remarks. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had criticised India over Delhi violence, saying, “For centuries, Iran has been a friend of India. We urge Indian authorities to ensure the wellbeing of ALL Indians & not let senseless thuggery prevail. The path forward lies in peaceful dialogue and the rule of law.”
This did not only go against the spirit of close ties between the two countries but also tried to pass off the riots in which several Hindus too were killed as a massacre of Muslims.
Iran condemns the wave of organized violence against Indian Muslims.
For centuries, Iran has been a friend of India. We urge Indian authorities to ensure the wellbeing of ALL Indians & not let senseless thuggery prevail.
Path forward lies in peaceful dialogue and rule of law.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 2, 2020
Later, even after New Delhi expressed displeasure with Zarif’s remarks, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted, “The hearts of Muslims all over the world are grieving over the massacre of Muslims in India. The govt of India should confront extremist Hindus & their parties & stop the massacre of Muslims in order to prevent India’s isolation from the world of Islam.”
The hearts of Muslims all over the world are grieving over the massacre of Muslims in India. The govt of India should confront extremist Hindus & their parties & stop the massacre of Muslims in order to prevent India’s isolation from the world of Islam.#IndianMuslimslnDanger
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 5, 2020
Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more. Trump responds by saying, "That's up to India." This is a failure of leadership on human rights.https://t.co/tUX713Bz9Y
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 26, 2020
Now, career diplomat and External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar has spoken about these recent developments. On being asked if New Delhi is losing friends abroad due to the Delhi riots, Jaishankar replied, “Maybe we are getting to know who our friends really are.”
The External Affairs Minister also said that there was a time when India had fewer capabilities and more risks and therefore a strategy of “managing the world but kind of staying away,” was adopted.
However, the career diplomat added, “We can’t do that anymore,” and alluded to the growing size of India’s economy and the changing nature of the world.
What Jaishankar said essentially means that India now has greater capabilities and potential to pursue a bolder foreign policy. Today, India is the fifth-largest economy of the world and one of the biggest military powers- two main elements of National power that place India in a position with ample capabilities. In coming times, it will emerge as the third-largest economy of the world and therefore India’s dynamics have changed and so has its foreign policy.
Jaishankar’s remarks also come as a word of caution to those who have always represented themselves as India’s friends, but are trying to bully New Delhi by masquerading anti-CAA violence and riots as a massacre of Muslims.
But the External Affairs Minister has made it clear that this only helps New Delhi in identifying who India’s real friends are. By necessary implication, it also means that India will identify who are not its friends and impose harsh consequences upon those who turned their backs on India following the anti-CAA propaganda and Delhi riots.
Tehran, in particular, has much to worry about following Jaishankar’s remarks. Till date, Iran has enjoyed India’s goodwill. India had been the second-largest importer of Iranian oil showing how Tehran benefitted from India, however that oil-relationship has bitten the dust in the last one year as US pressure across the world has caused India to reduce Iranian oil import to zero, and shift to other more stable sources such as Saudi Arabia and the US.
With its enhanced capabilities, New Delhi has started resorting to imposition of economic consequences as a means of imposing costs for any diplomatic offensive against it.
Following Malaysia and Turkey’s anti-India tirade, New Delhi had taken such steps. In Malaysia’s case, the Modi government had taken a bold decision of restricting imports of refined palm oil and palm olein. Similarly, in Ankara’s case, it was reported that India is looking to cut oil and steel imports from Turkey.
In both the cases, India has shown that interfering with New Delhi’s internal matters is not going to be taken lightly.
Now, Jaishankar’s remarks reiterate the same message for Iran- you cannot interfere in India’s internal matters and get away with it. India will make you pay for such unwarranted diplomatic interference. New Delhi is watching and it is taking note of all uncourteous remarks being made by its so-called friends.