Nurses return home: Indian diplomacy gets shot in arm

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Nurses return home after long ordeal in ISIS's clutches
A big ordeal finally came to an end for 46 nurses who were held captives by Sunni militant group ISIS, after Air India special flight flew them back to India on Saturday morning. They were released by extremists on Friday after intense parleys from Indian Government. Whole issue has brought to the fore assertiveness of Indian diplomacy which were lacking for some time now during the previous regime. By rescuing the stranded nurses, India has also given world leaders a stern message that we value our people and are capable of providing them shoulder in times of crisis. It is also a new beginning for Indian diplomacy in the middle-east which was a little ignored after bonhomie with United States. This is another feather in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cap after he earned a big round of applause when he invited all SAARCs nations in his swearing-in ceremony.

Now, little dissection of how the whole process got culminated and who actually helped Indian Government in coaxing ISIS network which finally relented after holding nurses for more than two weeks in their clutches. Minister of External affairs Sushma Swaraj should be highly applauded for her proactive role and leaving no stone unturned for rescuing Indian nurses from a strife torn Iraq. As per sources, Sushma unofficially held couple of back-channel talk with various Sunni countries like Syria, Jordan and Turkey and facilitated the whole process. Minister also made dozens of calls to her counterparts in various countries ranging from Arab to US and Russia and took various intelligence inputs from them which has finally borne fruits. Reports say, Foreign Affairs Minister even cancelled visit to her own constituency and took this matter on priority basis.
"All national assets were used, including India's international goodwill," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, when asked about how this onerous task was made possible.

India asserts on the matter

According to a report in The telegraph, India has also used its clout with Saudi Arabia on this issue. Through some of its intermediaries India had sent message to Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh and requested him to intervene on the matter. ISIS militants hold grand mufti in high regards and it is because of the fact that he is the top most interpreter of Saudi Arabia's strict religious code of Wahhabi Sunni practice.

Return of nurses is another feather in Modi’s cap

"Diplomacy works through the front doors. We are using other doors and how those doors were used and knocked on and how they were opened up is a story for another day. The story for today is that one of those doors opened and we were able to extricate our nationals," Akbaruddin said.

Although nothing has officially been confirmed about how whole diplomatic channel have worked on the issue. But what matters the most is safe return of Indian nationals and how it happened is a trivial issue.

Taking cue from this particular case, government should put in place a mechanism to deal with such cases. A committee of expert negotiators and apt interlocutors must be formed who could give a road map in such situations. Before this incident the dispensation at power always had a laid-back attitude and few examples could be the Kuwait crisis where Indian nationals had to fend for themselves and the government gave a very late reaction. Similarly during 2011 Libya crisis, because of our lackadaisical approach Indian nationals had to suffer. Our Embassies in foreign country should also be made more approachable so that during conflict situation, Indian citizens can easily approach and contact them. The pertinent point is like America why can't we assert our right? Why India can't call shots like America?
This instance has given a clear picture that India very well knows how to deal decisively in tough situations like these. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent strong message that India is not timid and feeble anymore and knows how to assert its right. This gives a surety that in coming days, Indian diplomacy will become stronger.

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