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India Resists US Pressure via Quad to Join Red Sea Op: Expert

© MOHAMMED HUWAISThe beleaguered Yemen-flagged FSO Safer oil tanker
The beleaguered Yemen-flagged FSO Safer oil tanker - Sputnik India, 1920, 31.12.2023
The US hosted the first meeting of the new working group on terrorism in the Quad format. Sputnik India explores the US' efforts to use the Quad as a means of pressuring India into entering the Red Sea to fight the Houthis.
The United States held the first meeting of the new working group on terrorism in the Quad format on 19-21 December, in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Quad working group on terrorism was formed in March in New Delhi, organized by Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
The Quad Working Group on counter-terrorism announced in part of its mission statement that it "will explore cooperation amongst the Quad, and with Indo-Pacific partners, to counter new and emerging forms of terrorism, radicalization to violence, and violent extremism."
The primary focus of discussion was "enhancing Quad cooperation in response to an overwhelming terrorist incident in the Indo-Pacific region," according to a statement released by the US State Department on Friday after the working group's first meeting.
Against this background, Sputnik India spoke with Brigadier Arun Sahgal (retd.), executive director of the Forum for Strategic Initiative at the Delhi Policy Group, and Commodore Srikant Kesnur (retd.), naval analyst and author, who explained that the US will not succeed in its attempt to use the Quad to drag India into the Red Sea against the Houthis.

US Merely Attempting to Dominate Red Sea: Expert

“Amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, the United States deployed two aircraft carriers, brought in special forces, and strengthened regional security for two main reasons: first and foremost, the goal was to stand with Israel; the problem never really was with Hamas, rather to deter Syria, Lebanon, and Hezbollah from joining the conflict,” the brigadier said.

Secondly, it also intends to prevent Iran from entering the conflict. Thus, the Americans used a significantly greater force than required in the area,” he added.

Referring to Saudi Arabia as the only other nation, outside of Israel that backs the United States, Sahgal claims that “Saudi Arabia has recently had concerns about its support for the US. Turkey's reluctance to participate in Prosperity Guardian Operation stems mainly from their desire to avoid appearing to be on the same side as a power that is providing Israel with lateral support at the expense of the Palestinian cause, while the United States is merely attempting to dominate the region.

“Even the closest allies of the USA have historically had disagreements. For instance, US and UK perspectives during the mid-1950s Suez Canal Crisis differed significantly. More recently, the US and France have differed on certain issues. US regional partners among Arab Nations are not aligned with the former's view on Israel. Therefore, it is not necessary, and nor does it happen, for their partners to view everything the same way as the US,” the commodore said.

For instance, a nation like Mauritius is eager to obtain Diego Garcia because it considers it to be their territory that the British illegally ceded to the Americans, who are using it as a base.There are numerous local and regional Geopolitical dynamics as a result of all this,” the expert added.
Similar to this, the commodore highlighted that the “US Africa Command functions outside of aspects because the 'friendly' African nations still do not want the US to base an Africa Command there because of local sensitivities.”

US Wants to Pursue India Through Medium of Quad: Expert

While discussing the withdrawal of France, Italy, and other allies from Operation Prosperity Guardian, the brigadier emphasised that the reasons for the withdrawal were twofold: “First, their opposition to participating in such operations, and second, their stance on the Palestinian cause and strong protests against the systematic extermination of Palestinians in European countries. Finally, the expense of involvement for the nations is exorbitant.”

“Perhaps some may have left the operation because it was planned a bit hastily without including everyone, it certainly doesn’t paint a positive picture of the United States,” the commodore noted.

US influence in the region is dwindling, as tempting as this might seem, it's certainly not increasing, and regional powers like Iran, for instance, are becoming more significant and bring their imprint to bear upon the situation,” the commodore said.

Meanwhile, the brigadier declared that “India, the other Quad members, and the US will work together to combat terrorism by using the quadrilateral framework, as was made evident in the most recent Quad meeting. Indeed, this indicates that efforts have been taken to persuade, particularly India to join in the Red Sea against the Houthis. However, India won’t fall for it. That being said, given India's relationship with the Arab world and its position on Palestine, it seems unlikely that it will join forces with the US in Operation Guardian.”
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