- By David BoscoDavid Bosco is a Foreign Policy contributing editor and assistant professor at American University's School of International Service. He is at work on a book about the International Criminal Court's first decade.
India was famously cool to the Western-led intervention in Libya, and its criticism of that operation led U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice to publicly express disappointment with Indian diplomacy. The script has been different with Mali. The Times of India unpacks New Delhi’s support for the latest intervention in north Africa:
Indian officials said they have been "kept in the loop" by Paris from the beginning. In December 2012, during its last month at the UN Security Council, India co-sponsored a French resolution UNSCR 2085 that supported an African Union-ECOWAS military force in Mali. The French military intervention in Mali has not prompted the expected negative reaction from New Delhi.
And, the target this time around is al-Qaida and its affiliated groups in that region, where India, like others, is developing economic interests. India’s reaction to the France-led operation in Libya in 2011 was much more negative. In fact, many in the Indian government believe that the Mali crisis was a natural blowback of the Libya conflict.
Off the record, Indian officials express fears that al-Qaida-fuelled unrest could spread in those difficult regions, because of what they believe is a deadly cocktail of Islamist extremist ideology, widespread poverty, lack of governance and vast amounts of arms and weapons. Most of these weapons were taken out of Libya after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.
The account doesn’t mention another distinction likely relevant to India: The Mali intervention is bolstering a sitting government while NATO action in Libya ultimately toppled one.