”GS Paper – 2: India and its Neighbour, Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India’s Interests”
Why in News?
- National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will host a meeting of NSAs in the neighbourhood (including Russia) on November 10 to discuss Afghanistan’s future and how to deal with threats to security emanating from developments there.
- The exercise is to reaffirm the consensus that after the pull-out of the U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan, solutions to the crisis in Afghanistan must come from the region itself.
Who all have been invited?
Invitations went out to Mr Doval’s counterparts in China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
What is on the agenda?
The conference, which is part of a format held in Iran in September 2018 and December 2019, is expected to seek a common understanding of how to approach the Taliban regime, especially on seeking an inclusive government in Afghanistan, with rights for women and minorities.
Importance for India?
- India hopes to focus on the triple common threats to neighbours emanating from the Taliban takeover: an uptick in terror groups operating within Afghanistan, an increase in drug trafficking, and an inflow of refugees due to the humanitarian crisis unfolding there.
- India has also been involved in projects of connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia, including the Chabahar port project in Iran and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, and the conference will be closely watched for any outcome on taking these projects further with the new regime in Kabul.
- Finally, New Delhi wants to establish that despite its opposition to the Taliban regime supplanting the democratically elected Ashraf Ghani government, it remains an important figure in Afghanistan’s future as a development, aid and trade partner and a historical builder of connectivity infrastructure.
- In the past, many discussion formats on Afghanistan have not included India, ostensibly at Pakistan’s behest, like the ‘Troika Plus’ talks of China-Russia-U.S.-Pakistan held over two years, Iran’s Neighbourhood Foreign Ministers’ track on Afghanistan held on October 27 and regional meetings held by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister and NSA in the past few months.
- The meeting in Delhi will seek to project India as a necessary part of these dialogues.
- In doing so, New Delhi also re-enforces its claims as a “boundary neighbour”, given that Afghanistan abuts Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Neighbouring Countries’ Engagement With Afghanistan:
- It has been nearly three months after the Taliban takeover of Kabul, while no country has yet recognised the acting Taliban regime headed by “Prime Minister” Hasan
- Akhund, all of the nations involved, including India, are engaging Taliban officials at different levels.
- China, Iran, Pakistan and Russia have even kept their embassies in Kabul open, while Central Asian countries have exchanged delegations for official meetings with the Taliban regime.
Did India’s Stand on Taliban Regime Change?
- New Delhi has made it clear that there are red lines around the actions of the new Taliban dispensation in Afghanistan — that it should not allow safe havens for terror on its soil, the administration should be inclusive, and the rights of minorities, women, and children must be protected.
- But so far, the signs from the Taliban — whose government bears a strong imprint of the Pakistani ISI — have not been encouraging.