|Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Effect of policies and politics of developing countries on India’s interests Indian diaspora
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of the recent escalation in Iran-Pakistan relations
- Iran has termed the missile attacks as a response to terrorist attacks within its borders, the most recent being the bomb blasts.
- Iran struck the Kurdistan region in Iraq while the target in Pakistan was the base of Sunni Muslim militant group Jaish al-Adl in Balochistan province, which is adjacent to Iranian border. The strikes were carried out by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
- Iran has said that the targets were terrorist groups responsible for the suicide bombing that killed 84 people at a memorial procession for Qassim Suleimani.
- The missile strikes on Pakistani targets were also in response to the attacks on an Iranian police station in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.
- As a response to the attacks, Pakistan has expelled the Iranian ambassador and also recalled its own from Tehran.
- As a response to strikes by Iran, Pakistani fighter jets struck seven targets inside Iran with precision-guided air-to-ground munitions.
- The targets were the Balochistan-centric terrorist organisation Balochistan Liberation Force, which is fighting for liberation of Balochistan.
- Pakistan says that Iranian territory is being used by Baloch insurgents to attack targets in Pakistan and despite repeated requests, Iran has not acted upon them.
- Jaish a-AdlAlso known as “Army of Justice,” Jaish al-Adl is a Sunni militant faction that emerged in 2012 and has a significant presence in Pakistan.
- The group has been accused of involvement in ambushes, assassinations, assaults, hit-and-runs, kidnappings of civilians and government officials in Iran since 2013.
- Escalation of Tensions: The central Asian region has remained peaceful since the conclusion of the Afghan civil war. The situation could change soon.
- Spread of War in central Asia: Global commentators believe that the devastating war in Gaza could become a broader and deadlier regional conflict.
- Beginning of Proxy war: The strikes by Iran may start a proxy war between Iran on one side and US and its allies on the other.
- Continuation of American troops: The attack could prompt American troops stationed in Iraq to continue their presence.
- Resurgence of Kurdish Militia: The attack on Kurdish territory could further fuel tensions between Kurds and Iranians.
- Instability in Pakistan: Western policymakers would not like to see instability in an already volatile nuclear-armed Pakistan. They would want a stable Pakistan in their own interests.
- Global Financial Situation: The financial situation in the world may further degrade owing to the clashes between Iran and Pakistan.
- Affects Chabahar Project: The Chabahar port project located in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province may be affected due to the instability.
- Spillover Effect: The clashes between Iran and Pakistan may escalate into a war, and may have a spillover effect in the South Asia region.
- India’s Interests in Afghanistan: The clashes may spread to Afghanistan where India has stakes in developmental projects.
- Security Crisis in Pakistan: India would not want nuclear weapons to proliferate into the hands of non-state actors in case the state of Pakistan collapses.
- Increase in Militancy in Jammu and Kashmir: Pakistan may escalate militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in order to divert attention of its citizens during election year.
- Border: Iran shares a 959-kilometer (596-mile) border with Pakistan, primarily located in the turbulent province of Sistan-Balochistan.
- Ethnic Composition: The region hosts ethnic Baloch people, who are Sunni Muslims, facing discrimination and repression from the Shiite-dominated regime.
- Rise in Tensions: Iran has accused Pakistan of protecting and sheltering militant groups responsible for cross-border attacks, leading to previous threats of military action within Pakistan.
- Despite enjoying warm ties, Iran and Pakistan routinely accuse each other of not doing enough to prevent anti-state armed groups from sheltering on their respective territories.
- Iran has repeatedly asked Pakistan to crack down on alleged Jaish al-Adl bases in Balochistan while Iran has been asked by Pakistan to act on ethnic Baloch insurgent groups that have established bases on the Iranian side of the border.
- The border clashes between Iran and Pakistan must not be allowed to escalate as it will create another war frontier in Asia.
- Start of war in this region could not only hamper peace, it may further create economic problems for the whole world..
|Practice Question: Discuss the role of ethnic and separatist movements, with a specific emphasis on the Baloch problem, and assess the implications for regional stability. (150 words/10 m)