PROACTIVE Diplomatic Steps by Heads of States : Will They Resolve Issues Possibly Leading to Another World War ?
Isaac Herzog and Naftali Benett, the President and PM of Israel, respectively seem to be setting a precedence of sorts in the World of diplomacy. But only after President Macron of France and Chancellor Scholz seem to have withdrawn temporarily subsequent to their concerted efforts.
Heads of State themselves leading from front seems to have lately become the buzz word. Size of delegations too are being scaled down. More one to one communications seem to be taking place, perhaps based on personal rapport.
After establishing diplomatic links with Morocco, similar ties were inked by Israel with UAE, an emerging power of Middle East. It was followed by the Israeli President’s visit to meet Turkish President in Ankara and PM of Israel’s visits to UAE and to Moscow on 4th March.
(2) Last visit is understood to have been undertaken to supposedly carry the ‘message’ of President Joe Biden to President Putin( under the Garb of discussing Iran’s nuclear challenge).
In addition, Israel’s active role in rescuing ten seriously indisposed Ukrainean children from a hospital in Kyiv also assumes significance.
It is close on the heels of Ukrain’s accusation that Russia has not spared even child and maternity hospitals. President Zelensky has termed hospital bombing as ‘Hospital Genocide’.
Talking of saved or rescued children, the saga of Hasan, an eleven year old boy of Zaporichzhia undertaking a 1200 kms train journey to Slovakia border all alone, with just passport in a bag and telephone number of a relative scribbled on his hand, makes a sad tale of rising devastation, suffering and torture. His mother Yulia stayed back with her 84 year old ailing mother, or else who knows, she may not be alive to see her grandson again ?
(3) Something significant may have been confided by Russia to Turkey, location wise, a Gateway between Europe and Asia.
Why should modern “Czar” speak to Recep Erdogan, the Turkish President, followed by his next round of talks with PM of India, the trusted friend for decades ?
Turkey, a member of NATO but not of EU, despite being a friend of Russia supplies arms and Drones to Ukraine.
Further, it has expressed its concern over annexation of Crimea in 2014 and recent recognition accorded by Russia to ” Independent” territories of Luhansk and Donetsk.
Both of these figure in fresh conditions of President Putin for ‘halting’ operations.The main condition relating to membership of NATO has NOW been dropped by President Zelenski. It’s a big climb down.
Cricket & Bus Diplomacy between India and Pakistan
(4) Coming to Asia, if we turn the pages of history,
Gen Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan too dashed to Jaipur on 21st February,1987 with a view to” relax” tense relations with India, through “Cricket Diplomacy”, by watching India-Pak Cricket Test match.
Indian PM A.B.Vajpayee too gave hints in his initial days as PM and ultimately took a bus to Lahore on 19th February 1999.
(I was privileged to be a part of 4 member delegation to Lahore & Islamabad in December 1998 to get INITIALED the Bus Agreement).
It’s a different thing that in the words of Vajpayee, Nawaz Sharif took our bus to Kargil, presumably under pressure from the then Pak Army Chief, General Pervez Musharraf.
(5) Vajpayee was not the only BJP PM to play this kind of proactive role of an exalted diplomat. PM Narendra Modi, too tried his hand when he suddenly took a de tour to Lahore to say Hello again to same Nawaz Sharif on 25th December 2015 while returning from a visit to Russia and Afghanistan.
Housewives Too Enter The Fray
(6) Latest new role diplomat is Olena Zelensky, wife of President Zelensky of Ukraine. Soon after her husband’s historic and powerful, virtual address to the British Parliament, in an emotional letter addressed to global media, she has condemned rightly, massive human sufferings in Ukraine and alleged mass murders by Russia.
Diplomacy, Concept Wise
(7) If we delve deep into history, diplomacy is defined as the art and science or conduct of maintaining relations between nations by means of negotiation and dialogue or by any other means ,such as, exchange of Note Verbale or Non Papers or even back track diplomacy.
It is an art of dealing with people in a sensitive and tactful way even when a virtual session takes place, thanks to rapid advancements in technology.
It involves representatives of different groups discussing issues, such as, conflict, security, trade, infiltrations, environment or technology.
(8) Diplomacy has become an integral part of Statecraft and an essential aspect of international relations.
Those practicing this art ,known as Diplomats are generally tactful and skillful in managing delicate situations and handling of people.
Diplomacy, Down The Ages
(9) It seems to have begun in ancient China,Greece and India to explain and sort out out issues of divergence between two tribes or warring territories.
After two World Wars came the era of de tant (relaxations of cold relations) and long periods of Cold War.
Gradually, Geo political conditions and considerations,
the currents and under currents of various designs are leading to PRECEDENCE of Geo Economics over
Latest Developments in Eastern Europe
(10) As Russian invasion of Ukraine enters third week, as per some reports, the Russians seem to have slowed down a bit.
In minus one temperature with snowfall conditions, Russian Army is still reported surrounding or inching towards the capital city of Kyiv. But resistance of Ukraineans is praiseworthy.With an unique mass mobilization, citizen volunteers are seen preparing and barricading the streets to boost the morale of their Army.
Even in such a tense situation, Orchestras are seen playing at city squares even when NATO is playing safe by reiterating that they were not “part” of conflict.
(11) The Syrians, who too suffered Russian invasion in 2015 (When neither West nor Arabs came to their rescue) have begun showing sympathy to Ukraineans.
Like this time, millions of Syrians went out as refugees.
Four fresh conditions of President Putin
(12) After failure of three rounds of bilateral talks and denouncing of Russia by the Foreign Secretaries of USA and U.K., the fresh negotiations between two sides mediated now by Foreign Minister of Turkey have started.
Of the four conditions of Russia, for halting operations, only one in respect of NATO membership has been given up by Ukraine.
But the second and third ones concerning recognition of Crimea as part of Russia and two territories of Luhansk and Donetsk as Independent entities are still being stressed upon by Russia.
(13) Chernobyl Nuclear plant is off power grid generators with Ukraine reporting that power was available only for 48 hours.
But Russia maintains that background generation is still under control and the IAEA too is expecting no immediate impact on safety front.
Who to believe ?
Further, due to filth and debris spread in most of the cities and fires & smoke, obvious threats to environment too need to be attended to.
(14) On the ECONOMIC FRONT, McDonald, Coca Cola and Starbucks have also abandoned Russia and fresh sanctions against Russia have sparked further rise in crude oil prices from $130 to $140, a Barrel. So another hike in India is not ruled out.
Interestingly, USA, while being non committal about it’s own oil exports, has requested OPEC countries to step up their oil production.
USA has again warned about use of Bio weapons or Chemical warfare by Russia. As per their intelligence, 30 Bio Labs already exist in Ukraine.
Latest Diplomatic Nuance From China
(15) After being quiet, China has now expressed its desire to mediate between Russia and Ukraine.
The Chinese Chequer country as they are known, Are they posing as “Other Party” or ” Interested Party”? After all, President Putin might have consulted them prior to Triggering the button.
Will Ukraine go the Syria Way or apart from arms support, troops of NATO will also land in Ukraine to check destruction & further movement of Russians ?
Only time will tell. Let us keep our fingers crossed.
(The author is former Chief Secretary, Sikkim)