Doha Talks and India’s Future


Muhammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Office of the Taliban of Afghanistan speaks during the opening of the Taliban Afghanistan Political Office in Doha

The whole world has its eyes fixed on the capital of Qatar – Doha, where the forces that have been at war for the last 11 years are finally meeting around the negotiations table. The talks between the Afghan Taliban and the US are a hot news since 2009, but their gravity is evident from the setup of a formal office now; though the official name given to the office and the flag of the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ hoisted in it have again caused clouds of uncertainty to darken the hitherto clear horizon for the talks. It would be, however, hasty to hope for immediate results from these talks, though the nearing schedule for the 2014 withdrawal has placed the US in a critical situation – one that will surely show its inevitable effects on the tables of the Talks.

The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, three decades ago, had conferred its greatest harm on India. Muslim militants gave a boost to the Kashmir struggle for independence and delivered great blows to India; but when the world attacked Afghanistan after September 2011 – to fight terrorism without even agreeing on its definition – Kashmir also had to feel its aftermath, albeit indirectly. India, by pressuring the international community, rendered Pakistan helpless, and caused a ceasefire to be signed on the Line of Control.

Taking advantage of the said ceasefire, and following in the footsteps of Israel, it set up fences, concrete bunkers, night vision devices and different types of sensors with the aim of putting an end to the participation of militants from the Pakistani side of Kashmir in the armed struggle of the Indian Kashmiris. These fences greatly disturbed the Kashmiris in the beginning, but it was ultimately rendered useless in the face of their determination. Lt. Ata Hasnain, at the end of his services with the 15th Cover, openly confessed the impossibility of preventing the inflow into Kashmir.

Now, while we are on the verge of witnessing a situation similar to 1989, the Indian government is worried about the 2014 withdrawal and is trying to control its effects. There were six major military factions in Afghanistan at the time of the Soviet withdrawal, and the civil war that broke among them, after the Soviet departure, harmed them greatly. In the year 1994, with the establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, peace and stability were witnessed after a long period of time; but India had chosen to offer its support to the National Alliance instead of Taliban. India has made a 750 Million dollar investment in Karzai’s Afghanistan under the supervision of the US government, and yet, it is very unlikely that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and India might have friendly relations or protect each other’s interests.

With a view to enjoying the American blessings, India has gradually reduced its oil imports from dependence on other countries, and has imported oil worth 20 billion dollar from Iraq in the previous year. The Indian Minister for Foreign Affairs, who has recently returned to India after a tour of Iraq, was assured by the Iraqi authorities that Iraq is willing to cover all the Indian needs for fuel. On the other hand, although his American counterpart has openly assured India of its role in Afghanistan during his recent visit, and has stressed on maximum Indian participation in the April 2014 elections, the Indians are still unable to be at peace, because they know that the US is in a hurry to leave Afghanistan safe and sound. When the talks will finally be hot and happening, the US will prefer to save its own life first, and all the other priorities will automatically suffer a setback.

It is imperative to clarify here that with the American arrival in Afghanistan, India had instantly begun to spend lavishly on developmental programmes in Afghanistan, in spite of not sharing any borders with it. Through these developmental programmes, India had wanted to establish itself as a ‘soft power’ by ensuring its influence on the Afghan population. This influence, in turn, was meant to be a means of ensuring long lasting results through being used against Pakistan. But after the Obama administration’s negotiations about the withdrawal from Afghanistan, India insisted through its media, using intensive lobbying, that the US should not leave as yet; and went on to put a sudden halt to all its developmental projects in Afghanistan. The gravity of India’s helplessness over Afghanistan should be clear from the fact that instead of offering to send its troops to deal with the situation post withdrawal, it merely urged the US to remain in Afghanistan.

Since the year 2001, India has been supporting all anti-Pakistan elements. Be it the BLA or the TTP, Sindhu Desh or any other separatists, Indian contacts and support have always been maintained with a view to attacking Pakistan’s very integrity and sovereignty; but these attempts now appear to be on the verge of causing self harm to India. Whatever be the highlights of the talks between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the US, and whatever be the results of them, nevertheless, the future of India in the region appears to be dark; and no analyst is able, as yet, to present a picture that could enable India to force a ray of light into this darkness.

(Translated By : Gharibah)

For the Urdu Translation of this Article: دوحہ مذاکرات اور بھارت کا مستقبل

is graduate from UET, Lahore, with keen interest in Conflicts in South Asia. He tweets @_AnasAbdullah

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