By Sajjad Shaukat
Pakistan’s media is so engaged in indicating various issues, threatening
the security of the country that very important news about the Indian Defence Minister AK Antony’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia went unnoticed.
It is of particular attention that it was the first visit of any Indian defence minister to Saudi Arabia. However, on February 13, Indian Defence Minister AK Antony’s team which besides others included Indian Army vice Chief Lt. Gen. S.K. Singh and Indian Navy deputy chief Vice Admiral Satish Soni, paid a two-day visit to Riyadh.
In wake of rapidly changing geo-political developments in the region like Indo-US hidden agenda in Afghanistan against Pakistan, China and Iran, US decision to maintain six military bases in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014, Islamabad’s decision to redefine its relationship with US and its tilt towards Russia, new wave of drone strikes on Pakistan, unrest in the Middle East, possibility of Israeli attack on Iran and US war-mongering strategy against Tehran in the Persian Gulf, the secret aim of New Delhi is to entrap Saudi Arabia by binding the latter with Indian strategic partnership.
Nevertheless, during the Saudi visit, Antony held crucial discussions with Saudi Defence Minister Prince Salman-bin-Abdul Aziz. In this regard, on February 15, after the delegation’s return, Indian defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said, “To give a boost to the defence ties between the two countries, India and Saudi Arabia have decided to set up a Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation to work out the contours of the relationship.” KAR elaborated that the Committee would also evolve plans for cooperation in numerous areas, high level reciprocal visits at all levels—and the three armed forces, conducting passage exercises. India suggested that the navies of the two countries could explore practical cooperation in the Indian Ocean. The Committee will also seek cooperation in hydrography, increased participation of both sides in training programmes. The visit of a delegation from Saudi Arabia to see Indian defence production facilities in the near future was agreed to by Prince Salman.
There is no doubt that being a major and more developed country in all the-related fields, India will get more benefits as compared to Saudi Arabia, and intends to use Riyadh as an instrument of manipulation so as to fulfill multiple strategic designs in the region.
It is notable that India whose Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had signed wide-ranging agreements with Saudi Arabia on February 28, 2010, known as Riyadh declaration, emphasing strategic partnership between the two states, has already decided to entrap Saudi Arabia by playing double game with the latter. New Delhi also wants to meet India’s growing requirement of crude oil supplies.
According to the Riyadh Declaration, “The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in exchange of information relating to terrorist activities, and develop joint strategies to combat these threats.” Under the pretext of terrorism, Indian prime minister availed the opportunity to implicate Pakistan by following his usual rhetoric. The main aim behind was to incite Saudi Arabia against Pakistan. In this respect, Manmohan Singh stated, “I explained to him (King Abdullah) the role of terrorism…aided, abetted and inspired by Pakistan…is playing in our country.” He added that he asked the Saudi monarch to “use his good offices to persuade Islamabad to desist from this path.”
Meanwhile, Indian high officials disclosed that the issue of terrorism remains high in terms of priority in this strategic partnership. While Indian media anchors have propagated that Saudi Arabia is being targeted by the Al Qaeda, while India too is in a deep state of concern due to Pakistan in this regard.
On the one hand, India has begun a new era of strategic friendship with Riyadh, while on the other, Indian writers and intellectuals leave no stone unturned in accusing Saudi Arabia in supporting Al Qaeda-related Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In fact, Saudi Arabia has abrogated all ties with the Taliban or Al Qaeda related militants, but on the clandestine direction of the Indian secret agency RAW, Indian writers have been acting upon a blame game against Saudi Arabia. They still accuse Riyadh of backing and giving sanctuary to the Al Qaeda terrorists.
As regards RAW-paid writers, the case of B. Raman is of special consideration as he always maligns Saudi Arabia in connection with the activities of Al Qaeda. In this context, in one of his articles ‘Jihadi Terrorism: The Saudi Connection’, B. Raman has indicated that the Islamic militants like Basheer and commander Abu Abdel Aziz including their followers have links with each other from Bosnia to Afghanistan and from Jummu and Kashmir to Sudan. Raman alleges, “In Saudi Arabia, the militant Basheer has floated a new organisation called the Muslim Development Force, apparently inspired and controlled by Jihadi elements in Saudi Arabia.”
B. Raman also blames by showing links among various Jehadi organizations funded by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia officially. He elaborates, “Pakistani Jihadis and Abu Abdel Aziz of Saudi Arabia were linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba(LET) which is assisting the Jihadis in Jammu and Kashmir.
In one of his articles B. Raman openly accuses: “Like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia has been following a dual policy on terrorism…while the Saudis have taken “ruthless action” against al-Qaida elements within Saudi Arabia, it has avoided taking action against Wahhabi organisations which have been supporting terrorism in other countries.” He writes, “Many of the charity organizations in India, Bangladesh and the United States that fund terrorist organisations are of Saudi origin. But to date, the Saudis have paid only lip service to complaints of such sponsorship and requests to halt funding of Sunni Wahhabi groups. Wahhabi Islam, which originated in Saudi Arabia, is the primary religious movement behind extremist Islam including al-Qaida and the Sunni Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
Another RAW-paid Indian writer Hari Sud also implicates Saudi Arabia in his article, ‘End Muslim Terrorism by Ending Wahabism Influence in Saudi Arabia.’ He writes, “Osama bin Laden, Taliban Chief Mullah Mohammed Omar and Chief Suspect of Daniel Pearl’s murder, Omar Saeed are all followers of Mohammed Abdul Al Wahab, the eighteenth century fundamentalist Mullah (cleric) in present day Saudi Arabia.”
According to him, “All Saudi princes including the King are Wahabis. Western education to has not changed their outlook. While alleging Suadi Arabia as the originator of Wabism and its supporter in Pakistan, Indonesia and Afghanistan, Hari Sud writes, “All teachers of the Madarassas, Mullahs of the Mosques under pretext of Hajj pilgrimage underwent Wahabi training in religious schools in Saudi Arabia…in India, Chechnya and Philippines…Muslim terror threat is ever present for worthless causes…majority of the 9/11 terrorists hailed from Saudi Arabia.”
He maintains, “There is a little US can do directly to the policy making in Saudi Arabia. Indirectly they may be able to influence a few key princes in power to limit the amount of money, which Wahabis get under the pretext of upkeep of holy places.”
Especially in India, Riyadh is viewed as a nation with close ties with Islamabad, while people in Saudi Arabia see India as a country which considers the Gulf region as little more than a source of oil and remittance from the Indians. And ill-treatment of Muslims in India creates a negative image in a country seen as the cradle of Islam.
Besides achieving other covert aims, with the backing of US, India wants to make defence ties with Saudi Arabia in order to entrap it, and to use it against Pakistan and Iran. At this critical situation, while war-like situation exists between Tehran and America, New Delhi wants to create further rift between the two rivals. Notably, Saudi Arabia is against the nuclear programme of Tehran. In this regard, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad with the help of Indo-Israeli lobbies which are well penetrated in the US administration have continuously been exploiting differences between Riyadh and Tehran. They are also manipulating sectarian divergences on the basis of Shia-led Iran and Sunni-Wabism, led by Saudi Arabia.
So, in order to entrap Saudi Arabia, India is playing a double game with Riyadh as it openly seeks new strategic partnership with the latter, while covertly, with help of American CIA and Mossad, it has been backing RAW and its writers to propagate against the cordial relationship of Saudi Arabia with Pakistan, and to manipulate Saudi-Iranian differences. The major purpose also remains to bring Riyadh to the Indo-US secret game against China.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations