- Each day spent in Afghanistan is proving to be extremely challenging for the locals as they battle out raising concerns of leading dignified existence fearing the Taliban backlash notorious for forcefully implementing fundamentalist ideologies. As the global leadership undertakes comprehensive efforts at alleviating the miseries of battered citizens from the clutches of the jihadist groups, what it entails for the region surrounding the war-ravaged nation is a concern deserving holistic considerations. It would be an understatement to mention that the Indian government too would be vastly worried about the fast-unfolding events in Afghanistan where heavy investment in terms of money, material, and efforts have gone since the last two decades.
PC: Agency Report
- Right now, the focus is on evacuating our citizens, and rightly so. India is evacuating not only Afghan Hindus and Sikhs but also other Afghans fleeing the Islamist group. Once the evacuation concludes, the Indian think tank will need to firm up a strategy to deal with the new dispensation taking the reins sooner than later. The challenges confronting India would be multifold including but not restricted to our old nemesis Pakistan and its obvious links with the Taliban. There is no denying that India would feel constrained by the visible ebb in its relations with Iran over the last few years. Mind you, Iran enjoys significant influence in Afghanistan by virtue of an estimated three million Afghan refugees who have already made it their home.
- Many more are expected to join the ranks in the coming days. On top of it, Tehran has developed deep contacts with the Taliban over the years with the Afghan group even expressing affinity for the Iranian Islamic governance system. Unfortunately, the erstwhile US President’s fixation with Iran and subsequent reimposition of sanctions after exiting the nuclear deal in 2018 played a spoilsport placing a big spanner in New Delhi-Tehran ties. Note that New Delhi was left with not many options in the changed geopolitical scenario as an increasingly assertive China had to be checkmated from its ill-advised ambitions and expansionist agenda. Consequent corollary, which should concern New Delhi, is Iran recently linking a 25-year strategic cooperation pact with China.
- There is also another concern brewing for India what with Russia and China also drawing strategically close in the last few years. As is its wont, Pakistan is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to forge an axis involving its all-weather ally China and the new-found bonhomie with Russia to build a common approach on Afghanistan. If this comes to fruition, the alliance will be similar to the Quad Group of India-US-Japan-Australia which New Delhi has cultivated assiduously in the backdrop of China’s belligerence in the Eastern Ladakh region. Thus, it is imperative for Indian leadership to further strengthen the Quad who have firmly established democracies as against the autocracies joining hands on the other hand. Diplomatic skills will be a test for sure.