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|by Dr. A. Adityanjee|
India made history when she liberated and recognized the Republic of Bangladesh despite fierce international opposition from some of the cold-war superpowers. India took that strategic step because that was the right thing to do and suited India’s long-term geopolitical interests as well as international humanitarian concerns. Though the doctrine of international intervention for safeguarding the responsibility to protect had not been codified by the UNGA or the UNSC at that time; India did act according to the spirit of the responsibility to protect (R2P).
Time has come for India to assert herself yet again and recognize diplomatically the break-away Republic of Somaliland on the horn of Africa. It suits India’s geopolitical interests as well as the international humanitarian concerns. Lack of a functioning central government in Somalia since the ouster of the Muhammed Siad Barre’ government on January 26 1991 has led to anarchy, clan/tribal warfare and war-lordism. There was an international intervention by George HW Bush in 1992 but the Americans over-extended themselves, got a humiliating defeat and left in hurry. Since then various regional powers have intervened for upholding their narrow interests. Ethiopian invasion in 2006, backed by the US created Al Shabab (literal meaning “the youth”). Somali civil war has killed approximately half a million people.
Somalia has become a fertile ground for recruitment by Al Qaeda and it local proxy Al Shabab. There is no peace in Somalia. There is no functioning government in the central and southern Somalia. Somali pirates have created an havoc in the Indian ocean and normal commerce has been affected owing to ongoing hijacking of merchant ships and their predominantly Asian and Indian crews. Ransom has been paid numerous times on behalf of shipping companies, national governments and NGO to free up the kidnapped crew members of merchant ships. Al Shabab and Al Qaeda have noted with vengeance the Indian vigilance and naval patrolling in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden and have vowed to target Indian interests.
In 2001 the wise and brave Somali-landers held a constitutional referendum and broke away from the failed state of Somalia. Republic of Somaliland is poor but an oasis of peace in the horn of Africa. The newly emerged nation has few natural resources and its limited exports primarily include fish and livestock. They have adopted all the democratic ways and have held multiple elections at local, parliamentary and presidential elections since then. Last presidential elections were held in June 2010 leading to peaceful and orderly transfer of power when the incumbent president was rejected by the electorate.
Somalia as a unified nation did not exist before 1947. Somaliland was a British protectorate and a paper colony and the rest of Somalia an Italian colony. India must not shed her tears for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the failed state of Somalia which was essentially the creation of the imperialists. Time has come for India to not only diplomatically recognize the democratically elected government of the break-away Republic of Somaliland but also enter into a formal strategic partnership agreement with that country analogous to the same with Afghanistan. A bilateral friendship treaty between the two nations for a minimum duration of ninety nine years needs to be signed.
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Comments on this Article
Dr Yusuf Hassan
12/17/2011 18:56 PM
12/14/2011 00:59 AM