This may seem like we are getting somewhat off the beaten track with respect to the usual plethora of articles on mainstream subjects. India, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, USA and UK are all part of the revival of the 19th century’s Great Game. Watch and pay attention a lot is going on in the deadest and furthest corners of the world that most definitely affect your daily bread. A bit of a back ground to help you understand the situation. India´s policy in Afghanistan is complete nonsense. India calculated on geo-strategic and geopolitical gain in Afghanistan resorting to cheap tactics allying itself with anti-Taliban, anti-Pakistan government in Kabul supported by the United States.
Contributing to fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and making it the basis of its relations with Pakistan, India, helped enable the aggressive cross-border counter-insurgency strategy, which pushed the Taliban cancer deeper into the already reeling and wounded Pakistan society. Not surprisingly, Pakistani security forces decided to return favor by unleashing the Lashkar-e-Toiba caused bloody horror of Mumbai in August 2008.
Great thursday to everyone across our wonderful world.
Follow China’s footsteps in Afghanistan
Reuters featured a story on China’s involvement in Afghanistan just when the Delhi newspapers are reporting that India just walked into the ‘great game’ in the Hindu Kush. Reading it from Thiruvanathapuram in the southern-most tip of India gives a surreal feeling. How much at variance are the preoccupations of our pundits in Delhi and the throbbing concerns of small-town folks in India! Yet another foreign-policy disconnect?
The Afghan policies of China and India present a study in contrast. China is also a regional power like India and, arguably, China is not lacking ‘influence’ with the Hamid Karzai set-up in Kabul, either. Yet, Reuters’ thesis is that China is clear-headed and down-to-earth about its priorities and doesn’t want to follow the footsteps of Great Britain, USSR or USA.
China also is averse to turning that desperately poor country into a turf for testing out hubris or for settling scores with adversaries like Japan or the US. China is suspicious of the US and Nato’s intentions in Central Asia (and the Islamists eyeing Xinjiang), but is confident about its intellectual capacity to optimally safeguard its vital interests and core concerns, while husbanding its resources from being squandered away in futile adventures. Funnily, it is China that is credited with an overbearing security establishment that dominates foreign-policy – and not India!
Economic diplomacy is China’s preferred weapon. Unlike the case with India, US is pressing China for military involvement in Afghanistan and for providing a transportation route to that country. India, on the other hand, has been knocking at the American door for the past 6 years for some little role on the military front in Kabul, but US kept saying ‘Nyet’.
China is sceptical of the wisdom of opening the Wakhan Corridor lest ‘foreign devils’ appear on the Silk Road. Whereas, India which is geographically at a disadvantage, still wants to flex muscles and project its power once again into Afghanistan.
India doesn’t dip into historical memory. Some disturbing questions remain. What was the final outcome of the enormous commitment of resources to the Najibullah regime or the Northern Alliance? Najib got overthrown. NA was all but vanquished despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that Indian mandarins spent on the ‘warlords’.
Will history be any different this time? Why don’t we trust diplomacy? We too claim to have a robust economic diplomacy. The best course would have been to leave Pakistan to vainly try to manipulate the fiercely independent Afghans, and ultimately collapse from sheer exhaustion – sooner rather than later? The tons of money that is going to be spent on the Afghan warlords could have been used to develop the backward regions in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, which India claims as its territories. Reuters story is here.