Speculation has been rife over the past couple of years that Pakistan was clandestinely involved in the War on Yemen, but it turns out that it’s actually India which is the South Asian state playing a shadow role in this conflict.
Every now and then people are exposed to the thoroughly debunked fake news story that’s been circulating for the past couple of years claiming that Pakistan agreed to deploy its military forces to Yemen in support of the Saudi-led war on the country. Nothing of the sort ever happened because Islamabad refused to get directly involved in the war due to its sectarian implications and the quagmire-like risk that it entails, instead settling for a “compromise” agreement to dispatch some of its forces to protect the Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia in the event that they ever come under attack from Yemeni-based fighters.
Since the Houthi National Liberation Movement harbors no such sacrilegious intentions, the announcement was essentially a face-saving way for Pakistan to politely resist the joint Saudi-Emirati pressure to get tangled up in this conflict as a de-facto mercenary force while still symbolically showing that it doesn’t outright reject its historic partnership with these two Gulf States.
Nevertheless, it’s widely thought that this prudent decision dealt irreversible damage to Pakistani-Emirati relations, seeing as how the latter has been doing most of the “heavy lifting” in that warzone, and as such, would prefer for Pakistanis to bear the brunt of the Houthis’ effective countermeasures than their own troops.
While scarcely talked about, the UEA is emerging as a rising power in the region due to its Machiavellian divide-and-rule strategies against Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as its newly established military presence in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden through the creation of bases in Eritrea and the breakaway state of “Somaliland”. The UAE used to be very closely aligned with Pakistan during the Cold War when Islamabad helped train the country’s military and sent thousands of guest workers to literally build the country, but with the Emirates’ ascendency as a regional power, this historic state of affairs has frayed because Abu Dhabi no longer sees much value in this partnership unless it’s an asymmetrical one where the now-much wealthier UAE is calling the shots.
Abu Dhabi’s drift away from Islamabad climaxed with Pakistan’s refusal to submit to the joint Saudi-Emirati pressure on it to send troops to Yemen, and it interestingly coincided with the South Asian state’s Indian archrival strengthening its commitment to the so-called “Link West” policy of Mideast engagement. After all, Pakistan’s National Assembly voted in April 2015 to rebuff the Gulf request to get involved in the War on Yemen, and just four months later Prime Minister Modi paid the first visit of an Indian leader to the UAE in 34 years.
Ever since then, India’s influence has been on the ascent in the Gulf, and especially with the UAE, so much so that the US’ new military-strategic partner for the 21st century is now functioning as a gigantic hospital ward for Abu Dhabi. It’s this recently acquired responsibility that makes India a secret party to the War on Yemen and deserves to be explained a bit more in depth because much of the global audience missed the latest news about this event in the past week since it was announced.
It was around 20 November that reports began to trickle in that the UAE was sending injured Yemenis to the prestigious Fortis Hospital in New Delhi, with every source stating that these were individuals who were supposedly harmed by Houthi attacks. While the number of treated patients has varied between 88 and 52 according to the sources available, the incontestable fact is that they were flown to India aboard an Emirati military aircraft in an official state-to-state capacity of cooperation between Abu Dhabi and New Delhi, supposedly funded by the Emirates Red Crescent.
The whole operation is very curious because India isn’t officially part of the War on Yemen, yet it’s working in a very close and sensitive capacity with one of the conflict’s main aggressors in order to provide partisan medical support to one of its warring parties. Instead of helping some of the millions of Yemenis suffering under the joint Saudi-Emirati blockade and at dire risk of starvation and disease, India is treating a select group of individuals that were purportedly targeted by the Houthi National Liberation Movement.
While it’s impossible at this time to verify exactly who these injured Yemenis are, it’s very plausible that they were either members of UAE-backed militias or occupation collaborators because it’s highly unlikely that Abu Dhabi would go to such dramatic lengths to help “ordinary” civilians allegedly caught up in the crossfire by providing them with some of the best and more expensive medical care available.
Furthermore, these people were flown across the Arabian Sea to India instead of sent to more nearby Saudi or Emirati hospitals, meaning that there was probably a political reason for sending them out of the region and further away for treatment, suggesting that this was orchestrated in order to represent a “gentle” rolling out of India’s clandestine involvement in this conflict on the side of the aggressors. That wouldn’t be surprising either since India’s newfound alliance with the US has seen it simultaneously align closer to America’s Emirati, Saudi, and even “Israeli” allies, thus making its indirect involvement in Yemen a natural outcome with time.
Modi’s historic visit to “Israel” this summer was the first time that a serving Indian leader had ever travelled to that political entity, and it confirmed that the country’s ruling Hindu ultra-nationalists consider the Zionists to be their ideological brothers. The trip raised eyebrows in the region, however, as President Assad’s chief advisor Bouthaina Shabaan was compelled to speak up and condemn Syria’s Cold War-era “non-aligned” partner for what Damascus viewed as an unacceptable breach of trust between the two states, even stating that her government was now questioning whether or not New Delhi should be involved in Syria’s post-war reconstruction after Modi’s scandalous beachfront photo-op with Netanyahu.
As could be expected, Indian-Iranian relations soon thereafter began to suffer as well, and an “Israeli” outlet just reported that India had diverted investments from the Islamic Republic to the self-proclaimed “Jewish State” as a sign of solidarity with Tel Aviv following India’s first-ever joint military drills with the Zionist entity.
Considering this crucial context of India’s paradigm-changing geostrategic realignment, the tacit disclosure that it’s now playing a clandestine role in supporting the Saudi-Emirati War on Yemen makes perfect sense and almost seems inevitable in hindsight.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that New Delhi agreed to the “Logistics Exchange Memorandum Of Agreement” (LEMOA) with Washington in summer 2016 which surrendered all Indian military facilities to the US for temporary “logistical” use on a case-by-case basis, so the country’s enhanced military coordination and ultimate integration with America’s regional allies such as those in the Gulf was destined to become a fait accompli with time as the US seeks to construct a Rimland-wide “containment” coalition against Russia, China, and Iran in order to obstruct the emerging Multipolar World Order.
Placed into its proper perspective, India’s growing involvement in the War on Yemen is the clearest indication yet of its fealty to unipolarity and willingness to curry favor with its American-“Israeli” proxy masters regardless of the self-inflicted soft power damage to its international reputation.