Kabul, Kashmir and the return of the real politik

News: Withdrawal of US troops, fall of Afghanistan and return of Taliban has opened the geopolitical contestation for influence over Afghanistan.

What are the recent developments?
Afghanistan is reeling under economic crisis and humanitarian crisis with an acute shortage of food. Considering this Taliban has shown interest in engaging with India.

Read here: Aiding Afghanistan: On both humanitarian and strategic grounds, India must provide succour to ordinary Afghans

Also, India recently hosted Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan . But, China and Pakistan opted to stay out of it.

Read here: What are the challenges for India in achieving its Afghanistan objectives?

What are the strategies adopted by different countries?
China: It is engaging the Taliban, but is proceeding with caution. Eventually, it seeks to include Afghanistan through BRI and also CPEC.

Pakistan: It views Afghanistan as its backyard. So it seeks to gain international acceptance for the Taliban regime. At the same time, it seeks to keep the Indian influence away.

What is the dilemma facing the global countries?

Countries have the following concerns:

-Whether to send aid to Afghanistan or not – If the West sends aid via Taliban, it may not reach Afghan people.
-Whether to invest in stabilizing Afghanistan – If they stabilize Afghanistan, the beneficiaries may be Pakistan and China.

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

What is the Indian dilemma? How does this impact Pakistan’s Kashmir policy?
It has the question of Whether to engage with the Taliban or not – a closer engagement with the Taliban will make Pakistan insecure and create troubles in India-Pakistan relations and in Kashmir. There is rise in cases of violence in Kashmir after the Taliban Takeover.
Pakistan’s earlier stand to accept the withdrawal of Article 370 seems to have changed.

Read more: Is the Indian foreign-policy ship changing course?: About India-Afghanistan relations

But with the recent convening of Regional security dialogue, India has indicated it will engage with the Taliban. If this helps in stabilizing the Taliban regime, it is likely that the Taliban may not be hostile to India.

What can be expected in the future?
There can be a heating up of the Kashmir issue. Given the absence of China-Pakistan from the Indian initiative, it would be best for India to coordinate its Afghan policy through Moscow for now.

Read more: India’s future Afghan policy – Explained, pointwise

Source: This post is based on the article ” Kabul, Kashmir and the return of the real politik” published in The Hindu on 17th November, 2021.

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