For the prime minister, Narendra Modi, Balochistan is not a flash in the pan. The articulation of Indian concerns, stakes and interests in Balochistan is part of a pattern in his government’s evolving foreign policy after two and a quarter years in office. Balochistan is not the only conflict zone that the National Democratic Alliance government is wading into. Ending a hands-off policy that has been in place for several years now, India is on the threshold of a significant re-engagement with Syria, Iraq and Lebanon: the first two of these three countries have a huge reservoir of goodwill for New Delhi.
In the days following Modi’s public pronouncements on Balochistan from the Red Fort, two things happened in the national capital, which promise to facilitate a greater role for India in the Levant region. First, Modi sent his new minister of state for external affairs, M.J. Akbar, to Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, ending a long hiatus in high-level visits to these countries from New Delhi. Second, an Indian diplomat who played a critical role behind the scenes as rotational president of the United Nations security council in 2011 and in 2012 and helped in preventing a full-scale war in Syria – unlike in Iraq in 2003 or in Libya in the earlier months of the Arab Spring – published his insider’s account of the deliberations on the Levant at the world’s diplomatic high table.
Indians will hear more about Hardeep Singh Puri’s assessments in the book, Perilous Interventions: The Security Council and the Politics of Chaos, on September 7, when the vice president, Hamid Ansari, releases the book and the finance minister, Arun Jaitley, speaks about those eventful two years for Indian diplomacy because of New Delhi’s membership of the security council after a gap of nearly two decades. Ansari was Puri’s predec