Indian diplomacy is perhaps at its best form today with effective offensive blitz to silence its few detractors who have been trying to castigate Indian action in abrogating Article 370 and introducing radical changes in the state of Jammu & Kashmir . Indian Prime Minister Modi’s address ( September 27) at the United Nations came under severe criticism by President Erdogan of Turkey , joined by Mahatir Mohammad of Malaysia who exceeded diplomatic courtesies by describing J&K being invaded and occupied by India . It’s clear that such remarks came at the express prompting of Erdogan who is trying to get some space in the international scene after his plummeting and battered image , world wide .
Here comes the element of Indian diplomacy, when in a rare and bold move , India forthrightly criticised ( October 10) Turkey’s military offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria . This was obviously in response to Turkey’s outburst against India on Kashmir . Going a step further , India called upon President Erdogan to exercise restraint and respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria .
Further , in a strong statement , India warned Turkey that its actions of ethnic cleansing of the Kurds can undermine stability in the region with profound adverse impact on the ongoing fight against IS led terror . More importantly , Turkish unilateral action , bereft of any sound reasoning , risks release of thousands of IS cadres , currently held in Northern Syria . India also came down heavily on Turkey for selective condemnation of terror thus pointing out its baseless allegations on Kashmir and condoning Pakistani indifference towards its own persecuted religious minorities .
Such robust moves , on part of India is the best offensive so far to neutralise Turkey‘s unfounded rhetoric which has been pandering Pakistan on Kashmir with occasional anti India statements . Indian noise apart , Turkish action is receiving almost universal condemnation . Security analysts are at a loss to fathom US judgment and wisdom to withdraw thousands of its troops from Northern Syria leaving a glaring vacuum , swiftly occupied by Turkey primarily to rid the Kurds . This has also left in the lurch it’s main ally , Syrian Democratic Forces ( SDF) in its battle against the IS .
Meanwhile , in a related development , NATO Secretary General , Jens Stoltenberg recently defended ( October 13) its stance on Turkey’s military operation against the Kurdish militants . That is showing marked differences on an unified approach on the NATO stance in dealing with any fresh prescription on the emerging crisis . The EU threatened of imposing more sanctions against Turkey . Earlier , Stoltenberg dashed to Istanbul on October 11 which is being seen that the NATO Secretary General is soft towards Ankara .
Again at a recently held NATO session in London , the Secretary General came under heavy criticism by French and Italian delegates for his conciliatory approach towards Erdogan .
Erdogan , in the meantime , has threatened to open the gates of nearly 3.6 million refugees , currently believed to be living in his country , to migrate to various parts of Europe if the European leaders continue to hold Turkey guilty on its military campaign in North Eastern Syria describing it as an occupation . It’s clearly a strong arm tactics and an emotional blackmail . He aired his views very recently at his party’s meeting . Such a statement is the hallmark of Erdogan who is perhaps oblivious of the unpopularity he faces from within . He survived a military coup in 2016 leading him to ease out thousands of disgruntled army men from the payrolls .
There seems to be a simmering discontent brewing within . This was demonstrated in the recently held local elections in Turkey . The mayoral candidate in Erdogan’s perceived stronghold , Istanbul, lost convincingly . Erdogan flexed muscles and managed a recount . Again , his party lost and the opposition candidate assumed charge . This illustration is only a tip of the iceberg . Erdogan continues to highlight that he is the regional policeman and only his writ runs whether in Syria , Qatar , Iran or affairs in Egypt . His one point agenda other than exterminating the Kurds to propagate the tenets of Muslim Brotherhood .
Perhaps to compete with the spread of Wahhabism or a more pronounced role by Saudi Arabia , as the champion to highlight the cause of the Muslims , Erdogan expresses sympathy with the Muslims be them the Rohingyas or Kashmiri Muslims . But they are all fake and cosmetic . He is silent on Muslims in China or in the PoK as also on the Ahmediyas in Pakistan . Prime Minister Modi did well in meeting Greek , Armenian and Cypriot heads of governments on the sidelines of UN session last month which must have irked Erdogan as Turkish excesses in these countries merited stern reminders to Turkey to put it on the defensive lest he resorts to India bashing on Kashmir . A counter propaganda blitz perhaps is an effective way to keep Turkey in check . His military action in Syria is a relevant food for thought for Erdogan bashers . Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and other predominantly Muslim countries can perhaps collaborate together with India to isolate Turkey diplomatically exposing his taint against the Kurds . Such a collective move should also hold Erdogan responsible for putting a brake on steps to contain the IS led terror and escape of countless IS terrorists bringing a setback to the ongoing combat against the IS .
( writer is a retired IPS officer , a security analyst and a former National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Mauritius . The views expressed are personal )