June 21, 2024

Israel-Hamas Conflict: A Precept for India

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By: Seetal Patra

Israel-Hamas conflict: source Internet

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa in a recent interview to Rajdeep Sardesai said, “It is sad to see how Indians have changed.”

India is an important stakeholder in any major and minor world event. The world views India’s response through the gaze of Israel-Palestine (Hamas), but the government of India/ Bharat sees this as an event in the Middle East with repercussions for a possible spillover to India. A biased western media has gone to the extent of interpreting New Delhi’s response as pro or anti-Hindutva, since the ruling party is the BJP, infamously identified as anti-minority (Islam) party. But the prism of India’s interpretation of this conflict is deeply embedded in the realities of internal affairs and external realism embedded in real-time geopolitics. Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar has ensured to mention in numerous other geopolitical fraught that, “Do not think it is necessary for India to join any axis. India is entitled to make its own choices which will be a balance of its values and interests.”

India views Israel as the lever of Middle East evidenced from the mini-lateral I2U2, followed by India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor. India cannot afford to get herself embroiled in the difficult annals of not siding with Israel. India has made its stance very clear regarding the vagaries of conflict of interest when it comes to the infighting between the human rights with that of territorial rights (Palestine), and retaliation to terrorism (Israel). India stood its stand by not opposing the U.N ceasefire resolution and abstaining from the UNGA resolution seeking a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza. India has lessons to learn from this conflict for it to be future ready, considering the fact India is one of the worst placed geopolitically when it comes to its external and foreign borders.

We must understand and reinvigorate and reiterate the fact that along with a muscular foreign policy, there also must be the preparedness about the highest levels of military intelligence. The art of statecraft is an effective amalgamation and saturation of two things; Surprise and Deception. We have a lot of parallels that can be drawn from our unfortunate past episodes of ravaging our internal sovereignty in the case of Kargil War and the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

Military intelligence is all about hunch and the effective joining of the dots that play out in the domain of tactics, strategy, and intelligence. This brings us to the point that the Five Eyes alliance and the CIA got all the nodes correct in the case of Russia-Ukraine war, but in this case, all the points got whitewashed right in front of their eyes. The IDF and the Mossad got whitewashed and trapped onto an ‘Information Deception.’ The Hamas used every tactic and strategy by tearing out the pages of learning from that of the IDF and the Mossad. The way Israel was in for a battle shock, we do not want that for India, if God forbid, we see any escalation in any of our volatile and porous borders.

Deterrence is costly, but wars are always costlier. For deterrence to be effective and tech savvy and timely, there must be ramping up of the efforts for ensuring the Theatre Commands, and the necessary structural changes in the Intelligence. Howsoever technologically advanced we might get; Human Intelligence can never be undermined. HUMINT since the age of the genesis of nationhood and statehood, has remained an undeniable asset to any tactic solvation and strategy modulation. HUMINT is the conviction of truth, that transcends the boundaries of technology, neither undermining, nor demonizing the power of technology in effective war deterrence.  Human source intelligence is and uniquely effective against the terrorist targets. And this becomes even more important for India, since we are in a limbo of vulnerability, both from an internal security (as reckless as that of a Lone Wolf attack) and an external security prism.


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