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Top Story

May 1, 2011
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India planning to get permanent role in future Afghan setup

Top Story

May 1, 2011

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Consequent to American declaration of phased withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, India suddenly found itself on the margin lines in any future set-up in Afghanistan. India that for a decade roosted in Afghanistan under American courtship is now pressurizing the latter for a permanent role in the future Afghan set-up. Pakistan that continues to face the Indian brunt of exporting terrorism from Afghan soil in its Fata and Balochistan areas has been drawing the attention of the international community on the issue however its calls never get heard. The United States and all the other Western countries have known the Indian activities all the way but still choose to ignore them for two reasons, one; that Indian patronage of terrorists in Pakistan s Fata areas and Balochistan do not affect their interests directly and second that they themselves stand to massively gain from the Indian lucrative nuclear and economic market. In fact, by doing so the west has placed Israel and India on the same page with licenses to create bloodshed and mayhems in their respective neighborhoods.
A decade after 9/11 s epochal event that changed the world order, the Americans now seem to be inclined to believe the necessity of talking to the Taliban and bring them in Afghan political mainstream to save and justify their billions of dollars investment. The United States, staring defeat in the face, is all set to abandon Afghanistan anytime by declaring victory through the fig leaf of reconciliation and integration . The fear in Pakistan is that once the Americans leave Afghanistan and in anyway outsource it to India for return of nuclear and economic deals, Afghanistan would never be stabilized and the region will continue to simmer. Soon after the 9/11 incident India comprehended that it can realize its age-old dreams to control Afghanistan and undertook some of the development projects. The fresh ingress into Afghanistan in the garb of meager development projects enabled India

to listen deep inside Pakistan and exploit avenues that could create fissures in the state of Pakistan. Also, while being in Afghanistan India used its soft power and financial clout to support anti-Pakistan elements and the Northern Alliance and used them for destabilizing Pakistan. The Indian establishment believed that by doing so it can dictate terms to the Pakistani government, just like it does with Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan etc. where the civilian governments are reduced to a glorified municipality, but it failed all the time.
Without delving too much into the delusions and illusions that the Indian establishment suffers about Pakistan, the reality is otherwise. Once the Americans quit Afghanistan, India will have to cut its losses and leave Afghanistan. Rather than begging the westerners for a post withdrawal role in Afghanistan, it probably makes more sense for India to support Pakistan s efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. However, for this large heartedness it would have to cease anti-Pakistan activities from across the Afghan borders and also stop supporting those elements in Afghanistan that do not wish Pakistan well. It is, therefore, time that India stops frittering its efforts on what is for the foreseeable future a hopeless cause - Afghanistan. Rather than fretting about American withdrawal from Afghanistan, India should actually welcome it as a harbinger for peace and harmony in the region.
For the United States, the rising economic costs of fighting Afghan war and the resultant body bags of its troops are turning out to be the biggest pushers in calls for quitting Afghanistan at an early time frame. The withdrawal credit will be effectively used by Obama s re-election campaign team for next year s presidential elections. Quitting Afghanistan will however, not mean quitting the region. In all likelihood, the United States will move out of Afghanistan to a place from where it can effectively check China and with heavy investment in India, it could not find a better abode. This move will doubly suit the United States, as it will have its eyes on India s fast development too. The US plans for investment in Indian nuclear and economic fields suggest that the United States intends to increase its presence therein manifolds in the guise of technical experts and trainers for whatever related equipment and technology is provided to India. The Americans have come to realize that their real strategic challenge lies not so much in Afghanistan anymore as in India. The main reason for US confidence for ingress in Indian corridors of power is former s influence that it enjoys in the Indian defence and political establishment alike.
India in the meantime is keeping its options open with respect to Afghanistan in post US withdrawal scenario. Continued pressure on the Americans for granting it a place in any future set-up in Afghanistan may be able to pay off however that would negate the realities on ground. All the roads to Afghan stability lead through Pakistan and as such its central role cannot be underestimated. Second option is that India digests the fact that the dialectics of the situation arising hitherto do not point to any Indian role in Afghanistan post American withdrawal. For Pakistan, if it succumbs to American pressure, it will continue to be engaged in a long war of attrition on its western borders, something that India would like to be continued. Admiral Mike Mullen, during his Pakistan s visit on 21/22 April has again indicated American obsession with Haqqani network that may be used as a premise to further strangulate Pakistan in terms of its economy. All Pakistan needs to do now is to hold its nerves and position itself to confront and handle situations that evolve from the apparent winding down of American military mission in Afghanistan in the best interest of its national security.

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