Afghanistan: India’s Concerns on Pakistan


Afghanistan: India’s Concerns on Pakistan

After the capture of Kabul on August 15, 2021, the Taliban and the Pakistan army disregarded the Taliban-US Doha agreement of 2020. The agreement stipulated the formation of an inclusive interim government consisting of the Taliban and the Afghan Republic leadership, the withdrawal of US forces and a ceasefire between the US army contingents and the Taliban.

While New Delhi has to proceed cautiously,  Vivek Katju (Ex-Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs)  writes, “it should not be diffident in its dealings with the Taliban.”


Pakistan not winning the peace

Pakistan had won a strategic victory in Afghanistan but, it is not “winning the peace in Afghanistan.” Today, members of the Pakistani strategic community blame the “US decision to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. They overlook Pakistan’s role, especially in the unfolding of events in Afghanistan in July and August of last year. Embrace a victory and distance yourself from sticky situations is a truism which is being seen in Pakistan’s present position in Afghanistan……….”

While the international community is worried about Taliban’s connections with Islamic terrorist groups, Katju says “Pakistan’s terrorism concerns in Afghanistan are more narrowly focused on the Taliban’s ties with the Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP). The Pakistan army expected the Taliban to rein in the TTP but the Taliban is skilfully playing the Pakistanis on this issue. Expectations of Pakistani generals that the Taliban would blindly follow their dictates on the TTP have been belied. India’s concerns are rightly on Taliban’s connections with Pakistan-based anti-India terrorist groups…….


India’s concerns and options

“Pakistan would like to shut India out of Afghanistan but it knows that no authority in Kabul is willing to do that. Hence, while asserting that Pakistan will remain suspicious of India in Afghanistan, it is being forced to accept that the Indian role cannot be wished away. It wants India to remain within ‘legitimate’ bounds. The fact is that as in the 1990s, so now, there are many in Afghanistan who want India to be more active. There are sections in the Taliban who believe in the coincidence of Indian and Afghan interests on many issues, including in the security sector. While Delhi has to proceed cautiously, it should not be diffident in its dealings with the Taliban. It should not overlook the growing dissonance between the Taliban and Pakistan on some issues. And, India’s current restrictive visa policy on Afghanistan needs an urgent review.”

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