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RSTV – THE BIG PICTURE ANALYSIS

The Afghanistan puzzle and India

The Topic covers GS paper 2 [India and its neighbourhood- relations.]

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Context

India welcomed the power-sharing deal announced by Afghanistan between President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, which ended months of political discord triggered by last year’s disputed presidential election. 

What is the background?

  • The Ministry of External Affairs said India hoped the political agreement and creation of a council for national reconciliation will result in renewed efforts for establishing enduring peace and stability, and putting an end to externally-sponsored terrorism and violence in Afghanistan.

  • According to the deal, Ghani will stay as the president while Abdullah will helm the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) with executive authority and his team will have a 50 percent share in the cabinet. 

  • The HCNR has been mandated to lead future peace talks, including with the Taliban.

What is the power-sharing deal?

  •  that it is hostile to Indian interests if Indian side recognizes the Taliban's legitimacy in Afghanistan. 

  • Diplomatically, India should consider not shunning all stakeholders, including the Taliban, in Afghanistan, and India should become a valuable development partner.

  • India should insist on the Taliban not to play as Pakistani proxy and dissuade from anti-Indian interests, through formal diplomatic channels, considering the present mellowed down global perspective towards the Taliban.

  • Afghanistan is important for India for getting connected to Central Asian Republics, which are hydrocarbon rich. 

  • On the other hand, chabahar port in Iran is also instrumental for connectivity to CAR via Afghanistan.


What is the way forward?

  • India should capitalize on its strengths like being an important power in the region and extract a fair deal with all stakeholders in Afghanistan. 

  • With changing times, we have to change the strategies and engagement with all stakeholders is the name of the game. 

  • India should play an instrumental role in peace between Afghan elites and the Taliban. 

  • The deal between Ghani and Abdullah is the deal of survival of them. 

  • We have to be beware of lower-rung cadres of the Taliban and try to dissuade them from radicalization and influence of ISKP. 

  • We have to keep in confidence different ethnic groups like pashtoons. 

  • The role of Iran, Russia, and the Taliban need to be watched cautiously. 

  • The International North-South corridor is very important for India.


Conclusion

The road to peace in Afghanistan is long and uncertain. But the U.S. determination to support a political process, the conclusion of a U.S.-Taliban framework, and the prospects for intra-Afghan negotiation mark the best chance for peace in many years. India can and should play a proactive role in supporting these efforts.



 
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