The Trump retrenchment News: The article analyses the effects of Trump’s announcement to pull out American forces from Afghanistan and future role of regional players. Facts:
  • Trump has announced withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, reducing their number to just 7000.
  • American pullout raises concerns of insecurity in the region i.e. Afghanistan, South and Central Asia.
China’s role in Afghanistan crisis:
  • China shares border with Afghanistan and war and chaos could spill over into north-western China.
  • Peace in and around Afghanistan is important for success of Belt and Road Initiative of China, which passes through these Pakistan and Central Asia.
  • China has joined the U.S. and Russia in several peace talks with the Taliban, it is giving military aid to Afghanistan to fight terrorism and has invested in projects such as mining, roads and railways, and health in Afghanistan.
  • China is well placed to act as a power broker in Afghanistan as it is diplomatically connected with all the parties like Pakistan, Taliban, Central Asian Republics and Afghan government and US.
India’s role in Afghanistan relations:
  • India has always supported an ‘Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan administered’ peace process.
  • India has certainly contributed much ‘soft power’ to Afghanistan, ranging from telecommunications to education, helping in construction of Afghan Parliament building, all of which have earned it goodwill and popularity.
  • Shedding its long held abhorrence for Taliban, India recently sent two retired diplomats, ‘non-officially’, at the Moscow Format summit in 2018, for discussing Afghan crisis.
Post US withdrawal: In the Middle East, American retrenchment has led to growing assertion of regional powers, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey. Much the same is likely to happen in Afghanistan.
  • India and China, being the dominant regional players, are perfectly placed to fill the void created by US withdrawal and must take forward their joint initiatives in Afghanistan. Last October, in a first, India and China started a joint training project for Afghan diplomats.
  • China and India could collaborate for facilitating Afghanistan’s full membership of the SCO.
  • India is being pushed by US to play a proactive role in ensuring security in Afghanistan, which is an invitation for India to adopt a vigorous strategy in Afghanistan and take on larger responsibilities for regional security.