Engaging the Taliban- Relevance for UPSC Exam
- GS Paper 2: International Relations- India and its neighbourhood- relations.
Engaging the Taliban- Context
- Recent, India participated in a meeting of 10 nations with Taliban officials in Moscow
- India also signed of a joint statement that recognized the “new reality” in Afghanistan
- These steps signal a decisive shift in India’s approach towards the Islamist group.
- India had earlier taken a strong position against any kind of engagement with the Taliban.
Engaging the Taliban- Present Scenario
- Occupation of Kabul: After the USA left Afghanistan, the Taliban continuously made progress and occupied Afghanistan by defeating the Afghan national forces.
- India’s Stand:
- During negotiations, India had established contacts with the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar.
- Moscow Delegation: Recently, for the first time India met a top Taliban delegation, which included Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi.
- In the joint statement, India and the others asked the Taliban to keep their commitment on forming an inclusive government and ensure that their territory is not being used by terrorist groups.
- Commitment against terrorism: Taliban made a commitment that they will not allow Afghan soil to be used by any terrorist organisation.
Engaging the Taliban- India’s Interests in Afghanistan
- India has vital interests in Afghanistan. Over the 20 years, it has made investments worth billions of dollars which it would want to be protected.
- Threat of Terrorism: Last time during the Taliban, India saw a rise in violent incidents in Kashmir as well as the hijacking of an Indian plane to Kandahar. India wants to avoid the same this time.
- Engagement with the Taliban is a strategic necessity: An isolated Taliban might become drive them to become just a Pakistani satellite which would not be in India’s interests.
Engaging the Taliban- Way Forward
- Pursue Regional diplomacy: rather than bilateral diplomacy for implementing India’s present Afghan Policy.
- Bilaterally, India does not have much clout with the Taliban.
- But Afghan’s new rulers, who are struggling with an economy on the brink of collapse, are keener this time to engage with regional powers.
- Leverage Moscow 10: They also have an interest in seeing the Taliban severing its terror ties and Afghanistan being stabilized.
- Moscow 10 includes China, Pakistan, Iran and the Central Asian republics.
- Ensuring stability: For this, the Taliban should be ready to open up their government, share power with other political and ethnic communities, and start respecting the fundamental rights of Afghans.
Engaging the Taliban- Conclusion
- While India and other regional countries should help Afghans during this period of economic miseries, they should also use their collective economic and political clout to mount pressure on the Taliban to make political concessions at home.