Q) Given the betrayal of the Taliban in the Afghan peace process, what approach should India adopt in order to secure its interests? (150 Words)
GS 2: IR, GS 3: Internal Security
Introduction: As the United States abruptly leaves Afghanistan, the Taliban ceases control of Afghanistan district by district by force. Currently it controls 85% of all districts and threatens to take control of the urban centers. This goes against the spirit of Afghan peace process where it was expected that democratic solution to the problem shall be a pursued.
Challenges for India:
- Drug peddling/Financing: Afghanistan forms a part of Golden crescent and is a source of drugs that infiltrate illegally into India. This way it finances its terror activity
- Support from Pakistan: In terms of supply of arms.
- Instability in Kashmir: as in the past, any in Afghanistan directly affects our interests in Kashmir.
- Human right crisis: Various stakeholders in Afghanistan, such as women and rights groups, have real fears about a return of the Taliban.
- Migrant Crisis: A new wave of migrant crisis has dawned upon as scores of Afghanis try to flee Afghanistan.
- Strategic investment going to waste: India has invested in connectivity projects, Salma Dam and Afghan Parliament, all of which are expected to go to waste.
- Loss of strategic partner against Pakistan: The friendship between Indian and Afghan authorities includes favours like Salma Dam, construction of Parliament building etc. which would be lost.
- Loss of Intelligence: Afghanistan has been an important ally in providing intelligence about the region, which is set to deteriorate.
Approach that India can take in this situation:
- Using Platforms with regional stakeholder: Such as Shenghai cooperation Organization(SCO), Hearth of Asia conference to gather support in favour of Afghanistan.
- Partner with Russia: Russia has mobilized a standing army at the borders of Tajikistan for the case of any eventuality. India too has a base in Tajikistan from where it can support Afghan forces.
- Mobilizing financial support: There is a possibility of alliance to support the Afghan government financially and logistically by a number of western countries as they leave Afghans in disarray.
- Pressurizing Pakistan: through various mediums like Financial Action Task Force(FATF) to stop its financing and support of Taliban.
- Supply of Arms: India must directly support Afghan government as far as it can to elongate the fight.
- Curbing Drug peddling in India: A large portion of financing happens through supply of drugs in India. We can put curbs on our part of drug supply chains through changes in legislations and law enforcement.
- Use of Social Media: To create awareness in the world at large about the situation in Afghanistan.
Conclusion: The withdrawal of US troops has came up as a strategic blow for India, and India's initial distance from multiple Afghan Peace processes has left India with little strategic leverage in Afghanistan. India thus has to take route of intensive dialogues with the international partners in the region and beyond to garner support and sympathies.