India’s Growing Stakes in the Changing Dynamics of the Middle East

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January 20, 2024

India’s Growing Stakes in the Changing Dynamics of the Middle East

• In the wake of recent missile strikes between Iran and Pakistan, the security landscape in the Middle East has taken a tumultuous turn. C Raja Mohan outlines five significant reasons why India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan find themselves increasingly entangled in the evolving geopolitics of the region.
Security Interdependence: A Deepening Vortex
• The tit-for-tat missile exchanges, coupled with attacks on Indian shipping in the Red Sea, underscore the interconnected insecurities of the Subcontinent and the Gulf. Despite their preferences, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are being inevitably drawn into the vortex of the turbulent Middle East.
Baloch Minorities and Fragility of Pakistan’s Western Borderlands
• The plight of Baloch minorities, targeted by Tehran and Rawalpindi, sheds light on the fragility of Pakistan’s western borderlands. Dissident Baloch groups, with genuine grievances, intensify security dilemmas as they seek shelter across the Pak-Iran border.
Regional Power Politics and Trans-Border Interventions
• Beyond bilateral concerns, dissident groups become pawns in the broader regional power play involving Arabs, Israelis, and Iranians. The Baloch lands, marked by ungoverned spaces, become fertile ground for smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and cross-border political militancy backed by external actors.
Geopolitical Significance of Balochistan
• Balochistan’s geopolitical location at the mouth of the oil-rich Gulf makes it a crucial player in the new great game. Pakistan’s challenges in Balochistan are compounded by Beijing’s strategic presence in Gwadar, a key node in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and a significant site for Chinese naval activities.
Afghanistan’s Role and India’s Rising Concerns
• Afghanistan’s historical issues with Iran and the potential for the Taliban government to assert itself in the Gulf region add another layer of complexity. The fragile Baloch frontier connecting South Asia and the Gulf, coupled with China’s strategic involvement, becomes a matter of deep concern for India.
• As India’s economic and security interests grow in the volatile Middle East, the traditional stance of neutrality becomes increasingly challenging. The evolving dynamics demand a reevaluation of past assumptions, requiring India to navigate the changing region with a strategic and nuanced approach. The recent cross-border attacks between Iran and Pakistan signal a paradigm shift, compelling India to reassess its role in the broader Middle East security landscape.

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India’s Growing Stakes in the Changing Dynamics of the Middle East | Vaid ICS Institute