Day 47 – Q 3.What role should Indian play in Afghanistan in the backdrop of the rapidly changing dynamics in this troubled region? Analyse.
3. What role should Indian play in Afghanistan in the backdrop of the rapidly changing dynamics in this troubled region? Analyse.
एक अशांत क्षेत्र में तेजी से बदलती गतिशीलता की पृष्ठभूमि में भारतीय को अफगानिस्तान में क्या भूमिका निभानी चाहिए? विश्लेषण करें।
Afghanistan has been mired in conflict for some 40 years. It has been almost 18 years since America and other NATO members invaded to kick out the Taliban in the wake of the September 11th attacks. The two sides have been negotiating directly for some time over the American troops withdrawal in exchange for a commitment from the Taliban not to harbour terrorists.
- Taliban fighters, whom US-led forces spent billions of dollars trying to defeat, are now openly active in 70% of Afghanistan.
- Recent attacks claimed by Taliban and Islamic State group militants have killed scores in Kabul and elsewhere.
- IS is more active in Afghanistan than ever before, although it remains far less powerful than the Taliban.
- The prospect of a premature US withdrawal from Afghanistan is bad enough. Now Indian diplomacy must act fast to quell newly emergent threats to the country’s fragile democracy.
Role of India:
- Soft power: Broadly speaking, New Delhi has pursued a “soft power” strategy toward Afghanistan, sticking to civilian rather than military matters.
Example: The Salma Dam power project in the Herat province, construction of the Afghan parliament building, helping in the expansion of the Afghan national television network, and several smaller projects in agriculture
- Bilateral donor: India has pledged some US$1.3 billion on various projects, emerging as the sixth largest bilateral donor to Afghanistan.
- Policy: India’s Afghanistan policy has two major objectives: first, to curtail Islamabad’s influence in Kabul and deny Pakistan’s state and non-state agents leverage to plot against Indian interests, and second, to gain access to vast energy markets in Central Asia.
- Vested interests: India has been one of the staunchest supporters of a strong and “independent” government in Kabul since an Afghanistan that is indirectly controlled by Rawalpindi is detrimental to Indian strategic interests. New Delhi is working in close coordination with the government of Ashraf Ghani in almost all regional and international issues of concern.
- Importance for afghan led government: India has been opposed to any outside interference in talks with the Taliban, asserting that the peace process must be “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.”
- India–Pakistan: This relationship continues to serve as a primary source of instability in the region, and, indirectly, also of instability in Afghanistan.
- Neighbouring countries: Pakistan–China and China–India relations are important considerations for Pakistan and India when they formulate their foreign policy strategies, including those related to their bilateral relations.
- Constraints: Due to geographical distance and absence of military footprint dictate that India cannot convincingly push for a complete exclusion of Pakistan from the Afghan peace process.
- United Nations: India’s recent critical stance at the United Nations for its failure to sanction new Taliban leaders and their helpers in the neighbourhood may be ethically appropriate, but seems out of sync with emerging ground realities in Afghanistan.
The decision to abrogate the special status to Jammu and Kashmir came in the backdrop of a flurry of activities in Afghanistan. These developments have a direct bearing on India.