From Abstention to Support

French pilots flying the Mirage 2000D and F1 prepare to take off at Mali's Bamako airport.

French pilots flying the Mirage 2000D and Mirage F1 prepare to conduct a strike mission from their currently deployed position at Mali’s Bamako airport.

From abstentia to then later criticism of 2011’s Libya intervention, India has shifted its traditional stance and come out in favor of France’s Mali intervention. As reported by the TOI on 11FEB13:

There appear to be three broad reasons. First, Indian support to the French operation in Mali is predicated on it being a primarily counter-terror operation… Second, India’s impetus to rush to the aid of Mali was also influenced by reports from the UN that some of the al-Qaida fighters may be from the Af-Pak region…Third, the lead role in the Mali intervention has been played by France. 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. [Ergo] [t]he 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.

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