Friday, July 18, 2014

MH17 Crash: Why India Shall Stay Away From Taking Sides

The public discourse in India on shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 seems to have almost concluded that t were pro-Russian rebels who shot it down using a Russian supplied Buk Missile and Russia is the only party to be blamed for this one of the worst human tragedies of his decade.

But wait a minute. Is Russia only party to be blamed for this disaster even if it ultimately comes out that pro-Russian rebels shot down MH17? May be not. Even if Russia supplied  rebels with Buk SAM systems, it were not meant for shooting down Civilian planes. The American argument that Russian should not have supplied such sophisticated systems to untrained handlers may lead to a foot in the mouth moment for Americans. US has armed Afghan Jehadists with Stringers which were also used against India during Kargil War. US allies like Qatar are already in dock for supplying MAN-PADS to Syrian rebels many of which also went to organizations like ISIS and we may very well expect that those arms will be put to more reckless handling . Coming to mistake part, we need not forget how in 1988, a US Frigate patrolling the Strait of Hormz shot down an Iranian Airliner killing 290 passengers.

And let's not miss the Ukrainian part. In a statement, Malaysian Airlines has said that they had filed flight plan to fly at 35000 meters but Ukraine ATC downed it to 33000 meters, just 1000 meters above the prohibited altitude.

What we need to understand that despite the shock-waves, incident has sent around the world, in Geo-political terms we have little at stake in Ukraine crisis. It is a tussle between West and a resurgent Russia from which we better stay away in view of our own interests. However, we will be putting a lot at stake if we take sides with Americans. As US is all set to leave Afghanistan, only major power with which we will have to work in Central Asia is Russia. It will be certainly a bad timing to alienate Putin.

We may take some queues from China. China's official Xinhua News Agency has termed response of US, Australia and other Western countries as "harsh"  and has called for restraint in jumping to any conclusions putting the blame on Russia without a proper investigation.

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