October 26, 2019 | Daily Times

The Indian media has begun peddling a new negative narrative centred on Turkey. And as usual , though unsurprisingly, they are trying to club both Turkey and Pakistan in this discourse.

In a rather blatantly worded as well as out of context insinuation on both Muslim countries, an Indian online publication Swarajya Mag, for instance, offered the following statement after the Turkish forces launched the Operation Peace Spring.

Erdogan’s threats to the EU when Turkey was condemned for the Syria invasion, are no words of a statesman. They are no different from the frequent nuclear threats of another rogue state, Pakistan. The world should worry when two rogue states fall into a deep embrace.

These insinuations overlook or advertently ignore one basic fact; all nations take actions that they deem necessary for safeguarding their interests.

President Donald Trump, ordered withdrawal from the northeastern Syrian border regions , saying saying it’s “not our border” and that the Kurds are “not angels.”

Erdogan did the same and pursued his country’s interests through a deal with the Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 22, under which the Syrian Kurds will leave what had been a buffer zone of about 20 miles into northern Syria from the Turkey-Syria border. Turkey will maintain control of the area set aside in the ceasefire with the US in August, while Russia and the Syrian government will move into and secure the rest. This way, Turkish Erdogan and Putin managed to fill a vacuum left behind by the abrupt decision of withdrawal of the US troops from northern Syria.

Coinciding the Erdogan-Putin deal was the US-Turkish agreement on a ceasefire in Turkey’s assault northeast Syria that allows the Kurdish-led forces five days to withdraw from the so-called “safe-zone” Ankara wants to establish inside Syria.

President Erdogan had defended the October 9 Operation Peace Spring saying it aimed to remove the Kurdish-led forces from the border area and create a “safe zone” to which millions of Syrian refugees can be returned.

The two deals Erdogan struck with the US and Russia literally stung most of the Indian media into silence because the two understandings simply trashed the way they tried to condemn Erdogan and link him to Pakistan.

This dichotomous view brings one prejudice to the fore i.e. states are kosher as long as they act in synch with you. They become rogue the moment they take a different and conflicting view.

Indians love to tout trading with Turkey as a “natural partnership” but when the country moves to secure its interests in its border territories it is decried as an “Islamic state heading towards Islamism.”

The power vacuum (resulting from the US pullout) has enabled the emergence of Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a potential Islamist rogue state, wrote the Swarajya Mag, also questioning the credentials of Turkey as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Same is the Indian view on China; the latter is fine as long as it trades with India to the tune of 100 billion dollars. The entire media sings China’s songs when president Xi Jinping hosts PM Modi at Wuhan (China) or comes to Chennai for an informal summit with Modi.

Strangely, the same China comes across as an evil force when it supports and stands by Pakistan. The Indian media and hardline analysts dub the Sino-Pak cooperation as a “nexus”

In a brazen contrast, India, hundreds of miles away, in its own “interest” takes sides in Afghanistan, and wants to be prepared to help the “Afghan regime” on the assumption that Trump will indeed abandon Afghanistan,” but would condemn Pakistan as a sinister player despite the fact that Afghanistan shares 2,560 km border with Pakistan.

Analysts even go to the extent of advising New Delhi that “better intelligence and covert moves to destabilise any future Taliban-Pakistan nexus ought to be key elements of our game plan.”

This self-righteous posturing ignores the fact that even Russia, from which India is buying expensive military hardware, itself is closely liasing with Pakistan and China to politically support and nudge the Taliban into talks with Kabul.

Is this too an “evil nexus or a wilful distortion of facts of life?

Indian government’s anxiety is understandable due to its failed and failing policies both at home and in the region, from a floundering economy to a serious mistake in Kashmir to a completely sidelined position in the context of Afghan issues. However, what India fails to understand that no matter whatever it’s size or it’s economy’s sliding international appeal, it has to live in a region, with neighbours. Its ill conceived narratives like above are polarising its own population.

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