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An Unspeakable Nightmare: The Yemeni Crisis

Khushi Malhotra

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Rania and her eldest daughter, Amani, stand in the entrance to their home in a camp for internally displaced people in Lahj, Yemen. Photo: WFP/Mohammed Awadh

Authors: Khushi Malhotra and Vedant Avdhoot Sumant*

Why is Yemen at War?

After North and South Yemen merged, Saleh and Beidh decided to share power and form the Republic of Yemen on 22.05.1990. On 15.05.1991, the people of Yemen approved the constitutional Referendum which invested and respected human rights with and for the citizens. However, after such unification, there were disagreements between, President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Yemen’s Gulf Neighbours and the US of A.Disagreements, like these, sowed seeds for the current multifaceted problems faced by the country. Since then there have been various ceasefire agreements like ‘The Six-Point Government of Yemen-Houthi Ceasefire Agreement’ in 2010, ‘Hodeidah Agreement’ in 2018 backed by UN Resolution No. 2452, ‘Ceasefire order by Ansar Allah’, ‘Seven Point Peace Plan on Muscat Principles’ and their subsequent breaches ranging right from the Yemeni Arab Spring to the killing of Ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Over the years, Yemen has struggled in matters of good governance, stability, infrastructural developments, uplifting people, improving the standards of living and reduction of poverty, however, the current civil war in the country has exacerbated the situation. Incidents of political turmoil like the Houthis suspending the constitution and seizing the government in the early months of 2015 have further degraded the already appalling conditions pre-existing in the region. All the acts compounded together have led to Yemen undergoing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

International Laws Applicable : Human Casualties and Unprotected Rights

The conflict in Yemen involves countries like Saudi Arabia,  Egypt, Jordan, Morocco etc. supporting the Internationally recognized Government of Yemen and Iran supporting the Houthi’s, and several other countries,  however, it can’t be termed as an International Armed Conflict as the clashes are not between two states but between parties of the same country. Therefore, the rules of Non- International Armed conflicts apply. The criteria’s that have to be fulfilled are:-

1. Firstly, the armed violence must reach a certain degree of intensity so that it causes internal disturbances and tensions.

2. Secondly, at least one of the party to the armed conflict must be a non-state armed group forming an organisation.

These two conditions having been fulfilled in Yemen confirms the presence of Non-International Armed Conflict and applicability of its rules. The conflicts of such nature are governed by the treaties and rules of Customary International Lawas mentioned in International Humanitarian Law. The humanitarian laws that govern Non-International Armed Conflict and to which Yemen has ratified are the Common Article 3 to the four Geneva Convention 1949 and the Additional Protocol II. Common Article 3 prohibits cruel, humiliating and derogatory treatment. It further ensures that all parties to the conflict are humanely treated at all times. The exercise of territorial control and military operations in Yemen showcase that the criterion for implementation of Additional Protocol II has also been fulfilled. It entails the prohibition of direct attacks against civilians, prohibition on attacking indiscriminately, respecting the principle of proportionality in attack, and the obligation to take all feasible precautions in planning and executing military operations so as to avoid civilian casualties. Considering these rules, there is no denial of the fact thatthe rules of International law have grossly been violated due to the conflicts in Yemen.

Apart from the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocol II, Yemen has ratified various treaties including but not limited to the, Anti- Mine Ban Convention, 1997, that prohibits the use of weapons that leads to, ‘superfluous injury and unnecessary sufferings.’ It means that the use of such weapons is prohibited which might cause mass destruction. However, these regulations have been grossly violated in Yemen as the repeated use of anti-personnel mines, unlawful airstrikes, launching of ballistic missiles and use of fire weapons in the cities have largely killed and injured the civilian population. For instance, The unlawful airstrikes in Yemen by the Saudi-led Coalition on Houthi detention centres killed not less than 200 civilians. This attack was marked as one of the deadliest attacks in Yemen. The armed groups have been ruthlessly using unlawful methods of warfare causing mass destruction and loss of civilian life. The use of such technologically advanced weapons makes it difficult to implement the principle of proportionality and furthermore when such weapons are used without regulations it leads to war crimes. Therefore, there is a dire need to stop the use of such ‘high-tech’ weapons that cause mass destruction in order to protect the civilians and adhere to the International Humanitarian Law rules.

Yemen has also ratified several International Human Rights treaties like, United Nations Convention Against Torture, Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of  Discrimination Against Women, United Nations Convention on Rights of Child etc. though the well intentioned words of these conventions are rarely if not at all effectuated at the ground level. Yemen has ratified various International Human Rights treaties that would ensure protection to its citizens. All of these treaties ensure that all the persons irrespective of war, will not be discriminated and that their safety and dignity will not be compromised, yet, the constant bombing campaign in Yemen has led to the killing of more than 17,500 civilians. Further, In 2018, Yemen witnessed the inhumane act of bombing children which led to the murder of 40 while injuring 56 thus proving that the rules of International Human Rights law have been grossly violated. Furthermore, Feminist Perspective focusing on women specific rights gained traction when on 29.01.2011 women such as Twakkol Karman made various demands including equal representation, ending maternal mortality, illiteracy among others. UNFPA and its partners are continuing efforts to support women and girls to prevent abuse, by raising awareness for women’s rights, but the situation of women and girls is not likely to improve until the hostilities end, safety is restored and equality of women becomes a priority.

Furthermore, The US military aid to the Saudi coalition is in violation to the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act as discussed in the Resolution No. 54 presented in the US Senate on February 28, 2018. All the arms deals by the various nations are not only ethically and morally wrong but they also go against their commitment to the UN-Arms Trade Treaty. The parties involved thereto complicit in the crisis ongoing in the region are, ironically also the biggest humanitarian aid contributors. The US of A with Britain, Switzerland, Sweden and a few others have been aiding the Saudi led coalition by providing arms and enforcing maritime naval blockades and embargoswhich have further worsened the food shortage situation in Yemen. The humanitarian pledges by the donor countries are not only being delayed but are also being contradicted by the military actions that they are undertaking. The restrictions and blockades imposed by the Saudis, UAE and the Houthis need to be eased if not removed while taking political interests in consideration as land routes are being bombed and the Red sea is being rigged with sea mines. The attacks by the Islamic State have further dented the humanitarian efforts and have created a deeper crisis which puts a question on the very existence of the country’s citizens. 

These and actions similar to them have been preventing effective humanitarian aid for the Yemeni citizens who are living a life subpar to even animal existence. The armed groups in Yemen have targeted various, urban centres causing great deal of civilian causalities. Furthermore, the attacks have also led to the destruction of civilian infrastructures like, the schools, hospitals, farms, funerals and various factories. All this violence has rendered human rights of the people of Yemen ineffectual.

Conclusion : Urgent need to Prioritize Humanity 

Yemen is undergoing a severe humanitarian crisis, with its clinics and medical infrastructure severely damaged and crippled because of continued air strikes and a tussle between the various groups seeking to take control of disputed regions having rendered the medics vulnerable to attacks. It is pertinent to note that, the human rights situation in Yemen is so dreadful that it has been regarded as ‘frightening’ by the Yemeni Human Rights Minister. The reports suggest that more than a 1000 people have disappeared with hundreds having been kidnapped. Further, in 2018, Saudi-led coalition was included in the ‘list of shame’ by UN for killing/ injuring 729 children, that accounted for half of the child casualty statistics  which is wholly unwarranted and inhumane. 

The resulting political chaos has shifted the focus from various epidemics that the Yemeni’s have suffered through the years like the Cholera outbreak in December 2017, Malaria, Diphtheria, Measles, Meningitis, Dengue and other Diarrheal diseases in identified locations of internally displaced people. Approximately 400,000 children under the age of 5 years were suffering severe acute malnutrition in 2018. The aforementioned description is a resultant of 5 factors namely socio-economic factors, environmental degradation, breakdown of the healthcare system, insecurity, and political instability.

Attention must also be given to the problems faced by Yemeni’s during this Coronavirus pandemic where the administration of Yemen has been unable to accurately determine the number of active corona cases in the region due to an unavailability of adequate workforce and test kits but has reported more than 900 positive cases. There is complete lack of transparency in the data provided yet this data pertains only to those areas controlled by the Saudi led coalition. The rebel controlled areas which are even more densely populated have reported just 4 cases which is impractical and hard to believe. The strain on resources has resulted into this situation being incongruous to proper testing and assessment of the number of active corona cases in the area. Yemen is therefore one of the worst cases of a multi-faceted humanitarian crisis. Merely stating statistics will not bring an end to this crisis. The war must be withheld in such precarious situations and if not on a permanent basis at least for a temporary period of time a Federal Division natured solution must be agreed upon. The pain suffered by Yemeni’s must in fact be empathised with by the International community. This article is a mere attempt to spread awareness thereby snowballing International pressure on the parties involved in the dispute thereto, by coercing them to prioritise humanity over their vested interests.

*Vedant Avdhoot Sumant , Gujarat National Law University , Gandhinagar. 

I am a Vth year Law Student from, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda pursuing B.A. LLB (hons.). Throughout the five years of law school I have developed profound interest in areas related to International Law and subjects related to it. In future, if I have the opportunity to contribute my knowledge and understanding of importance of social issues and its threat to the society, I would thoroughly utilize that opportunity to eliminate/reduce the miseries faced by children of my country. I strongly believe that, prosperity of the country is dependent upon the well-being of children in the country.

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Middle East

Are The U.S. And Its Partners Losing The Grip On Syria’s North East?

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The oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor located in Eastern Syria has witnessed another escalation between the local Arab populace and the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Unexpectedly for the SDF and the U.S. military, the protesters have established control over a number of towns, and it seems they are willing to go further.

Sources close to the SDF initially reported that the protesters limited their demands by requesting a solution to a number of minor issues, but soon enough it became evident that it was not the case and the issue – and a major one – was the presence of SDF in the area. The demonstrators were quick to turn from chanting slogans to taking control of towns: in a single day they captured all of Shuhayl, Al-Hawayej, Diban and forced the SDF members to leave before blocking the roads.

The protests were sparked by a series of assassinations of influential leaders of Al-Aqidat and Al-Baqara tribes. Three Deir Ezzor sheikhs were killed in less than a week: Sheikh Suleiman Khalaf al-Kassar from Al-Aqidat was shot in Busayra village July 30. The next day Sheikh Suleiman Al-Weis who belonged to Al-Baqara was shot in the head by two gunmen on a motorcycle in Al-Dahla. Finally, Sheikh Muttshar al-Hamoud al-Hifl was shot in the outskirts of Al-Hawayej on Sunday, August 2. His relative Sheikh Ibrahim al-Hifl was also wounded in the incident but survived.

In a peculiar coincidence, a few weeks before the assassinations the tribal leaders were invited to a meeting with the SDF Commander Mazloum Abdi with the U.S. servicemen also present. The agenda reportedly included co-operation between the tribes and the SDF. It was reported that at least one of the victims, Muttshar al-Hifti, declined to participate and to engage with the Americans.

An insight into the details of these meetings can be gained through the reports about an oil deal allegedly struck by the SDF and a little known American oil developer Delta Crescent LLC. Delta Crescent was granted exclusive rights for production, refinement and export of the oil from Deir Ezzor fields potentially bringing the participants annual profit of hundreds of millions dollars, according to statements made by U.S. officials. The deal was met with harsh response from the Syrian government who labeled it a “deal between thieves”.

According to sources on the ground, the implication is that those who fell victim to the assassinations shared this view and opposed the deal. Their removal, however, has clearly failed to deliver the results intended by the masterminds behind their deaths, yet another time when the Kurds were thrown to the wolves by the U.S. who is accustomed to making their allies bear the consequences of the reckless pursuit of the American interests.

Meanwhile the SDF started to amass forces in the vicinity of the areas shaken by the unrest. The reinforcements sent from Al-Shadadi, Al-Sousa and Baghuz are gathering at the US military base near Al-Omar oil field. Moreover, two US Apache attack helicopters were spotted patrolling the area. These developments combined with lack of report on any negotiations between the protesters and the SDF leadership paint a grim picture, indicating that the SDF likely intends to use force to disperse the protests.

It is not the first time the SDF resorts to the use of force when faced with the discontent of the local populace in north-eastern Syria, although this approach had never brought the desired result. All areas affected by the protests have been subjected to dozens of raids of the SDF and the US special forces. Reports on these operations unfailingly mentioned arrests of ISIS terrorists. They failed to mention, however, what the Pentagon files under the category of “collateral damage” – deaths of civilians killed in the result of the actions of the US military and their allies.

The upheaval in Deir Ezzor is yet another evidence that the SDF, initially an independent movement, has degraded to a tool or a lever of American influence in Syria, and now finds itself fighting consequences instead of locating the root cause of the unrest – widespread corruption among the officials of the Kurdish administration and dramatic deterioration of the living conditions.

The regional turbulence created by Washington’s constantly shifting stance – or rather a lack of stance – on Syria has grown so strong it finally turned against the American interests. The latest escalation in Deir Ezzor should be considered nothing but a byproduct of this ill-designed policy and, perhaps, marks a beginning of the end of the US and SDF hegemony in Syria’s North East.

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Middle East

The Looming Disaster of the Safer Oil Tanker Moored off the Coast of Yemen

Amb. Sahar Ghanem

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Amidst the raging conflict in Yemen, the challenge of the Safer Oil Tanker emerges as one of the most hazardous risks to the environment safety in the Red Sea as a result of the potential oil spillage in the Red Sea at any moment.

Following expressing deep alarm, the United Nations Security Council called on 29 June,2020, to immediately grant unconditional access for the United Nations technical experts to assess the tanker’s condition without overdue to prevent growing risk of possible rupture, explosion or even spillage.

The threat of the floating Oil Tanker, moored off the coast of Yemen, does not only impose challenges to the geopolitical and strategic importance of the Red Sea, but it rather represents a huge challenge that threatens the environment safety, leading to one of the largest environmental hazards in the world, after the unforgettable 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in Siberia – Russia.

On 18 July 2019, the United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator Mr. Mark Lowcock informed the UN Security Council of the growing threats of the deserted Safar Oil Tanker, warning of possible explosion or leakage of its loads [1.14 M barrels of crude oil]. In his briefing on the humanitarian situation in Yemen, he pointed out that such an incident would result to a disastrous crisis to the marine life in the Red Sea and maritime in the straits of Bab-Al Madeb and Suez Canal which are two significant water corridors to the world.

It is known that the Red Sea is home for some scarce invertebrates such as corals and 600 species of fish. Unless preventative measures are taken now and immediately to prevent oil spill or possible tanker explosion, we will concretely witness a disastrous incident leading to severe effect on the Red Sea marine environment, and on both biodiversity and livelihoods starting from Yemen and extending north to Suez Canal through Jobal strait and the Gulf of Suez and south through Bab-Al Madeb strait reaching even Hormoz strait through the Arabian sea.

Environment experts’ projections expect that 115 islands are vulnerable to the risk of oil pollution; 126,000 fishermen will lose their source of income, among them 76,000 fishmen are in Al Hodeidah governorate; 850 tons of fish stocks will be exposed to the danger of contamination and death in Yemen, in the Red Sea and in Bab Al-Mandam; more than 500 fish species are at high risk of disappearing; and 300 corals will certainly disappear as a result.

The problem emerged following the takeover of the Capital Sanaa on 21 September 2014, when Houthi militias implemented unilateral actions inter alia dissolving parliament and taking over Yemen’s government institutions, which have seriously escalated the situation, leading to illegitimate seizure of power “coup d’etat”, and eventually leading to current conflict in Yemen.

The floating storage and its connected offloading terminals have not been inspected or maintained since 2015 after Houthis militias took control of the area including port of Ras Isa to which the floating tanker is connected by terminals extending 9km off the coast of Yemen.

Yemen’s internationally-recognized government has warned in many letters of evident corrosion and lack of maintenance, creating the conditions for serious environmental disaster. The Yemeni government made an urgent call for the UN to send inspection team to scale the risks.

Unfortunately, the UN inspection team was denied access to the floating tanker by the Houthi militias many times. The UN inspection team is tasked with the mission to provide the necessary inspection and put recommendations for the needed maintenance and continuing to create obstacles will refrain the team from reaching the tanker and delivering the urgent inspection.

Lately, the Government of the Republic of Yemen repeated asserting the urgent emergency of the imminent catastrophe of the floating “Safer Oil Tanker”. The government confirmed that “given the critical nature of the aging floating tanker’s situation, on 27 May 2020 leaks have been reported in the tanker causing water leaked into the tanker’s operational machineries raising the possibilities of the tanker rupturing, sinking or even exploding.

Despite urgent fixing of leaking occurred, the deteriorating situation of the tanker threatens continuing eroding. As a result, on 15 July 2020, the UNSC held a session to debate latest urgent developments and called for urgent response to be taken by the Houthi militias as required by the inspection team. It is worth mentioning that the Houthis always show willingness to accept the inspection team just like the assurances made by the Houthis in August 2019 only to be withdrawn right before the inspection team was due to board the tanker.

The Yemeni government has always approved all relevant initiatives recommended by the UN to allow addressing the serious matter and proposing necessary urgent solutions to the Safer oil tanker, as part of the responsibility to the humanitarian and economic measures proposed by the office of the UN Special Envoy Mr. Martin Griffiths and as part of its responsibility to building and sustaining environment safety; however, the Houthi militias continue refusing to allow permissions to the UN inspection team to visit the oil tanker, noting that the situation of the Safer oil tanker is becoming extremely critical more than ever, causing increasing threats of possible oil spillage, tanker sinking and explosion at any moment.

In conclusion, the Safer Oil Tanker is a floating time-bomb and allowing inspection and maintains is the only possible means that will stop a serious catastrophe from happening. If incidents of explosion or even oil spill occur, that will lead to one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in the Red Sea. Action must be taken immediately while we have in hand an opportunity to protect the environments and spare the lives of millions of people in Yemen and the region from a looming tragedy.

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Middle East

Greater Implications of the Iran-China Deal on India

Dhritiman Banerjee

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Authors: Dhritiman Banerjee and Subarna Mustari*

India entered as a stakeholder in the development of Iran’s Chabahar port in 2016 as part of an India- Afghanistan- Iran trilateral agreement on Establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor. A landmark strategic victory for India, this agreement not only connected New Delhi with Kabul but also provided India a link to Eurasia through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). Additionally, it sought to challenge China’s investment in the Gwadar Port in Pakistan as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Indian involvement in the Chabahar- Zahedan Railway project therefore has far-reaching implications for New-Delhi’s interests in the Asian geopolitical scenario. However, after Iran’s signing of a landmark investment deal with China earlier this year, we aim to analyze the implications of the deal on India in this article.

The Middle East is particularly important to India because of its vast energy resources. Stephen P. Cohen feels that five factors steer India’s policy in the Middle East namely:

1. Energy Security: India is very reliant on Oil and Gas resources from the Middle East and therefore relations with most of the major suppliers including Iran, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iraq are strategically important to India. And India does not want to become a victim to a sudden increase in Oil and Gas prices or a temporary embargo of these resources as the pipeline from Central Asia to India via Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan is not likely to materialize soon.

2. The Muslim Factor: Although a secular democratic State, India has a very high Muslim population who resonate with countries in the Middle East which brings out the relation between India’s foreign and economic policy on the one hand and domestic politics on the other. This linkage has particularly increased in importance after the passing of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by the Modi Government which is thought to be discriminatory against Muslims and has provoked sharp criticism from the international community.

3. The Kashmir Factor: For Indian foreign policy it is of paramount importance that the Middle Eastern States do not interfere in Kashmir or support Pakistan regarding the issue. Therefore it conducts a “sophisticated balance of power diplomacy” in order to contain the spread of Pakistani influence regarding Kashmir and to keep the Kashmir issue out of all discussions.

4. The Israel Factor: India’s recent cultivation of strategic relations with Israel has led to important advancements in the technology, intelligence, and military sectors as well as important leverage in the US but many analysts in India are still skeptical about cultivating close relations with Tel Aviv. Eventually it can be said that a balance between Tel Aviv and Tehran will become an important factor in Indian Foreign Policy.

5. The Non-Proliferation Factor: Because of India’s strategic relations with the US, India does not want to violate American non-proliferation goals in the region. But Indian strategists have had a long history of skepticism regarding American non-proliferation strategies and tactics with skepticism. In fact the Indian leadership was at the forefront in the development of the theoretical case against the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the global non-proliferation regime. In fact, most of the arguments developed by India are now used by Iran and North Korea to justify their opposition to the NPT and therefore India must find a solution to this paradox in the near future as although its record of horizontal proliferation has been very good, it has been an example for States regarding vertical proliferation.  

China’s offer to invest $400 billion in Iranian oil and gas sectors over 25 years tokening a comprehensive trade and military partnership between the two nations is undoubtedly far more beneficial to Iran than India’s promise of a $150 million investment scheme over 10 years. This deal is mutually beneficial for both China and Iran and the Iranian economy reeling under sanctions will get a much needed lifeline. Similarly, China is facing international criticism over its aggressive political and military strategies that include attempts at hegemonizing the South China Sea (SCS) at the cost of the other littoral States, passing a new security law to strengthen its control over Hong Kong and engaging in a border standoff with India in Ladakh. This deal therefore allows China a strategic leverage in the Middle East. China’s strategic decision for such an investment into Iran comes at a notable time – immediately following the Sino-Indian Border Clash of June 2020. Iran’s decision to choose a more lucrative deal from a more lucrative regional partner facing the same extra-regional opponent – the United States – intersects directly with India’s vested security interests in Iran against both China and Pakistan. Furthermore, India’s relations with the United States puts both India and Iran in a very complicated situation with Iran at greater risk of allowing more Chinese presence than India in the region, given the former’s bigger investment and the mutual threat of the United States.

India, compared to China, not only has far less to offer economically to neutral yet strategic prospective allies (Iraq, Iran, and other Gulf nations) in countering China in the West Indian Ocean Region (IOR), but its alliance with the extra-regional United States has compromised Iran’s faith in India as concrete ally. With such a timely investment, China has in one stroke obtained a highly strategic regional ally against the United States in securing its energy concerns, and simultaneously taken the battle directly to Iran where India is attempting to undermine China’s String of Pearls (SOP) strategy (Gwadar Port, Pakistan) through the Chabahar Port.

Furthermore, India’s recent history of erratic dealings in the middle-east, and compliance with the US’s policies in Asia has dipped the region’s confidence in India as a reliable regional partner. China’s already expanding foothold in the middle-east and Africa, and stronger deliverance makes it a better prospective partner for Arab nations who see China as such. In fact, in recent years China’s influence has grown in the region through an increase in economic investment.  Between 2005 and 2019, China has invested over $55 billion in the region according to the AEI’s China Global Investments tracker. Between 2004 and 2014, China also gave financial assistance of $42.8 billion to the region according to Aid Data Research lab. Also for many States in the Middle East, China is their most reliable trade and strategic partner as well as a key source of technology and armed drones. Therefore, it can be claimed that while Iran and China have patterned their foreign policies in such a way that it regionally benefits them against extra-regional influences; India’s current foreign policy narrative accounts to a degree of dependency on extra-regional powers that limits its regional interests of security against its two biggest border rivals – China and Pakistan. Secondly, India’s engagement with the United Sates in the maritime arena remains limited in the eastern side of the Indian Ocean at a time when India needs to increase a collaborative presence on the western side – which, given the unfavorable economic effects of the pandemic and wishful economic management of the Indian Government, leaves room only for clever diplomacy on India’s part. Therefore, Indian dealings in the middle-east and in the West IOR have to be strategically designed with not just extra-regional allies which share the same apprehensions of Chinese presence; but also look to secure greater strategic partnerships with East Asian nations like South Korea and Japan to balance its over-dependence on the United States for energy and geopolitically diversify its defense against China’s SOP doctrine.

India, apart from expedient solidification of its energy, trade, and security interests in the middle-east, has to double-down on its Act East Policy especially with Indonesia and Malaysia. In fact, in this regard it can be said that relations with these two countries, particularly with Indonesia, will be of paramount importance to India. This will help cement India’s claim of a rules based maritime order in the Indo-Pacific in order to check Chinese attempts to hegemonize the region. In this regard, the link between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Aceh Province in Indonesia will cement maritime ties between the two countries and help to check Chinese advances near the strait of Malacca through the SOP strategy. However, a major restriction to such collaborations in this regard, would be the persecution of Muslims under the Modi government in India and the religious radicalism prevailing in the country. Another more viable option available to India is the QUAD group consisting of India, US, Australia and Japan. India can use this grouping to not only uphold its claim of a rules based maritime order but also gain a foothold in the SCS region and pose a challenge to China through close alliances with the QUAD and ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations). Therefore, to conclude, it can be said that a new Cold War maybe brewing between India and China which might set to define the very nature of Asian geopolitics in the near future.

* Subarna Mustari is an undergraduate student of Political Science at Bethune College, Kolkata. Her interests lie in Political Science and International Relations as well as in history of war, colonialism and philosophy. She has recently published for Modern Diplomacy.

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