Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.
Once you are done reading this op-ed, you will be able to attempt the below.
“Trump’s new Afghan strategy could be a game-changer for South Asia. There is an opportunity for India.”Critically analyse ?
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Not much
Mains level: India- Afghanistan relation-opportunities and challenges
- India has been quick to welcome President Donald Trump’s new assertive policy in Afghanistan
- But the question is whether Washington has the political will to carry through the promised pressure on Pakistan to stop hosting terror sanctuaries on its soil.
US policy- Realisations and cautions
- It is important for Delhi to note the shift in Washington’s thinking on the Indian role in Afghanistan.
- Bush Administration’s strategic warmth towards India was expansive.
- It wanted to help accelerate India’s rise and invested enormous political capital in getting the world to lift a four decades-old nuclear blockade against Delhi.
- It cautioned Delhi against too large a role in Afghanistan.
- According to Obama Administration, answer to Afghanistan might lie in promoting a resolution of Pakistan’s Kashmir dispute with India.
- It required intensive diplomacy from India to fend off these initiatives.
- Washington believed that India’s rivalry with Pakistan is part of the problem in Afghanistan.
- Trump might be betting that by invoking a larger Indian role in Afghanistan, he might add to the pressures on Pakistan to cooperate with the US.
Pakistan’s reaction and future possible actions
- Despite all the talk of playing the China card against the US, Pakistan is acutely conscious of the dangers of being treated as a rogue state by the West
- Rawalpindi has chosen to avoid, for now, a public argument with Washington.
- It will not be easy, however, for Pakistan to abandon its investments in cross-border terror.
- It would try and finesse the issue of terror sanctuaries. Rawalpindi will offer some cooperation in countering terror and make new promises to bring the Taliban to the table.
- It will urge US pressure on India to start talks on Kashmir.
India’s strategy towards Afghanistan-Way forward
- Delhi’s current emphasis must be on taking advantage of the Trump discontinuity in the American policy towards the Subcontinent.
- A positive Indian approach would involve three elements — economic, security and diplomatic.
- India must ramp up its economic diplomacy in Afghanistan to bring immediate benefits to Kabul amidst the deteriorating conditions in the country.
- Delhi must step up security cooperation with Afghanistan, especially in the training of its police and armed forces and intelligence sharing.
- On the diplomatic front, India must counter the emerging argument that Trump’s new approach will intensify the “Indo-Pak rivalry” in Afghanistan and the old one that Kashmir holds the key to peace in Afghanistan.
- Delhi must remind the world of India’s commitment to regional cooperation with Afghanistan and Pakistan, in an atmosphere free of terrorism