Times of India | West Asia may not take the wind out of the sails of India’s diplomatic campaign against Pakistan, but it is certainly not being of any help either. In fact, if media reports are any indication, several countries in the region are getting more and more apprehensive about India’s conduct in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.
What may also worry India is the growing perception that Pakistan itself is the victim of the crisis and that India is on its way to joining the so-called unholy nexus comprising the US, UK and Israel. It wouldn’t be wrong to state, going by the popular mood, that most of the countries have not just fallen for Pakistan’s `babe in the woods’ appearance but have also been critical of India’s stand vis-a-vis its proximity to the US.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are two countries where the media seems to have already made up its mind that India has joined hands with the US and Israel. “The Indian brother may have already given the Americans a mandate to launch wars in the Indian subcontinent, whose management will be India’s responsibility, since it is possessed by the same `vengeance obsession’ that struck the Americans in 2001,” said the influential Saudi daily Al Hayat in a recent editorial.
The media in Iran too seems to have taken a position diametrically opposite to India’s stated stand. President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, of course, had said immediately after the attacks that it might have been the handiwork of people from outside the region. Iranian newspaper Kayhan, in fact, has gone to the extent of suggesting that the attacks were staged together by India, Israel, US and UK.
The media has also expressed resentment against attempts by the US to draw parallels between Mumbai and 9/11. “If there is a connection between the Mumbai attacks and those of September 11, it is to be found in the American response. Seven months after planes flew into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Rice described those tragic events as `an enormous opportunity’ to `create a new balance of power’. Washington now sees a similar opportunity arising from the carnage in India to pursue its interests in South Asia,” said Islamic Republic New Agency which is run by the Iran government.
Sadly for India, there have been few editorials, if any, laying the blame on Pakistan for the attacks. On the contrary, many have underlying sympathy for Pakistan. “Terrorism also threatens Pakistan’s very existence, and directly or indirectly harms its sovereignty over its territory, every time the US attacks what Washington claims is a `terrorist’ target within Pakistan. India is furious while Pakistan, already in an extremely complex economic predicament, definitely needs no more crises to add to its existing ones,” stated Saudi’s Al Madina in an editorial.
West Asia is another dampener for India after China where People’s Daily, the government’s official mouthpiece, had described the Mumbai attacks as the handiwork of Hindus. The report had claimed that the terrorists were wearing a sacred thread around their wrists and this proved that they were Hindus.
Hezbollah in Lebanon had earlier warned India against joining the Americans and Israelis. The organisation has blamed Takfiri sect of Sunni Muslims for the attack. Nevertheless, it went on to state that India’s stand should be independent of “the hegemony of the arrogant”. “We have noted that these kinds of attacks that struck India are often a prelude to US security and military interference that confiscates the sovereignty of states at the pretext of fighting terrorism. These attacks will be an opportunity for the US administration to blackmail both Pakistan and India and infringe on their sovereignty,” it said in an official statement.
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