India – Afghanistan Relations | 30th April 2020

Spread the love

IASbhai Editorial Hunt

Always wake up with a smile knowing that today you are going to have fun accomplishing what others are too afraid to do.– Mark Cuban

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL 60:“Afghan peace and India’s elbow room

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL/EDITORIALS FOR UPSC CSE MAINS 2020

India-Afghanistan-Relationship-UPSC

Suhasini Haidar

suhasini.h@thehindu.co.in

 

      HEADLINES:

Afghan peace and India’s elbow room

      CENTRAL THEME:

Though sidelined from regional discussions on Afghanistan, India must still pursue the ample chances in seeking peace

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2:IR

      MAINS QUESTION:

Afghan-led , Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process seems to be diluted by excluding India in recent ‘6+2+1’ meeting . Critically comment-(GS 2)

      LEARNING: 

In this article you will learn :

  • Why India has recovered a little from past experiences with Afghan government .
  • Major infra Projects
  • Solution for such exclusion !

      INTRODUCTION: 

Earlier this month, the United Nations Secretariat held a meeting of what it calls the “6+2+1” group on regional efforts to support peace in Afghanistan, a group that includes six neighbouring countries: China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; global players the United States and Russia, and Afghanistan itself.
  • India was conspicuous by its absence from the meeting on April 16, given its historical and strategic ties with Afghanistan, but not for the first time.

      BODY: 

LEFT OUT, BUT SOME RECOVERY:

  • In December 2001, for example, the Indian team led by special envoy Satinder Lambah arrived in Germany’s Petersberg hotel near Bonn, where the famous Bonn agreement was negotiated, to find no reservations had been made for them at the official venue. 
  • In January 2010, India was invited to attend the “London Conference” on Afghanistan, but left out of the room during a crucial meeting that decided on opening talks with the Taliban.
In 2020, the reason given for keeping India out of regional discussions on Afghanistan was ostensibly that it holds no “boundary” with Afghanistan; but in fact it is because New Delhi has never announced its support for the U.S.-Taliban peace process.
  • In both 2001 and 2010, however, India fought back its exclusion successfully.
  • In 2011, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Afghanistan President Karzai signed the historic Strategic Partnership Agreement, which was Afghanistan’s first such agreement with any country.

NEW DELHI’S STAND

  • India’s resistance to publicly talking to the Taliban has made it an awkward interlocutor at any table.
Its position that only an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled process can be allowed is a principled one, but has no takers.
  • POWER SHARING : Kabul, or the Ashraf Ghani government does not lead, own or control the reconciliation process today, comprising the U.S.-Taliban negotiation for an American troops withdrawal, and intra-Afghan talks on power sharing.
  • PEACE DEAL MEANING : The U.S.-Taliban peace deal means that the Taliban, which has not let up on violent attacks on the Afghan Army, will become more potent as the U.S. withdraws soldiers from the country.
  • VOICE IN RECONCILIATION : New Delhi’s voice in the reconciliation process has been limited, and it has weakened India’s position with other leaders of the deeply divided democratic setup in Kabul such as the former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah.
  • OTHER PARTIES : Meanwhile, India’s presence inside Afghanistan, which has been painstakingly built up since 2001, is being threatened anew by terror groups such as the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), believed to be backed by Pakistan’s establishment.

Either way, India’s diplomatic strength in Afghanistan should not appear to be in retreat just when it is needed the most.

WHAT DENTS INDIA’S GOODWILL

  • The government must also consider the damage done to the vast reservoir of goodwill India enjoys in Afghanistan because of recent events in the country, especially the controversy over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The building blocks of that goodwill are India’s assistance in infrastructure projects, health care, education, trade and food security, and also in the liberal access to Afghans to study, train and work in India.
  • PLURALISTIC APPROACH : Above all, it is India’s example as a pluralistic, inclusive democracy that inspires many.
  • Afghanistan’s majority-Muslim citizens, many of whom have treated India as a second home, have felt cut out of the move to offer fast track citizenship to only Afghan minorities.
  • REGIONAL INTEGRATION : India’s assistance of more than $3 billion in projects, trade of about $1 billion, a $20 billion projected development expenditure of an alternate route through Chabahar, as well as its support to the Afghan National Army, bureaucrats, doctors and other professionals for training in India should assure it a leading position in Afghanistan’s regional formulation.
MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURAL PROJECTS :
Three major projects: the Afghan Parliament, the Zaranj-Delaram Highway, and the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam (Salma dam), along with hundreds of small development projects (of schools, hospitals and water projects) have cemented that position in Afghan hearts nationwide, regardless of Pakistan’s attempts to undermine that position, particularly in the South.
  • The state must strive to endure that its aid and assistance is broad-based, particularly during the novel coronavirus pandemic to centres outside the capital, even if some lie in areas held by the Taliban.

      IASbhai Windup: 

MAKING A LEAP

  • PLAY A IMPORTANT ROLE : India must also pursue opportunities to fulfil its role in the peace efforts in Afghanistan, starting with efforts to bridge the Ghani-Abdullah divide, and bringing together other major leaders with whom India has built ties for decades.
  • India’s “engagement” in the peace process, appears to open a window in that direction.
  • MEDIATION : An understanding between Iran and the U.S. on Afghanistan is necessary for lasting peace as well, and India could play a mediatory part, as it did in order for the Chabahar project.
  • LEARNING LESSONS : However, if there is one lesson that the the U.S.-Taliban talks have imparted, it is that both have found it necessary to come to the table for talks on Afghanistan’s future.
  • For India, given its abiding interest in Afghanistan’s success and traditional warmth for its people, making that leap should be a bit easier.

The government must consider the appointment of a special envoy, as it has been done in the past, to deal with its efforts in Afghanistan, which need both diplomatic agility and a firmness of purpose at a watershed moment in that country’s history.


Spread the love

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

IASbhai will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.