The India observer, New Delhi, Jan 6, 2020
By Shirin Abbas, Edited By Adam Rizvi, TIO: The assassination of Iranian General Qasim Suleimani by the United States at Baghdad’s International Airport has not only evoked a sharp reaction from the Indian government but has ratcheted up the disturbance and tension in the region. ser. In an official reaction, India has expressed concern over the security situation in the region, saying the increase in tension was alarming as peace and security in the region were of utmost importance and had been jeopardized by this action. This is a serious violation and the crime, this targeted killing of a General who was the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force will draw a larger conflict between the USA and Iran. There are thousands of US troops that are deployed not just in Iraq and Syria but around and beyond that area too.
The killing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force chief Qassim Suleimani, seen by many as the Gulf nation’s second most powerful leader after the Supreme Leader, by the US has elicited a cautious response from India as it again called for restraint. “It’s vital that the situation doesn’t escalate. India has consistently advocated restraint and continues to do so,’’ said the government.
India’s quest for an alternative route to central Asia and Afghanistan (bypassing Pakistan) and the fact that the region is home to almost 8 million Indians makes it impossible for any Indian government to ignore Tehran. This despite the fact that the US is India’s most important strategic partner, India’s so-called ancient ties with Iran. Speaking to the press on the development, former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal said, India has been put in a very difficult position by this “irresponsible act’’ by President Donald Trump, one which cannot be justified by any international law. “This will provoke retaliation and ultimately end up destabilizing the region and jeopardizing our wide-ranging interests there,’’ Sibal added.
In the past year or so, India has had to drastically cut down its crude imports from Iran under US pressure. Iraq has emerged as one of its top energy suppliers. Any military escalation in the region, as Sibal says, could hurt India’s supplies. Sibal has also added that Trump’s airstrike is purely in a domestic political context with no consideration for its likely impact on important partners like India. “The US should now do some serious introspection before lecturing India and recommending action on what India considers domestic issues,’’ he says.
Former diplomat and an expert on Middle-East affairs, Talmeez Ahmed, has stated that India’s reaction is in keeping with its traditional bilateral and transactional approach, one which he adds has already run its course. “My own view is that India should no longer sit on the fence and instead use its clout to play a more robust diplomatic role in promoting peace and security in the region, “ Ahmed said, adding that any military conflagration in the region could hurt thousands of Indians within days.
General Qasim Soleimani, the powerful commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was killed in a US airstrike in Iraq ordered by President Donald Trump, the Pentagon announced on Friday. The strike also killed the deputy chief of Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force.
Mourners in Suleimani’s home town came out and filled the streets it was seen as the ocean of people and matched the crowd which came out in Baghdad, Tehran, Qom, Mashhad and Ahvaz in recent days to bid goodbye to the commander of the Revolutionary Guards external operations force, who was killed in Iraq.
Meanwhile protests after Friday namaz in Shia dominated areas of India have marked Suleimani’s death. In Shia dominated Chiktan in Ladakh and Kargil area of Kashmir, many participated in a protest against the US killing of General Qaseem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force.
The protest march started from Imam Bada Chiktan and culminated at Police Post Chiktan Kargil where the protesters raised slogans including ‘Down With America’, ‘Down With Isreal’ and ‘Solidarity with General Qasim Suleimani’.
Kashmiri Shia cleric Mohd Aga Syed Mohd Mosavi, who was part of the protest strongly criticized the US for the killing of General Qasim Suleimani and expressed solidarity with Iran.
In Lucknow, the hub of Shia clergy and leadership, prominent Shia cleric, Maulana Kalbe Jawad organized a protest rally against the US forces for the assassination of Qasim Soleimani. The largely attended protest rally was held at Chhota Imambara in Lucknow on Saturday.
Speaking on the occasion Kalbe Jawad said this action of America was tyrannical and would destabilize peace in the nation. he said Iran would not remain silent on the killing of such a popular and benevolent general, one who had played a key role in decimating ISIS influence in the region.
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The protests were attended by a large gathering of people holding aloft pictures of the slain general and chanting anti-America slogans.