Five reasons why India should not join war on ISIS

Sending our troops to Iraq and Syria would not only be a financial disaster, it would divert us from our fight against Pakistan sponsored terror.

 |  3-minute read |   14-01-2015
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Ever since he has become the prime minister, Narendra Modi's exploits have never ceased to amaze everyone. Right from holding audiences spellbound with his enthralling speeches to announcing Make in India programme, he has hardly spared any opportunity to project India as an emerging superpower. But his latest proposed exploit might turn out to be a disaster.

Today, Tehelka published an article which states that India will be sending troops to fight the ISIS in Iraq and Syria and an official announcement might be made during US President Obama's Republic Day visit. Apparently, this decision has been taken by the Modi government at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, which was attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry and it has been a long pending demand of the US government.

Well, although truly ambitious, it is totally not advisable for India to engage in a war against ISIS.

Here are five reasons why:

1. No prior experience on foreign soil: Unlike the US and other Western nations, India doesn't have any experience in foreign combat missions and fighting on foreign soil. On the other hand, US and NATO troops have been constantly engaging in various wars such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc, but Indian troops do not have any prior experience in engaging in combat missions. India's only foreign mission was in Sri Lanka, when Rajiv Gandhi sent Indian Peace Keeping Forces to curb tensions between Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE) and Sri Lankan government. The three year engagement resulted in the loss of more than 1,200 soldiers and allegedly led to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

2. Dealing with Pakistan: At a time when Pakistan has not stopped financing and sending terrorists to India despite the Peshawar attack, such a mission would dilute India's focus on Pakistan sponsered terror. With the recent ceasefire violations and the terror boat blow-up near Gujarat coast, it appears that Pakistan would continue to support terror groups like Lashkar to propagate violence against India. Therefore, India should continue to fight Pakistani terror with the same intensity and force. Any complacency could result in terrible repercussions.

3. Internal insurgencies: Naxalism has affected India badly and its growth in northern states is a cause for serious concern. Present in almost 223 districts across 20 states, it continues to bleed India and none of the previous governments hasn’t been able to broker peace with them. Moreover, the recent massacre of tribals by Bodo militants reiterated the importance to tackle the menace of North-East insurgent groups. India’s internal insurgencies pose a serious threat to India’s integrity and sovereignty, which still haven’t been tackled completely and therefore, Modi’s proposed plan will severely endanger India’s internal security.

4. Enormous costs: A foreign mission in Iraq and Syria will cost the Indian exchequer massively. As per estimates, the US government spends $300,000/hour for their air strikes against the ISIS, which is definitely unaffordable for India. Recently, India’s health budget, which is already extremely low, was slashed, citing lack of money. Hence, at a time when India’s financial situation is not positive, engaging in a war against ISIS will be a financial debacle. Instead, the government should focus on spending the country’s resources into sectors like health, education, child development, social welfare programs, etc.

5. Breeding ground for terror groups: The forced conversion issue is already being leveraged as an issue by Muslim extremist and fundamentalist groups to recruit more members. Sending troops to Iraq and Syria might further cause resentment among the Indian Muslims and provide the opportune breeding ground for ISIS as well as Indian terror groups like Indian Mujahideen, Students Islamic Movement of India, etc which will further increase the possibility of Jihadi attacks in India.

Writer

Devanik Saha Devanik Saha @devanikindia

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