India to bilaterally engage Taliban-ruled Kabul for development and security | Latest India News

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By sending an official delegation to Taliban-led Afghanistan on Thursday, the Narendra Modi government decided to bilaterally engage the Islamic emirate for continued humanitarian aid and infra development after acknowledging the hard facts on the ground in Afghanistan.

While the Indian delegation is expected to return via Dubai tomorrow, events since August 15, 2021, the Taliban’s capture of Kabul have shown that the Sunni-Pashtun force has its own head and is not beholden to its former mentors. at Rawalpindi headquarters. The Taliban regime has indicated that it is solely focused on Afghanistan and pledges not to interfere in third countries in the name of Sunni Islam or jihad.

Although India has always had an open channel back to the Taliban, the decision to send an official delegation led by Joint Secretary JP Singh, who has served in both Kabul and Islamabad, is a decision taken after lots of homework and assessments at the highest levels.

First, despite the public posture, the United States and the West engage the Taliban regime with Germany and Japan, the last to board the Kabul train. While countries like China, Russia, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey and Central Asian republics have full-fledged embassies operating in Kabul, other countries are also on track to have a weak presence. in the country ruled by the Taliban. Kabul airport is operated with the help of the United Arab Emirates, with the Taliban not interested in giving the port to the Qatar-Turkey combination.

Second, after US forces were all but ousted by the Taliban on August 15, 2021, even after ruling the country by proxy for 20 years, the Sunni-Pashtun force faces no political or military challenge from any powers. exterior. There may be jostling within the Taliban leadership for power and pelf, but there is global fatigue with Afghanistan, with no country willing to support a military challenge to the ruling regime, whether from inside the country or from outside. This means the Taliban are here to stay.

Thirdly, India has a civilizational relationship with Afghanistan which is not subject to any assessment or debate by any third country. Not so long ago, the United States asked India to stay away from Afghanistan, as its then ally Pakistan was totally opposed to New Delhi’s involvement. in Kabul or Kandahar. The United States, at the request of Pakistan, expressed its opposition to the opening of Indian consulates in Jalalabad, Mazar, Kandahar and Herat. The Indian Embassy in Kabul was opened after the exit of the Taliban in 2001 by the Vajpayee government, with then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh personally visiting Kabul. India has for ages been fully committed to the development of Afghanistan, be it humanitarian aid, infrastructure development or drug supply. Despite enormous pressure, India refrained from sending troops to Kabul as part of the coalition force.

Fourth, India is heartened by the fact that the Sunni-Pashtun force opposes Pakistan’s treatment of Afghanistan as mere strategic depth for the Islamic Republic against India. The Taliban are totally opposed to the Afghan-Pakistani border fence based on the Durand Line as it unnaturally divides the Pashtun community between two countries. Like previous regimes, the Afghan government has always opposed the Durand line, the pathetic legacy of the British Raj. The Taliban have already made clear that they have no interest in aiding Pakistan’s pipe dream of the Kashmir Valley with weapons or infantry. On the contrary, the Taliban have an umbilical cord with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which in turn targets the Pakistani army present in all the provinces of the Islamic Republic.

Fifthly, India has close ties between the Afghan people and public, regardless of power. With its neighborhood first policy, India will not let Afghans down on humanitarian aid and will continue to provide food, medicine and supporting infrastructure to Kabul.

When the Narendra Modi government took power in 2014, Taliban leaders sent word back to India that New Delhi should not look to Kabul from the prism of Pakistan. Without compromising on its policies and postures, the Taliban leadership, then based in Peshawar and Quetta, at the time wanted to engage with India but was strongly rebuffed by the Pakistani deep state. As Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi speaks openly with the senior Indian official in Kabul on Thursday, the message to Islamabad and the global community is very clear. And India appreciates the Holy Quran in gold and the Afghani Loban (scented resin) offered to Modi 1.0 interlocutors on behalf of the senior Taliban leaders of a third country.


  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (MP-IDSA) and Ben Gurion Prize 2011 by Israel.
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