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Afghan Peace Process and India


Synopsis: The US is set to leave Afghan as per the mandates of the Afghan Peace process. India should step up to ensure a peaceful, stable, and democratic Afghan government

Background:

  • The peace process in Afghanistan is witnessing a crucial moment in its history.
  • In a recent development, Mr. Blinken’s letter (U.S secretary of state) addressed Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.  It confirmed the US intention to fully withdraw all forces from Afghanistan as per the Doha Agreement.
  • Moreover, The continuation of Zalmay Khalilzad as the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation indicated that the US wants to proceed to a final settlement based on the Doha agreement.
  • The withdrawal of the US from the state will worsen the security situation, and it would help the Taliban to make rapid gains.
Dilemma faced by the US
  • The U.S. maintains that its objective is to bring about a just and durable peace through political negotiations. It wants Afghanistan to remain united, sovereign, and democratic.
  • But withdrawing troops from Afghanistan to cut its expenses is a contradiction to its above-stated objectives.
  • Also, the major problem for the US is that it cannot withdraw from Afghan without accepting Pakistan’s terms.
  • But acceding to Pakistan’s terms will not be accepted by Afghan patriots who want freedom for Afghanistan to choose its political direction.
  • Mr. Biden is of the view that Pakistan is strategically more important to the U.S. than Afghanistan.
  • Thus, Instead of pressuring Pakistan, the US is seeking Afghan support for a power-sharing arrangement with the Taliban. It would help to enable the exit of U.S. soldiers.
The current plan
  • The U.S. Government is advocating ‘a new, inclusive government’ in Afghanistan. It supports an immediate 50% share for the Taliban in an interim government, as a quid pro quo for a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
  • Ghani is now asked to work closely with a broad consultative group to build consensus for negotiations with the Taliban on power-sharing, governance, and essential supporting principles.
What are the implications for India?
  • India remains fully committed to Afghanistan. The bilateral relations are growing irrespective of political instability in Afghan. For example, recent high-level exchanges between Indian and Afghan leaders.
  • Invites to prominent elders and senior Afghan leaders by India helped it to reconnect with the political forces in Afghanistan.
  • India’s efforts in Afghanistan have attracted support from the Afghan people and government.
  • The patriotic Afghan people have always supported their erstwhile leaders such as Ex-President Najibullah, who are committed to building the nation. And these leaders in turn look to India as a friend and expect solidarity.
What should be the way forward for India?
  • In the late 1990s when no country was willing to help the democratic forces in Afghanistan. India and Iran voiced their support. A similar situation is arising.
  • India must step up to assist materially those who want to defend the Afghan republic.
  • This will also mark the arrival of India as the super power and as an arbiter in settling international disputes.

[Answered] Discuss the strategic significance of Afghanistan for India. Also, discuss various implications of the recent Afghanistan deal for India.

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