India Mans Up over Syria


After some initial vacillation, in a remarkable display of gumption,  India voted in favor of the United Nations Security Council resolution that seeks to impose sanctions on the Syrian regime. In voting for the resolution, India alluded to the position of the Arab League, which had endorsed the resolution.

Thanks to the obduracy of China and Russia, the resolution was blocked. But despite this outcome, India's willingness to adopt a firm position on this issue marks a welcome shift in its multilateral diplomacy. It demonstrated that it could play a constructive role in the Security Council and not simply sit on the sidelines avoiding any possible risks when endorsing a potentially costly option.

Admittedly, the stand of the Arab League made it easier for it to vote in favor of the resolution. That said, it still required a degree of resolve to step forward given that the decision, without a doubt, will piqué some domestic political constituencies. These include a segment of the political class that remains reflexively anti-American, spouts the atavistic dogma of nonalignment, and lacks faith in India's own democratic institutions.

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Having finally demonstrated the necessary firmness at the Security Council when confronted with a potentially risky choice, it should now continue to display a similar willingness to play a more active and dexterous role there. Such a posture may enable it to garner the support that it so desperately seeks, and so urgently needs, to obtain an eventual permanent seat in a reformed and expanded Security Council.

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