Afghan tangle: No easy options for New Delhi, especially given broader threats posed by Beijing, Islamabad

News: India hosted Third Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan. The dialogue concluded with the Delhi Declaration.

Must Read: ‘Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan’
What are the key features of the Delhi Declaration?

The declaration 1. Strongly objected to the use of Afghan soil for planning, financing and carrying out terrorist activities, 2. Called for collective cooperation against the menace of radicalisation, extremism, separatism and drug trafficking in the region.

Read more: The importance of the Gulf in shaping the geopolitics of Afghanistan
Why Pakistan and China did not participate in the dialogue?

1. To undermine Indian interests in the region, 2. The difference in perceived security threat: China and Pakistan want to stabilise their borders with Afghanistan. On the other hand, India and Iran worried more about the Taliban’s lack of inclusivity or their exporting terror to other countries, 3. Pakistan’s Troika Plus summit on Afghanistan: China, US and Russia are participating in the ongoing Troika Plus summit. That conference has a clear political dimension with the presence of the Taliban’s acting foreign minister.

Read more: Is the Indian foreign-policy ship changing course?: About India-Afghanistan relations
What should India do to improve relations with Afghanistan?

India needs both defensive and proactive strategies to build relations and enhance Afghan people’s tremendous goodwill for India.

1. Adopt wait and watch approach towards the Taliban, 2. Deliver aid directly to the suffering Afghan people, 3. Start full visa services for Afghan citizens who may want to temporarily leave Afghanistan, 4. Explore alternate ways to send aid to Afghanistan that doesn’t need Pakistan’s land routes, 5. For the China-Pakistan threat, India should shore up domestic security and work with both the US and Russia.

Must Read: Implications of the rise of Taliban for India – Explained, pointwise

Source: This post is based on the article “Afghan tangle: No easy options for New Delhi, especially given broader threats posed by Beijing, Islamabad” published in The Times of India on 11th Nov 2021.

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