India is endorsing the Arab League censure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and is participating in a summit in Tunisia to discuss options in the troubled Middle Eastern nation.
New Delhi is sending a senior diplomat Rajeev Shahare, joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs in charge of West Asia and North Africa, to the Tunis summit, called “Friends of Syria.”
The development marks a turnaround in New Delhi foreign policy which had, up until now, either refrained from a direct condemnation of its ally Assad or discouraged any moves against the Damascus regime.
The Tunis summit is being boycotted by Russia and China which both demand no foreign interference in Syria.
Earlier this month, India voted in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an end to the violence in Syria and condemning human rights abuses by Assad’s forces.
Our support for the resolution adopted by this Assembly today is in accordance with our support for the efforts by the Arab League for a peaceful resolution of the crisis through a Syrian-led inclusive political process, India’s UN officials said in a statement.
India will be joined by 50 other country representatives in Tunis, including the United States, European Union members, as well as many Arab and Muslim nations.
ZeeNews reported, however, that India’s role at the summit will be “observational.”
A report in PolicyMic tried to explain India’s gradually changing views on Middle East unrest.
“As an emerging market economy, India’s development is dependent upon a stable supply and price of oil to fuel its growth,” the report stated. “Prolonged conflict in the region is bad for Indian businesses… In the long-term, India would prefer more secular forms of government to emerge in the region.”
Moreover, a blog on Rediff.com noted: “Ultimately, India is turning its back on the Bashar regime in Syria. It is a poignant moment because the secular-minded Baathist regime in Syria has been traditionally one of the staunchest supporters of India in the Arab world. Even during the darkest years of the insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir, the Syrian regime was supportive of the Indian concerns when the issue came up.”