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Iran Pakistan Strikes

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January 22, 2024

Why in news?

India backed Iran on its strikes on alleged terror camps in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province, calling it an act of “self-defence”.

What is the issue?

  • The issue - Iran has carried out a 3rd strike in reprisal for the January 3 terror attack in Kerman that killed over 80 people.
  • Baloch people, who live in both Pakistan and Iran, are attacked by both countries leading to rebellion across the border.
  • Iran struck 3 countries in one day namely Iraq, Syria and Pakistan.
  • India’s stand - India supported Iran’s action in Pakistan as “self-defence” against terrorism.
  • It indicates India’s support for Iran despite the growing tensions in West Asia between Iran and the U.S.

baloch

  • Role of Pakistan - Pakistan conducted a series of specifically targeted precision military strikes in Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province as part of an operation called “Marg Bar Sarmachar”.
  • The tit-for-tat strikes are the highest-profile cross-border intrusions in recent years and have raised alarm over wider instability in the Middle East since the war between Israel and Hamas.

Common Baloch Problem

  • Goldsmith Line- It is the 909-km Iran-Pakistan border stretches from a tripoint with Afghanistan to the northern Arabian Sea.
  • Population- Ethnic Baloch live in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.
  • They also nurse deeply rooted grievances against both the Pakistani and Iranian states.
  • Economic status-The Baloch homeland is rich in natural resources but in Iran, 80% of the Baloch population lives under the poverty line.
  •  In Pakistan, massive investments in projects such as China’s Belt and Road initiative have not improved their lives.
  • Baloch nationalism- It traces its roots to the early decades of the 20th century, when new international borders came to be drawn in the region.
  • Their marginalisation in both countries in subsequent years fuelled several separatist movements for a “Greater Balochistan” nation state.

balochistan

Why India’s role is significant in Iran-Pakistan strike?

  • Strategic location- Balochistan is a region that spans across Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, and has a strategic position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, a vital waterway for global oil trade.
  • Connectivity- Balochistan also has access to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, making it a potential hub for maritime connectivity and trade.
  • Geopolitical dynamics- Balochistan is home to Baloch minority which is strategically important for the global powers that are competing for influence in Central Asia and the Middle East.
  • New great game- It refers to the rivalry and competition among regional and global powers for influence and resources in Central and South Asia, especially in Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries.
  • China factor- China has a strategic interest in Gwadar, a port city in Balochistan, as part of its Belt and Road Initiative and its naval ambitions in the Indian Ocean.
  • Security concerns- Balochistan’s proximity to Afghanistan, where the Taliban regime has recently taken over, adds to the complexity and uncertainty to the regional security dynamics.
  • Change in foreign policy- India as a rising power with growing economic and security interests in the region, needs to rethink its traditional neutrality and passive approach in the Middle East and Central Asia.
  • India-Iran ties- They have cooperated in the energy sector despite US sanctions on Iran, India has developed a meaningful dimension with Iran.
  • Chabahar port- India is involved in the planning and building of the Chabahar port, intended to allow it to bypass the overland route through Pakistan for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia.
  • Chabahar directly competes with Pakistan’s China funded Gwadar port, keeping a check on growing China’s influence in the neighbourhood region.

 

References

  1. Indian Express- India’s stake deepen in Iran Pakistan strikes
  2. Indian Express- Iran, Pakistan and Baloch militancy
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