Speculation is rife across the Indian strategic community that when American President Barack Obama meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the US soil this week, he may discuss , among several important issues, taking New Delhi on board in the ongoing military campaign against the violent Islamic State group based in Iraq and Syria. I guess Prime Minister Modi would be favourably inclined to an American proposition to this effect.
Prime Minister Modi’s speech at the current United Nations General Assembly session indicates he is well aware India has suffered at the hands of the Islamists for the last four decades and he will not tolerate the evil any more . Like most of us, Modi knows today the ISIS, led by the self-styled Caliph of Iraq and Syria Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, represents the most dangerous Islamist outfit in the world . It calls for global jehad aimed at installing an Islamic world dominion, of which India, along with many other pluralist nations, would be part.
Sharing its ideology in common with of al Qaeda, Taliban and other Wahabist Islamist outfits, the ISIS preaches hatred and violence against whoever does not subscribe to its radical, militant theological version. In its operations and activities , the ISIS has been far more aggressive and dangerous than its once ideological begetter al-Qaida. It has made a rapid advance in a very short time. Beginning just as a mere group of al-Qaida in the region, it took the shape of Islamic State in Iraq in 2006 in the wake of the escalation of the crisis the post –dictator Saddam Hussein phase generated in the country . As another crisis escalated in the neighbourhood of Syria under its autocratic presidency of Bashar al Assad, this terrorist group metamorphosed into an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Now it is known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Syria, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus and parts of Turkey).
The situation demands New Delhi to cooperate with Washington( and allies) in combating this outfit without any delay. Knowledgeable sources say New Delhi could be of great use in this war in the area of intelligence cooperation . At present, Indo-American intelligence cooperation is confined just to exchanging notes on IS propaganda and information-sharing. This could be enhanced to target the Islamists and block IS attempts to enlist gullible people in India and the United States .
Time is opportune too for India. Washington and London have at long last got up from their bloody slumber to act against ISIS terrorists– I wish they had awaken before the beheading of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff , British aid worker David Haines and French tourist Herve Gourdel . President Obama has implored world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly to rally behind this campaign. He thinks, and rightly so, “there can be no reasoning, no negotiation, with this brand of evil” and force is the only language the militants understand. Obama has just chaired also a meeting of the U.N. Security Council where members unanimously adopted a resolution to prevent the recruitment and transport of would-be foreign fighters preparing to join terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State group.
Besides, U.S. planes have already began hitting ISIS targets in Syria. They have been joined by five Arab nations- Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. France has also taken part in this . Denmark has sent in its air power. It is being said that Iran too is sending troops in Iraq while Syrian President Bashar al Assad has consented to strikes on the Islamist targets on his territory .