The landmark agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to normalise their relations by burying the hatchet is a significant move considering that both were sworn enemies for years. Ever since the formation of State of Israel in 1948, the Gulf countries have always wanted Israel to cease to exist and hoist the flag of Palestine on its land. That is why the Gulf countries never recognised Israel as a nation. Despite all the protests and opposition, Israel flourished and has established itself as a strong and developed country today. Israel entered into a peace deal with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Israel has good relations with both these countries but continues to have an uneasy relationship with the rest of the Arab countries. So the question is what exactly brought the UAE and Israel to the negotiating table and ink a peace deal? The second question is, will this agreement be lasting? And the third question is, what will be its impact on a broader scale? Actually, the US has played a major role in bringing about this agreement. There are two reasons for this as well. The first is that the US is a known adversary of Iran. Therefore, Iran has joined forces with China to counter the US. Speculation is rife that China has already entered into a grand alliance with Iran on the sly. The US does not want any country to buy oil from Iran, but China has made it clear that it will buy the Iranian oil! To keep Iran under control, the US wants Israel to join hands with those countries that have enmity with Iran. These countries include the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The second reason is that after the heavy losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will not be possible for the US to keep its troops deployed in various countries. Therefore, it wants Israel to act as a representative of the US in West Asia, besides balancing the power against Iran the way it so desires.
It is speculated in diplomatic circles that after its agreement with the UAE, Israel may also enter into an agreement with Saudi Arabia. Of course, the US also wants this deal to take place. As far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, it has stated that peace can be established only when Israel gives up its ‘plan to occupy the West Bank’. If Israel agrees, it is possible that there will be an agreement with Saudi Arabia. The West Bank issue will also depend on how durable the agreement with the UAE proves to be. The ‘West Bank’ is a small area with a population of 30 lakh people out of which about 25 lakh are Palestinians and five lakh Israelis. In the last 20 years, the population of Israeli people has doubled. The Palestinians want the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip to merge together to form a country, while Israel wants the entire region to be its territory. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has postponed the plan but has also said that this file will remain on his table. It is possible that this file will be put on hold and Saudi Arabia will also agree on a peace deal because it wants Israel to fight Iran. There has been a major change in the policies of both the UAE and Saudi Arabia in recent times. They are keeping Pakistan at an arm’s length as the latter is dancing to the tune of China. China has become friends with Iran. Thus, Pakistan has no longer remained reliable for the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, despite the help of Pakistan army in the war with Yemen, Saudi Arabia is not able to win. If Israel comes to its aid, it can expect victory. On the other hand, the UAE is engaged in the war with Libya. Israel can help it there too. In short, both these countries need Israel. That is why the UAE has entered into an agreement and the US is trying its best to bring about Israel’s agreement with Saudi Arabia as well. Now look at this issue from the Indian point of view. If there is peace between Israel and the Gulf countries, India will stand to gain immensely. India has good relations with both the sides. India mostly buys oil from Arab countries. If Pakistan’s influence in Saudi Arabia wears away, it will increase India’s influence and stature rapidly. Israel is already our ally. It’s quite possible that China may provoke Iran against India, but Iran has cordial and close relations with India. Despite the US pressure, India has maintained a strong relationship with Iran. Iran also needs India’s cooperation. Both are involved in the important Chabahar project. Both are together in the important oil pipeline project. Therefore, Iran will never want to jeopardise relations with India. Overall, India stands to benefit but diplomatic skills will have to be applied. I think the peace agreement between Israel and the UAE will not only affect West Asia, it will have a profound impact on Europe and Africa too because the author of the agreement is the US and opposing it is the cunning China which has spread its tentacles up to Africa. It is too early to assess its impact. Just wait. The effect will be known soon.
The author is the chairman, Editorial Board of Lokmat Media and former member of Rajya Sabha.
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Top opposition leaders gather at INLD rally to challenge ‘Delhi Sultanate’
Sharad Pawar, the head of the NCP, Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, Sitaram Yechury, and Sukhbir Singh Badal, the leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal, were among the prominent opposition figures that attended the INLD’s large gathering on Sunday in Fatehabad, Haryana.
JDU leader KC Tyagi addressed the crowd and claimed that the Bihar CM has come from Patna to challenge the Delhi Sultanate at a time when eight former Congress CMs had switched to the BJP. He claimed that Kumar has no fear of the ED, the income tax, or any other organisations.
To commemorate the birth anniversary of Devi Lal, the founder of the INLD and a former deputy prime minister, a rally is being conducted.
Tejashwi Yadav, the deputy chief minister of Bihar and the head of the RJD, as well as Arvind Sawant of the Shiv Sena, also showed up at the gathering to demonstrate the unity of the opposition.
The coming together of so many regional satraps is seen as part of efforts to forge opposition unity. Kumar and RJD president Lalu Prasad are likely to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi after the rally to take the process forward.
Veteran socialist leader Tyagi had already declared that the gathering would be historic because it would unite like-minded forces against the BJP in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
‘Resort bulldozed to erase evidence?’: U’khand girl’s family
The family of Ankita Bhandari, a 19-year-old Uttarakhand receptionist, refused to cremate her body on Sunday, questioning the postmortem report and the government’s overnight action of bulldozing portions of the resort owned by the prime suspect, Pulkit Arya, the son of now-expelled BJP leader Vinod Arya. They claimed that this may have destroyed the evidence at the crime scene.
Ankita Bhandari allegedly rejected attempts by Pulkit Arya and two others to force her into prostitution, and as a result, she was killed. The woman’s body, who was reported missing on September 18, was found in Rishikesh’s Chilla canal on Saturday.
Her brother Ajay Singh Bhandari questioned the resort’s bulldozer activity, speculating that it might be an attempt to destroy evidence.
In the late evening on Friday in Pauri Garhwal, the district administration used a bulldozer to demolish the suspected unlawful construction of the Vanantara resort in Ganga Bhogpur Talla. The building was later set on fire and had its glass windows broken by a group of angry local residents on Saturday.
“I am not satisfied with the provisional postmortem report. Her last rites will not be performed until we get the final detailed report,” said Ankita’s father Virendra Singh Bhandari.
The woman’s funeral was slated to take place on Sunday morning. At the Srinagar Medical College, her body is on display. The family has also urged that the accused be given a speedy trial and executed.
According to the preliminary autopsy report, she had suffered blunt force injuries and drowned to death. Ante-mortem injuries were found on the body, according to the autopsy, which was performed by a team of four doctors from the department of forensic medicine and toxicology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Rishikesh.
“We are making efforts to persuade the family. They have some concerns about the post-mortem report. We are taking every step possible to support the family. However, some things like post-mortem are beyond our control,” said Pauri additional superintendent of police (ASP), Shekhar Chandra Suyal.
According to officials, the final post-mortem report is expected to be released on Monday.
The government’s bulldozer action to destroy the resort has also drawn criticism from the state unit of the Congress party.
Is the government destroying the evidence by ordering the bulldozer action at the resort? Police failed to secure the custody of the accused. The Dhami government’s intention is not pure,” said party’s state chief, Karan Mahara
Secular Congress leader Aryadan Muhammad dies at 87
Aryadan Muhammad, an 87-year-old seasoned Congress leader and former minister, passed away on Sunday in a private hospital in Kozhikode, in northern Kerala, according to his family.
He was a tall secular statesman from north Kerala who dominated state politics for more than six decades. He was drawn to politics as a student and later became active in trade union politics. He was chosen to serve as Kozhikode’s district Congress committee’s secretary in 1960, and when Malappuram district was established in 1969, he was chosen to serve as the district Congress committee’s first president (DCC).
He won the Malappuram assembly seat of Nilambur for the first time in 1977, and he won it seven more times. He served as the E K Nayanar government’s minister of forests in 1980, the A K Antony ministry’s minister of tourism in 1995, and the Oommen Chandy administration’s minister of power in 2011. As a secular leader, he frequently engaged in conflict with the Muslim League in the Malappuram district, although they maintained friendly relations for many years. He made significant contributions to reforms in the power and labour sectors. He was connected to Oommen Chandy and Antony, two senior leaders.
Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Congress, paused his Bharat Jodo Yatra and hurried to Nilambur to pay tribute to the late leader. The chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, also expressed his condolences to the deceased top official. He said, “A secular leader, he was known for his bold positions.”
According to Muhammad’s family, his body will be buried on Monday.
At UNGA, many nations referred to India, it’s unusual: Jaishankar
S. Jaishankar, the minister of external affairs, claimed that many nations made reference to India at the United Nations General Assembly this time, which is unusual at the platform and indicates that the United Nations’ changes are in part to blame for India’s increased prominence. Jaishankar said he appreciates the change, which is more than a subtle change, as someone who has attended the UNGA for many years.
“In respect of UN reform, every General Assembly (session) you revisit that issue, but this time something has shifted. You can see that, you can sense that. It was articulated by President Biden. I think you also saw minister Lavrov of Russia to explicitly mention India from the General Assembly podium. A number of countries also actually also referred to India. It is not usual in a General Assembly for presidents and prime ministers or foreign ministers of a country to refer to another country,” Jaishankar said.
But you saw that on a number of occasions vis-a-vis us and to my mind it shows that it had a relevance to the reform of the UN, it reaffirmed that India mattered more and underlined the global Safraidouth relevance that we have,” Jaishankar said.
“We’ve got some tailwind behind us. Now we have to see what we can make of it. I think it’s a welcome development. As someone who’s been coming here for many years, I do believe that it’s more than a subtle shift and I welcome it,” he said.
The support for becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council came from Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia. India and Brazil should be considered for permanent participation in the council, he claimed, as they are key international actors.
Jamaica’s foreign minister Kamina Johnson Smith praised India’s vaccine outreach and said while others chose to withhold supplies, India’s vaccine outreach exemplified its principles of equality and mutual benefit. “We are deeply grateful to government, the people of India, led by PM Modi and external affairs minister Jaishankar,” Jamaican foreign minister said.
“From the very onset, India was a reliable partner whose assistance was critical to our pandemic response. India embraced a holistic and outward-looking vaccine diplomacy strategy…Jamaica was able to secure its first life-saving vaccines from India,” the minister said.
Lalu Yadav criticises Amit Shah for attacking Bihar govt
A day before he meets Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav on Saturday criticised Home Minister Amit Shah for his attack on the Bihar government coalition and emphasised the need for Opposition unity.
“Amit Shah has utterly lost his mind. His administration has been overthrown in Bihar. The BJP will also lost in 2024. That is why he is sprinting there (Bihar) and speaking of jungle raaj. What did he do when he was in Gujarat,” Yadav said.
The former chief minister of Bihar said that “Jungle raaj” was present in Gujarat when he was there.
On Sunday evening, Kumar and Yadav will probably meet Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Congress.
We are making every effort for Opposition unity,” Yadav, who has been battling poor health, said, adding this will the agenda of their meeting.
The Bihar chief minister was slammed by Shah on Friday for allegedly betraying the BJP and attempting to advance his prime ministerial ambitions while “sitting in the laps of Congress and RJD.”
At a rally in Purnea, Shah predicted that the Kumar-Lalu Prasad jodi would be destroyed (soopda saaf) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and that the BJP will win a majority by itself in the state assembly elections the following year.
In response, Yadav said, “Amit Shah bilkul paglaye hue hain” ( Amit Shah is absolutely insane).
Hollywood star John Cusack supports ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, says solidarity to all anti-fascists
Hollywood star John Cusack on Saturday showed his support to the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, a campaign to reach out to the general public. Cusack tweeted: “Indian parliament member Rahul Gandhi is walking to Kashmir from Kerala.” This was written weeks after the march, which intends to go over 3,500 kilometres across the nation, began.
Expressing his support for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra on Saturday, Hollywood actor Cusack stated that he stands in solidarity with “anti-fascists everywhere.”
Cusack, the leading man in blockbusters like “Serendipity,” “High Fidelity,” “Con Air,” and “2012,” has been outspoken on social media regarding a number of international issues.
Jairam Ramesh, a Congress’s spokesman, shared the post of the Cusack’s tweet.
The actor posted on Twitter that Indian parliament member Rahul Gandhi is walking from Kerala by foot to Kashmir. Cusack responded to a user who complimented him for backing Gandhi’s cause by saying, “Yes – solidarity – to all anti fascists everywhere!” The actor has previously offered support to the farmers’ and students’ demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and three agriculture legislation, respectively.
Rahul Gandhi began his march from Kanyakumari, the southernmost point of the nation’s mainland, and he is currently travelling through the southern states. A verbal battle between the BJP and the Congress has been ongoing since the yatra got underway.
Gandhi has often emphasised that the Yatra is a fight against the BJP’s poor leadership. He has brought up concerns including unemployment, inflation, and women’s safety. However, following numerous polling failures over the past few years, the party is also focusing on the 2024 national elections during the mass contact programme.
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