Path Ahead

zzz1India believes that sustainable development of Afghanistan requires long term Investment which can help in exploiting its Natural Resources and Wealth. India hopes to be, in the Forefront of the promotion of Investment in Afghanistan and it is believed that a consortium of Public and Private Indian companies have already been selected to make one of the biggest investments in the Country’s Mining Sector, in the HAJIGAK iron ore Area.

Bilaterally, India has played a significant role in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan. India’s extensive developmental assistance programme, which now stands at around US $2 billion, is a strong signal of its abiding commitment to Peace, Stability and Prosperity in Afghanistan during this critical period of Security and Governance transition. This makes India one of the leading donor nations for Afghanistan, and by far the largest from among the Regional Countries. Afghanistan today is going through a very difficult period due to the Talibisation of Afghanistan. India is helping the Country to Survive.

What happened is the attack by the Taliban on Karachi Airport. Was it a revenge for the torture that Taliban Forces have been getting in jails and military action in Waziristan by Pakistan.Shahidullah Shahid a Taliban spokesman announced that now the Pakistan Government should get ready for more. The International Federation of the Islamic Polarization against Afghanistan and Pakistan is already on.

A blow to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to end an Insurgency that has killed 50,000 People since 2001 and stifled Economic growth which cannot be controlled. Pakistan faces a growing Threat from Taliban Fighters, near the border as the U. S. also has started withdrawing forces from neighboring Afghanistan.

India must realize that stability can result in Afghanistan only if all the major Actors and Countries have a stake in its Stability, Growth and Prosperity. India has thus, been championing efforts to attract regional and trans-regional investment into Afghanistan that provides a viable alternative to the dominant narrative of extremism and offers job opportunities to its population, by pioneering events like the Delhi Investment Summit held on Afghanistan in June 2012 and recognizing that the Region holds the key to peace in Afghanistan. India could spearhead Commercial confidence building measures in the Region with in the purview of the Istanbul Process. Multilaterally, it helps initiate a dialogue on Afghanistan through (various) platforms like the Afghanistan- India – US Trilateral and the Afghanistan-India-Iran Trilateral which seeks to bring together International partners with disparate worldviews in pursuit of the common goal of securing peace and prosperity. The UN have at various International Conferences focused on the future of Afghanistan, including the seminal Tokyo Developmental Conference held in July 2012.

There also must exist a high level of Political head engagement with Afghanistan, which would bring in large number of bilateral high-level visits. Our Prime Minister Modi ji invited President Karzai for his swearing In Ceremony which was greatly appreciated..

Those who focus on Narendra Modi’s Hindu Nationalist Ideology, argue that future Indian Foreign Policy towards its erratic neighbor will be more “muscular”. The UPA during the last ten years was unwilling to take risks and show initiatives in Foreign Policy domains. The future India will be more assertive in the Region with Modi ji’s Nationalist Ideology which will drive such a Policy.

Change

The broad contours of Indian Foreign Policy are likely to change dramatically. Looking at the History of the Indian Foreign Policy, evaluations highlight the focus on continuity but now the Country looks for “CHANGE”.

The missing link, however, is the discussions concerning India’s relations with its neighbors. Is the Regional and Geo-political situation such that is likely to emerge only after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan later this year? The direction of the future Indian relations with Pakistan will also be decided not by the Internal factors in India but by the way the Region takes shape in 2015 and the dynamic policy that will bring peace and prosperity with Change.

ccv1The United States has played a role in Pakistan’s Relationship with us since its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. It has successfully made an impact on the Pakistan Army that the real threat Pakistan faces is from the Northwest of the Country (Islamist Militancy) and not from East India. Through Diplomatic pressures and huge financial assistance, the US had managed to ensure that Pakistanis meddling in Indian affairs stays to the minimum and if there is any, it does not lead to a full-fledged war what with the Mumbai attacks in 2008 which is a Case in Point.

With the US set to withdraw from the region, there is likely to be a change. The Pakistan Army could escalate its cross-border infiltration into India through Islamist Militants from groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Taliban who carried out the spectacular attacks in Mumbai and the two attacks on Karachi Airport carried out by the Taliban recently. The Army in Pakistan has found itself cornered by the Government of Nawaz Shariff, which has attempted to assert unprecedented control over the most powerful institution in that Country. The Pak Army is also being squeezed by the Country’s increasingly assertive Private Electronic Media. At crunch points in the past, the Army has chosen to instigate conflict with India to shore up its domestic support base, with two examples being the India-Pakistan war of 1965 and the Kargil (Kashmir) conflict in 1999. We have to be prepared for such a situation and SOON before the US Departure from Afghanistan. Even today Pak is continuing firing on the LOC and we have to save Jammu & Kashmir.

The American withdrawal from Afghanistan will also open the door for the both Pakistan and India to compete for strategic influence in the Country. Where Pakistan considers its right to control the domestic affairs of Afghanistan, India must not let Pakistan do so. India largely ignored Pakistan’s Involvement in Afghanistan during mid-90’s and consequently Pakistan used Afghanistan as a training ground where militants were trained to ultimately attack various targets in India, particularly in Kashmir and Jammu Area. This situation is today being faced by the US who were considering Military options including an Air assault on Iraq to Halt the Sunni Militants along with the lakshare-Toyba backing from Iraq and Iran. The Insurgent Groups ISIS (Islamic States of Iraq and Syria) continues its march across Iraq as US weighs options in case of involvement by them. The number of those that will be killed may run into thousands if a situation develops. It is believed that large number of Militants has gathered for a second assault on Baghdad. US will not accept the Jihadi’s a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria.

SUCH TYPE OF A SITUATION CAN BE FACED BY US IN AFGHANISTAN

Relate the above situation for India Vs Taliban. In order to prevent such an outcome, a close relationship with the Afghanistan Government of President Hamid Karzai or with the front runner, Abdullah Abdullah develops; we will undoubtedly have to continue down the path of India –Afghan friendship. Abdullah was closely linked to the Northern Alliance that pushed the Taliban from power in 2001 and was supported by India. But complicating matters, Abdullah is unlikely to get wide sympathy from the majority Pashtun population of Afghanistan. Pakistan is likely to continue to support the Afghan Taliban who thrive on Pashtun sympathy in the Country, thus putting India and Pakistan on a potential collision course.

The course of future India relations with Pakistan will depend on the regional geopolitical environment. Two determining factors in that would be the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and that Country’s ongoing Presidential Election. Although Modi ji’s Ideology may depart sharply from that of the previous PM. Manmohan Singh, Indian Foreign Policy must be determined by Developments beyond our Countries Borders.

Conclusion

It would be a very great victory if our Prime Minister Modi ji could involve three to four Nations something like NATTO/ CENTO /SARC which could be a configuration of Nations. Countries involved would be INDIA, CHINA, PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN, BALUCHISTAN AND UZBEKISTAN. Our main problem will be between PAKISTAN AND CHINA.
We must prepare ourselves with a strong Economy and with a vision so as to strengthen our Armed forces to ensure that we prepare ourselves once for all. The Country salutes PM Modi ji’s vision and foresight for the future. He will achieve what no one has achieved so far. The Country and People are solidly behind him.