US-Taliban Accord in Afghanistan… India erred

India's refusal to put troops on the ground in Afghanistan is going to cost it dear, with the Taliban announcing that it will wage jihad

India's refusal to put troops on the ground in Afghanistan is going to cost it dear, with the Taliban announcing that it will wage jihad
India's refusal to put troops on the ground in Afghanistan is going to cost it dear, with the Taliban announcing that it will wage jihad

Did India welch on its promise?

If reliable sources are to be believed, during one of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s visits to the United States (there were five trips made by him by the end of June 2017[1]), it was promised by the Government of India that they would help the United States (US) with boots on the ground in Afghanistan so President Trump could deliver on his promise of bringing American troops back home from Afghanistan[2]. The quid pro quo was that India can get the weapons of its choice – aircraft/ artillery/ new technology and so on.

Imagine the US’s surprise when the then Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman flat out refused to allow boots on the ground in Afghanistan[3]! This was just weeks after the Modi-Trump meeting and must have come as a shock to the US that India is unable to walk the talk. Perhaps this single event has made the US not trust India with its promises and the result of this is there for all to see.

Caught napping?

Was India caught napping with the US-Taliban peace accord/ pact in Afghanistan recently? Pakistan mediated and pushed for it by encouraging the pullout of US Armed Forces from Afghanistan. It was a well-planned strategy by Pakistan to gain the upper hand in the sub-continent. It is perhaps more appropriate to call it a Pakistan-brokered accord.

India was not in isolation and did represent unofficially by an undisclosed team, at the initial US-Taliban talks twice in Paris France, and later, in Doha, Qatar. In 2015-16 during the last year of President Obama’s term also, PM Modi had assured the US that India would be a part of the joint force in Afghanistan. The matter was sidelined with India’s cooling to the idea of a military co-operation with the US in Afghanistan.

More terror strikes?

The Afghan Taliban have announced that they will start a regular Jihad in India after Eid-ul-Fitr. They have started regrouping in Afghanistan and have many mercenaries amongst them who operate for money, in the name of ‘Jihad’. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has direct access to these sets of terror groups outfits and are likely to sponsor them to fight in India. Pakistan has got now a Taliban proxy to fight India, a convenient stick to beat it with, and then claim plausible deniability to the whole world.

India’s intelligence has credible inputs about the conspiracy of the Afghanistan Taliban group sponsored by the ISI to enter India for terror activity. The possible terror target this time might be Indian Political leaders and those who matter most. National Security must to be tightened in view of the open Taliban threat to India.

The Covid-19 threat

New Delhi is already in a panic mode with the existing COVID-19 pandemic and worsening the economic crisis; add to it now the possibility of terror strikes. The buzz is that in addition to the usual entry points Gujarat and Rajasthan are also being looked at closely. With high summer setting in and ice melting, many porous sectors of Indian borders in North India will also open up, giving terror groups easy access to India. The recent attacks on the Indian Armed Forces in the Kashmir sector are the indication of things to come in the next few months. Tight sealing and vigilance of Indian borders is a priority for our armed forces and prevent mass infiltration of terrorist into the Indian side. Estimated around 3500 Taliban affiliated fighter hired mercenaries on the verge to enter India and unknown numbers might have already infiltrated in March, April, May 2020.

China intruding in Ladakh and Sikkim

Satellite pictures obtained by the US show Chines troop incursion of up to 5 km. into Indian territory in Ladakh and Sikkim[4]. India is yet to react to this new brazen attempt by China.

Why the Taliban hate India

Afghan Taliban hate India supporting the Afganistan regime up to now which has been anti-Taliban. Even in the past, India rightly has always supported anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan even now and in the past had nexus with the Taliban. Now the Taliban is spreading false narrative stories to have taken this decision due to the indiscriminate atrocities perpetrated on Muslims by the Indian BJP govt. They are citing the changes in the state of Kashmir from August 2019 and the massacre of Kashmiris by India. Taliban have propagated open revenge against Indians and recruiting Jihadi fighter.

Taliban political office leader Abbas Stanekzai says “Taliban welcome Indian contribution in Afghanistan if it is meant in the interests of the Afghan nation but India has played a negative role in the last 40 years by having economic, military & political ties with a corrupt group in Afghanistan[5].” Among various other important topics, Mr. Stanikzai sheds light on the negative role played by India in destabilizing Afghanistan and supporting tyrant regimes rather than people of Afghanistan.

With widespread reporting of Taliban intention to start Jihad in Kashmir, the Taliban spokesperson from Doha Qatar on 18th May 2020, under pressure, was quick to deny the report. As a matter of fact, there are many factions within the Taliban who work independently, not under any command. They make their own decisions on the ground and operate, as paid mercenaries. They might deny the report to divert attention and mislead. The past track record of the Taliban is well-known – Jihad way, they are the most brutal barbaric gruesome violent in implementing Islamic agenda.

The systematic disinformation campaign run by the Taliban is fuelled by Pakistan ISI in Islamic countries about India. Muslims in India have been increasingly at risk since the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was first elected in 2014. Several Muslims died in a carnage amidst rising communal tensions in the country. The Kashmir dominance of Muslims was broken in August 2019 with the removal of Article 370 provision and it’s integration into India.

Fake narratives on CAA and NRC

On December 12, 2019, the Modi administration achieved passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Under this act, for the first time in India, religion is a basis for granting citizenship. The law specifically fast-tracks asylum claims of non-Muslim irregular immigrants from the neighboring Muslim-majority countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The amended citizenship law, coupled with the government’s push for a nationwide citizenship verification process through a National Population Register (NPR) and a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), aimed at identifying “illegal migrants,” has led to unfounded fears that millions of Indian Muslims, including many families who have lived in the country for generations, could be stripped of their citizenship rights and disenfranchised. These are false propaganda carried out to arose outrage hate against Hindus and India.

Many Jihadi sleeper cells within India have once again been activated to help the incoming terror groups. Taliban in private have been boasting that they have acquired dirty bombs from a breakaway Soviet Union country. They are threatening to use it against India. With Pakistan ISI collaborating with the Taliban nothing can be ruled out. It might be a heavy blow for India if they succeed. Govt should immediately initiate top security measures and stop them at all costs.

Missed opportunity

Going back, to the failure on part of India’s leadership to act promptly and decisively to prevent US-Taliban Accord in Afghanistan. Additionally, the Indian government failed to impress upon the US not to leave Afganistan and should have offered a joint armed forces alliance. Pakistan’s dubious game plan was not understood by the mandarins and decision-makers in the Foreign Ministry. Wrong advice to PM Modi to stay away from Afghanistan will cost us, dear. Now we will have to fight Taliban terror groups on our Line of Control (LoC) and on Indian soil.

We can certainly repulse with our resources capability, any major mishaps, terror attacks. Stray terror incidents might occur, which will come with a heavy price.

We should have offered the US an excellent proposal in the long term interest of India in the region. By opting for a military alliance with the US by providing our Armed Forces Personnel to be deployed in Afghanistan and in return we get access to High Tech US Military equipment. In the way we could have nipped the Taliban bud in Afghanistan itself, rather having them at our borders of LoC on Indian soil disturbing our peace and harmony.

The way forward

Another possibility is to weaken Pakistan and ensure that they are further broken into 4 parts Sindh, West Punjab, North Frontier, and Balochistan.

The way forward is an India-US joint alliance to fight terror – they have the military equipment & technology and we have the numbers in terms of human resources/ best fighting Military Manpower.

Include Israel with their brains into the grand alliance for the fight against terror, and it will work wonders worldwide.

Pakistan sponsored Taliban terror is a deadly ruthless combination and as we have seen in the past across. They are raising their ugly heads in India again and it will be a difficult task for our armed forces to counter without collateral damage.

Prevention could have been better than cure if acted positively earlier. But in politics, it is never too late.

Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

References:

[1] When Modi meets Trump where do US-India relations stand? Jun 23, 2017, Brookings.edu

[2] When Modi meets Trump: What to expect –  Jun 24, 2017, Brookings.edu

[3] No Indian boots on the ground in Afghanistan, says defence ministerSep 26, 2017, Dawn.com

[4] ‘We will deal…’: Army chief on India, China soldiers’ fight in Ladakh, SikkimMay 14, 2020, HindustanTimes.com

[5] Afghan Taliban decloared Jihad against India after Eid-ul-fitrMay 17, 2020, DailyTimes.com.pk

Natraj Shetty

6 COMMENTS

  1. India has rarely ever adopted the policy of ‘boots on the ground’. Especially where Afghanistan is concerned. Who are these ‘reliable sources’?

    India has always been a popular country among the people of Afghanistan. It’s soft power and developmental assistance to Afghanistan has gotten enormous goodwill among the Afghan people. That can never be jeopardized. A difference must be made between the people of a nation and it’s current political group in power.
    Secondly, India’s diplomacy has always leant toward non combatant roles. Better to stay that way. Better dividends in the long run.
    Thirdly, the Taliban is hardly a reliable ally. Look what they did to the US when even though they were a foster child of the US birthed in their covert actions in Afghanistan. They returned the favour with 9/11. The US can sup with them, we needn’t.
    Fourthly, haters will hate. There is no rationality to the hate. Especially the brand of hate and hostility of the likes of the Taliban and the ISI. We cannot base foreign policy on the fear of this hate. Better deal with our fear and deal with them without compromising.

  2. India has always been a popular country among the people of Afghanistan. It’s soft power and developmental assistance to Afghanistan has gotten enormous goodwill among the Afghan people. That can never be jeopardized. A difference must be made between the people of a nation and it’s current political group in power.
    Secondly, India’s diplomacy has always leant toward non combatant roles. Better to stay that way. Better dividends in the long run.
    Thirdly, the Taliban is hardly a reliable ally. Look what they did to the US when even though they were a foster child of the US birthed in their covert actions in Afghanistan. They returned the favour with 9/11. The US can sup with them, we needn’t.
    Fourthly, haters will hate. There is no rationality to the hate. Especially the brand of hate and hostility of the likes of the Taliban and the ISI. We cannot base foreign policy on the fear of this hate. Better deal with our fear and deal with them without compromising.

  3. Indies Gandhi gave the Indian army the right go to liberate Bangladesh and quelled the Khalistani push by the operation Blue Star. Modi and Ajit Doval together should win the confidence of Kashmiris to eliminate all intruding Pak. Terrorists and mercenaries creeping in through the LoC. Tell the entire Kashmir would become an hotbed of massacre of all Muslim civilians if they provide safe haven to intruding terrorists. Win the confidence and full support of Kashmiris besides isolating and eliminating lead hard core Antinational Kashmir separatists ASAP.

  4. India must never , ever send troops into Afghanistan .

    It will be suicidal .

    Once US pulls out of AfPak , we must fund the Northern Alliance and let them kill each other .

    We must also fund insurgencies in Balochistan and KPK .

    If someday , GOI decides to send troops into Afghanistan , army should revolt.

  5. Non-Alignment is a very good policy. Every position has advantages and disadvantages. This is the right time to say emphatically and make the world understand “India is peace loving true friend of every nation and is not at all interested to get in to the politics and affairs of any other country for any gain, whatsoever.”

    Jai Hind

  6. The United States of America is an unreliable ally.

    Actually the only ting that can be relied upon, is that it will betray it’s ally, for a few dollars.

    Does the author want our troops t act as cannon fodder?

    Another Paki army?

    Modi was right to refuse to do so.

    US cannotbhelp us.

    This war we have to fight on or own.”

    Get used to the idea.

    Also one does not note the learned author volunteering to put himself to go fight jihadis in kasmir valley?

    Talk is easy.

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