India engagement with Afghan Taliban

Synopsis- India has to be realistic. It has to come to terms with the reality that the Taliban have an upper hand and they might actually come to power.

    • Indian officials have met and held discussions with the Taliban representatives in Doha ahead of the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan
    • This is opportunity for India to reduce Pakistan’s option for playing mischief and protecting its investment in Afghanistan.
Probable motive of India
    • To prevent Pakistan from using Afghanistan as strategic depth against India once the US leaves.
      • Pakistan, as one of the three nations that recognize the Taliban’s government in Afghanistan, has been a key player in the Afghan peace process.
      • A Taliban takeover would certainly empower Pakistan to deploy its Afghan proxies against India, perhaps affecting Kashmir.
    • India also tries to protect its investment in Afghanistan-
      • India has invested billions of dollars in Afghanistan as it seeks to strengthen its role in the war-torn country.
      • Major development projects
        • Shahtoot dam, which is expected to cost $250 million.
        • Afghan Parliament, Zaranj-Delaram Highway, and Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam (Salma Dam),
        • Along with India’s assistance of more than $3 billion in projects, hundreds of small development projects of schools, hospitals, and water projects.
Way forward-
  • Given the level of investment, India has made in Afghanistan, India cannot rely on a multilateral approach to protect its interests. In this scenario, India must continue to engage with Taliban.

Source- Times of India

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