Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Keeping India out of Afghanistan

November 23, 2009


Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is in the United States for the first official state visit by any foreign leader since President Barack Obama took office this year. While the atmospherics are right, and the two leaders probably won’t be looking as stilted as Obama and China’s President Hu Jintao appeared to be during Obama’s trip last week (for the Indians are rarely short on conversation), there is a sense of unease.

And much of it has to do with AFPAK - the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan which is very nearly at the top of Obama’s foreign policy agenda and one that some fear may eventually consume the rest of his presidency. America’s ally Pakistan worries about India’s expanding assistance and links to Afghanistan, seeing it as part of a strategy to encircle it from the rear.  Ordinarily, Pakistani noises wouldn’t bother India as much, but for signs that the Obama administration has begun to adopt those concerns as its own in its desperate search for a solution, as Fareed Zakaria writes in Newsweek.

And that is producing a “perverse view” of the region, he says adding it was a bit strange that India was being criticised for its influence in Afghanistan. India is the hegemon in South Asia, with a GDP 100 times that of Afghanistan and it was only natural that as Afghanistan opened itself up following the ouster of the Taliban in 2001, its cuisine, movies and money would flow into the country. The whole criticism about India,  Zakaria says, is a little bit like saying the United States has had growing influence  in Mexico over the last few decades and should be penalised for it.USA/

But what about Pakistan’s concerns, a country that was dismembered in the last full-scale war with India in 1971 with the creation of Bangladesh. The last thing it would want is a hostile regime in Afghanistan on its western flank on top of the Indian army, the world’s third largest, massed on the eastern front, not to mention the Islamist militants whom it once nurtured turning on  the State itself.

Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani told the U.S. National Security Adviser General Jim Jones earlier his month that Indian presence in Kabul would hurt the war objectives.

And what about the Afghans themselves ? The India-Pakistan rivalry is probably a sideshow in the broader battle between a resurgent Taliban and the foreign forces, but perhaps one they can do without.

[Photographs of Afghan children and Indian and U.S. flags at the White House]


There is no comparison between Mexico-US and Afghanistan-India. US and Mexico share a long common border; Afghanistan and India have no border. Millions of Mexicans live and work in US; hardly any Afghams live in India. US and Mexico are tied by NAFTA; there is no such treaty between Afghanistan and India. US influence in Mexico is limited, and is not directed at any third country; Indian influence in Afghanistan is overbearing (with 17 counsulates in a country of barely 12 million people!), and is directed against Pakistan.

Zakaria is right in that India is the hegemon in South Asia, and that is the historic cause of conflict in South Asia. Once India learns to confine itself to its own borders, the better the chances are of a peaceful South Asia.

Posted by Sharafat | Report as abusive

Afghans favour India’s role in reconstruction, says study

A Gallup poll said that 56% preferred India’s role in the reconstruction of the country, while 51% preferred the UN, 44% Nato, 30% Pakistan and 42% Iran. cleshow/5256271.cms

Posted by Ramin | Report as abusive

Pakistan’s obessesion with india is getting out of hand. it seems that anytime an issue comes up,the pakistani government starts pointing the finger at india. Look,the pakistani people do not have a problem with india. infact we want peace with them and not just peace but a full flourshing and friendly relationship. alot of us still have family and relatives living in india. we share cultural, religious, and historical bonds with india. let’s keep in mind that, if it wasn’t for the brits, we would all still be one united country. pakistani government needs to stop obsessing over india, focus on wiping out the taliban and the other extremist and get in the mix of progressing their country.

Posted by hassan | Report as abusive

Every step of the way, the Obama Administration has miscalculated on its relationship with India. India had become a strategic partner with the US under the clinton and Bush administrations. Obama has placed a second rate interest in the relationship. The state dinner was primarly to placate the Indians for what otherwise appeared as turning their back on India. It is a symbolic and important gesture, but actions speak louder than words.


Pakistan has legitimate security concerns when it comes to India. Fareed Zakaria is doing a disservice to his adopted country America, as well as to his country of birth, India. I don’t know how ‘natural’ is Indian culture, food, money and movies to Afghanistan? India has no cultural, religious or ethnic ties with the Afghans, never has, and never will. The only reason for Indian presence in Afghanistan is to create another pressure point on Pakistan’s western border. India might be the hegemon in south Asia but with great power comes great responsibility. And in case of Indian hegemonic desires to dominate the area, none of its neighbors are happy with its attitude towards them.

Sadly, independence does not suit Indian psyche very much as Indians don’t seem to know how to appreciate it. On one hand it complains that Pakistan and India should not be treated at par but at the same time it stoops down to Pakistan’s level when it comes to brinkmanship and saber rattling on the international and domestic stage. If India wants to be a respected power house of south asia, it must learn to act like one, treat its neighbors with respect before it wants to be respected, show with its actions that it has no ill intention towards its neighbors before it blames them of interfering in its internal affairs, accept the facts that are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, before asking them to accept its existence as the leader of south asia.

Indian presence in Afghanistan is a determent to lasting security and peace there. This presence has a expiration date though, the moment NATO (read U.S.) forces leave Afghanistan, India will be quick to follow suit as as well as it has no other purpose to stay in Afghanistan than to intimidate Pakistan’s western border. It has neither the stomach nor the resources to sustain its presence there on its own.



As for Pakistan’s obsession with India, all you have to do is steer to the Reuters Pakistan blog ( and see how many Indians are there commenting on Pakistan than there are Pakistanis (or Indians for that matter) on the Indian blog. You’ll find out who is overly obsessed with whom ;)


How about letting the Afghans decide what they want ? Pakistan cannot expect to dominate Afghanistan via extremist militants.

Posted by Jack | Report as abusive

I am really happy that India is helping Afghanistan out.Afghan citizens visit hospitals,use roads constructed by India.Everyday over a million afghan childen eat high protein biscuits supplied by India.Hunndreds of afghan students come to india on scholarships issued by the government.I think the best way to move forward is to ignore Pakistan.They might try to stop us by ways they are best know for all over the world(i.e terrorism).They tried to blow up the indian embassy twice but failed ,although many people were killed.Also i think the Indian Army with all its experience in combating terror must train its afghan counterparts.

Posted by Anshu | Report as abusive

Dear author,
Let my views a very correct,informative views on this topic.
From college days and up to this minute, compare to others, proudly say that, I am well versed from this subject.
1. India have never interfered ,or intervened or poked other border nations and to other world nations for any war stricken, war created events for their consolidation,control and to show their supremacy to this world.
2. We do not want to import and export terrorism, troubles to any neighboring countries under whatsoever by military actions, threat from withing or from initiating other troubled nations and for enjoying their untold,horrific scenes under any ways.
3. We knew what happened to Afghanistan, why this ever long problems for some bodies interests.
4. First Ex-Soviet Union had entered to Afghanistan, overthrown the existing rulers and established their own set of rulers for establishing their socialist rulers for counter to American influences to Asian countries.
5.Afterwards,as per many reliable works, reliable writers those who have worked with American intelligent agencies, retired from their services books shown clearly what happened to next.We knew the past events.
6.Now,what happened, because of these two super powers direct as well as indirect involvement of Afghanistan!s day today interference had created a new terrorist group that is Taliban and other terrorist organizations for world laugh,peoples suffering, refugees cross, refugees legal and secret migration to other countries.
Due to these mistakes in larger extents, then went out of control are still a serious issues to world bodies and to real,genuine championship for real freedom,progress to a
7.Now, there is no pointing of talking pasts.
7.Now, peace and prosperity and coexistent is need of the hour.
8.As per my knowledge with clear perception is to stop and stop mudslinging with each other for permanent peace to Afghanistan.
8.That has to be perfect for immediate peace.This is the need of the hour.
10.This applies to entire world bodies for real economic,social and political patronage.
11. India is facing with other burning issues on local conflicts, regional imbalances, vast gap between the poor ant the rich, economic imbalances, social conflicts, day to day problems with this huge country, huge population, ethnic, language problems, and with natural disasters all of a sudden time, economic stimulus for further increases of standard of living, better medical care are main agendas for running the country.
12.The above well detailed writings will be suffix to end to this subject for better picture and viewing.
13. India wants to be friend with all other nations.
14. India will cooperate ,share with all other nations without surrendering their united stand with full determinations and by non violent and with new scientific thoughts from time to time.
15. These good thoughts will be done with India!s clean,simple, Prime Ministers images.


A Gallup poll said that 56% preferred India’s role in the reconstruction of the country, while 51% preferred the UN, 44% Nato, 30% Pakistan and 42% Iran. cleshow/5256271.cms

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive

Afghans favour India’s role in reconstruction, says study

A Gallup poll said that 56% preferred India’s role in the reconstruction of the country, while 51% preferred the UN, 44% Nato, 30% Pakistan and 42% Iran. cleshow/5256271.cms

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive

Pakistan’s interest in Afghanistan:-
1.Obviously,the latter’s mineral and other wealth.
2.Strategic Depth in case of a conflict with India.
China is the hegemon in S.Asia and is using North Korea,as a proxy,to take its Mao Era role,of vituperative and virulent attacks on the USA and other Capitalists.
BTW,China has surrounded India from all sides,and that includes,India’s underbelly,in the South,with the recent,friendly relations with Sri Lanka too.


Pakistan’s objection was expected as they want Afghanistan to remain poor and breeding ground for militants with no hope or future. They don’t want a country to do business in their backward only because they “think” there’s a threat.

Actually Pakistan’s whole dream of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan against India has turned into their worst nightmare of encirclement by India. They know its tough for them to continue their proxy war against India.

Pakistan wants “strategic depth” in Afghanistan and India wants education and infrastructure with the aim of giving people of Afghanistan a future they can cherish. And both History and future shows its Pakistan and not India which was/is a threat to entire world due to its policies.

Posted by Aj | Report as abusive

I find Pakistan’s stand on India – Afghanistan almost paranoid. I certainly haven’t heard any Afghans complaining. Has anyone heard any objections from India about Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan?

When you compare the roles these two countries are playing in Afghanistan the contradictions are stark. One is purportedly playing an offensive role of fighting terror while the other is helping in development work. Why can’t the two roles co-exist?

Is Afghanistan a sovereign country or a satellite state of Pakistan? As an Afghan I would be insulted to be dictated to by Pakistan, or any other country, about whom my country should befriend or otherwise.

If Pakistan is so uptight and frightened by India’s presence in Afghanistan, why doesn’t it better the work India is doing in that country? That would be beneficial to Afghanistan as well. Maybe the Afghans then will be so happy that they will ask India to stop all assistance.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

Whether India should be directly involved in Afghanistan or not, New Delhi and Washington must explore ways to share intelligence, develop contact between local and federal law enforcement agencies on the nature of the terrorist threat, C. Christine Fair, a professor in security studies at Georgetown University writes in the Wall Street Journal.
“It is now obvious, despite Islamabad’s efforts to pursue the Pakistan Taliban and the sanctuaries it provides to al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban that the Pakistan government is part of the problem of itnernational terrorism,” Fair writes in what seems to be unusually strong language.
Here’s the link for the rest of her article 052748704779704574552581090014784.html

Posted by Sanjeev Miglani | Report as abusive

Hi, I think it is high time for India, Pakistan, Afganistan to co-operate each other.
Be practical .
Situation has been changed .
We are leaving in 21st century . Its time to see our people who are suffering for Food, Home, education.Dispute can’t give this type of things. So i request all the people and specially the Politician , please lookafter the people’s problem and don’t create the problem.

Posted by Vinod M Agarwal | Report as abusive

i agree with mr. krishnamurthi’s view. india alredy has enough on its plate with problems such as poverty, a rapidly growing population and the socio economic imbalances between the rich and poor to quote a few that mr. krishnamurthi mentioned. the pakistanis have similar problems, more pressing in their case since their economy isnt doing as well as the indians. further conflict is the last thing either country needs. and the situation in afghanistan is a problem for all its neighbours, since the terrorist threat does not target any one country in particular. attacks have taken place in both countries alike. further animosity does not benefit anyone.

both countries’ governments should realize this and try to work together in harmony, promoting bi-lateral trade, commerce and industrial relations which will benefit both nations. considering that both countries have nuclear weapons, only a fool would consider waging war with the other. the policy that both nations should adopt is one of live and let live. only then can both truly prosper. having cordial relations will help cut down the billions each country spends on its defence expenditure each year, money which could then be utilized where its needed more, such as for poverty allieviation, infrastructure development, provision of better healthcare, education, clean drinking water, social security and for helping bridge the divide between rich and poor.

as for the long standing issue of kashmir, having known kashmiris in the uk, i can say that what the kashmiris want most is independance. they dont prefer to go with either country. so let them have their independance. if the underlying issue with the control of kashmir is control of the water sources (that both countries seem to covet), then that too can be resolved. by having an indepandant multinational body such as the UN decide how much water each should get and allocated accordingly.

further conflict does not benefit anyone. instead of looking to expand influence, both governments should try to improve their countries’ internal situation first.

Posted by saad rafiq | Report as abusive


Pakistan has very limited objective in Afghanistan, it has nothing to do with the development and growth, which are incidentally alien to Pakistanis : drugs and terrorism. They are afraid of good work we are doing. We are building roads, setting up hospitals, schools etc.

Musafir :
Though I don’t think that it will be proper on my part to educate you, I am not aware of your nationality , but I must mention here that Hindus or muslims of this sub continent, we share same past and history . India and Afghanistan share long history , presence of gurudwaras, Lord Budha statues in Bamiyans are the proof of such relation ship. Not long ago , Afghans used to travel to India to sell “Hing” , and other products of Afghanistan.

Posted by Manish | Report as abusive

india, pakistan, shrilanka,nepal,bhutan,bangladesh and afghanistan have a continuity in their culture akin to the european union. It is the time these countries start thinking big and stop fearing from each other. in the modern era no conutry can conquer other country how so ever small the other country may be. Economics is the key to growth and freedom and all of us must unite like european union and create an asian power.

Posted by harish manchanda | Report as abusive


India does have a border with afghanistan but currently that border is occupied by pakistan.

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive

I vividly remember, a few yrs ago a Palestinian leader on his visit to Delhi commenting on Indias periodic generous aid to his nation. India helps needy nations in asia as well as in Africa. Its aid to Afghan is not any different. US or Pak, objections from others have little effect in its mindset, after all Afghan is Indias neighborhood not a far off land. If afghans want to be vassals of another nation like Pak, its their choice. See a short list of sample of aids given below.
• $218 million in economic aid to Nepal (summer 2006). This is in addition to previous loan waivers for military supplies.
• $500 million to West African nations.
• $110 million in long-term loans to finance Indian exports to Africa. Offered through the Exim Bank, these loans funded the sale of 500 buses by Tata Motors to Senegal.
• $40 million to Angola, for a railway project managed by RITES, Indian Railway’s consultancy division.
• ……………The foreign aid program is called Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme, or ITEC, and was established in 1964.
• ITEC covers 156 countries, together with the Special Commonwealth African Assistance Programme (SCAAP).
• Both programs are run by the Economic Division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
• The MEA also runs the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, which provides assistance and programs to improve cultural ties, for instance through student and teacher exchange programs.
• The ITEC’s official aid budget is roughly Rs. 500 million, annually, and over $2 billion has been disbursed since its inception
• ……For instance, India’s oil exploration company ONGC invested $6 billion for railroads in Nigeria (2005). ONGC has also acquired oil assets in Sudan worth more than $750 million


If you think Pakistan has nothing to be paranoid about then just see an example of the Indian intentions by reading what Aj has said, and I quote “Actually Pakistan’s whole dream of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan against India has turned into their worst nightmare of encirclement by India”. India wants to encircle Pakistan as Pakistan is the only neighbor of India that has stood up to its hegemonic desires and intentions. Pakistan does not want to be a subject of India. What it wants is to be left alone and for India to respect it as a neighbor and not a subject.

There is no cultural relationship between the Afghans and Hindus. If Budha statues in Bamyan are any clue then Afghans have a closer relationship with the people of Tibet or even Sri Lanka where the majority of Budhists live, not India. Also if that is the standard then next you will say that Indians share a common culture with Arabs as there are so many mosques in India.

Afghans are famous traders and gypsies, they cross borders all the time and in the past went all the way up to China for trade, and they passed through India while selling their ‘Hing’ and dry fruits on the way as well. That does not mean that they share a common religion or traits or culture. It was the business of trade not much more.

If India is such a benevolent and friendly and progressive country then it should build good relationships with its immediate neighbors first and then go to a country like Afghanistan with which it does not even share a border. None of India’s neighbors which share borders with it is happy with India. Why is that so? Can you explain?


India has no cultural, religious or ethnic ties with the Afghans, never has, and never will.

Never will…? You cannot judge and/or dictate how the future will be between India and Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has a population of people called the Hazaras (excuse the spelling). Did these people not originate from the Chinese and Mongolians during Gengis Khan’s regime? So there, as far as China and Mongolia has cultural, religious and ethnic ties with Afghanistan.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive


It is not so relevant here about India’s relationship with its neighbours , the question here is India-Afghanistan relationships. India is a secular country , and muslim population in India is far in excess of the total pulation of Pakistan. Secondly, I am writing here as an Indian, and not muslims or hindu. One thing is certain, Indian muslims or even Afghans have not authorised Pakistanis to speak on their behalf .

Pakistanis world over are today known as terrorists and Pakistan is hub of terrorist activities world over. It will be quite interesting to know as to who has authorised Pakistanis alone to declare jehad against rest of the world.

Posted by Manish | Report as abusive


“f you think Pakistan has nothing to be paranoid about then just see an example of the Indian intentions by reading what Aj has said, and I quote “Actually Pakistan’s whole dream of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan against India has turned into their worst nightmare of encirclement by India”.

Well firstly, I appreciate that you agree with me on the point that Pakistan is paranoid about India-Afghanistan relations.

Please read the Aj statement that you quote here again. He doesn’t say that India would like to encircle Pakistan. What he is implying, if I read it right, is that Pakistan’s problem is that its plans to use Afghanistan for ‘strategic depth’ will fail because of Indian befriending Afghanistan and it is scared that it may end up as India encircling Pakistan. I don’t think he is implying that India wants to or plans to encircle Pakistan. As another Indian, I don’t see why India should even want to. I think you are reading too much into it.

I would however appreciate it if you would respond to my comment on Pakistan’s objection to India providing humanitarian and developmental assistance in Afghanistan. What right does Pakistan have in demanding that Indian involvement be curtailed? Is either India or Afghanistan a subject of Pakistan? Aren’t they all three sovereign nations free to decide their own relationships with other countries? As I said, if Pakistan is so afraid of the consequences of Indian work in Afghanistan, the best way out is to outdo India in assistance and let Afghanistan decide who should and should not offer them assistance.

Suppose for arguments sake that India is out to harm Pakistan through Afghanistan. How would that be any different from Pakistan trying to use Afghanistan to provide it strategic depth against India? Why is it ok for Pakistan to work in Afghanistan against Indian interests but wrong for India to do the same as regards Pakistani interests there? They are either both right or both wrong. It cant be selective.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive


If you want India out of Afghanistan, then China should be out of Afghanistan AND Pakistan.

Please don’t hurl more Islamic double standards at us. Indians are not Militant terrorists.

If our goodwill and benevolence towards Afghans irks you, too bad, we are not leaving, deal with it. If our goodwill and free works for the Afghans makes them not like us more than you, too bad, we are going to continue our friendship with them whether you like it or not.

You Pakistani’s are free to compete with us in Afghanistan on a level, legal playing field and build for the Afghans as we are for them. May the best donator of goodwill win! We welcome you to build highways, schools, mosques and other things for Afghans, but all you give them is Taliban.

Unless you Pakistani’s have evidence we are doing something illegal there, Hamid Karzai and his government welcome us and so do the Afghan people. Karzai and Afgans want Pakistan to stay out!

As Pakistani’s dwell on conspiracy stories, all born from Pak Army propaganda, the rest of the world is moving, so let Afghanistan progress, quit meddling.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

@Pak Friends, from Indians,

You people are extremely paranoid. We do not want to harm you, nor do we wish you harm, but we ask you to use your rational senses, use your own mind and think before you speak and always tell the truth, please refrain from accepting conspiracy stories as truths. They are lies intended to polarize you into supporting the Pak Army’s own political agenda.

We wish Pakistani’s only progress, happiness and security, we do not want Pakistani’s to suffer. That is the truth.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

I watch pak telly channels regularly and this Q of loc of 17 consulates were posted to many of their rable rousers including Hamid Gul. None of them have till date mentioned where the 17 cities with these consulates are, only about 4-5 were named.
I had mentioned in an earlier post -not pasted obviously- that a Independent pashtoonkwa (Land of the pathans) and Baluchistan will be in favour of trade with India. And this will see the resurgence of Indian goods and services into C.Asia/E.Europe. It is obvious there is a strong Industrial-Military lobby in the WEST that is strongly aginst this possible development.
The trade between India and these region predates Islam i.e. Its over a 1000 yrs old. NUKES will not stop the trade from re-emerging. See the map in the link below

TAXILA was the oldest university in the world

Check the historical ties between Kandahar and India. All the regions of PAK have a strong tie to India, surprisingly PUNJAB has the strongest tie. They speak Punjabi in Punjab however they use urdu as the script because the script of Punjabi is Gurumukhi, the SIKH religions script. Sikhs from Afghanistan were continously persecuted under Taliban, right now the famous Asian strip of SOUTHALL in london is populated by these Afghan sikh refugees. And we all know PA is dominated by Punjabis, there seems to be a desperation to erase all past links. Which leads us to believe that PA will obviously not stop with the resolution of Kashmir in their favour.

As Rafiq Zakaria mentions the rewards of gaining India as a longterm ally is invaluable for USA and EU longterm interests. General McChrystal now and Anthony Zinni in the past have been promoting the narrow interest of the Industrial-Military lobby, i think as days go by USA will realise where their interests lay in a 21st Century.

Posted by uday kumar | Report as abusive

This issue has been discussed repeatedly. The only deciding factor on this what the Afghans want. The answer is a dfinite yes. India has cultural, historical links with Afghanistan.

If anyone remotely wants peace in the region, they should firmy reject Pakistan’s imperialistic mindset and treatment of afghanistan as its colony. The people of Afghanistan deserve to be free and soverign people, who can choose what they want to do like any other country.


None of India’s neighbors which share borders with it is happy with India. Why is that so

The answer to that is People are not allowed to have a Government ” Of the people for the people by the people”.This is not just to counter your post but the reality is China,Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal,Afghanistan all have had various forms of intercourses except having one vote for every citizen. For sustained development accountability is with elected representatives & due to divergent view points & multicultural ethnicities we all belong language, color of skin, educational background,occupations we get disenchanted quickly.When you have democratic government you take sting out from extreme provocative positions where authority is wielded by one single guy or a committee.Imagine Pakistan in a democracy from 1980,you would not have had the afghan issue at all.Your foreign policy would not have tilted pro US & demand for economic upliftment would have been higher.Despite corruption etc political leaders from muncipality to state assemby to federal MPs play a role sensing people need & policies are drawn reflecting that position.

Posted by vijay | Report as abusive

Pakistan has one & ONLY one role for Afghanistan: A de-facto colony which provides strategic depth against India.

The Pakistanis were given a free hand by the world & was allowed to spread it’s tentacles over Afghanistan via the Taliban & we all paid (& are still paying) a heavy price for it. Pakistan would love to get back to controlling Afghanistan again & in order to achieve this objective, it wants to keep the Afghan people radicalized, illiterate & impoverished. The Generals in Rawalpindi can’t seem to swallow the fact that the Afghans are taking the help of their bitter enemies, the Indians, in bettering themselves & their country. After all, these Afghans were supposed to provide ‘strategic depth’ & fight the same Indians. It’s hard for the Pakistanis to comprehend that the Indians are building schools, roads & hospitals in Afghanistan just because they themselves never did any of those & hence the nonsensical propaganda & conspiracy theories about ’17 Indian consulates in Afghanistan’ & ‘encircling Pakistan’ etc.

The Afghans have every right to be friends with & take help from anyone they chose to. Pakistanis like Mussafir may find it hard to believe but religion doesn’t have to be the basis for friendship between 2 countries. I’m amazed at the audacity & temerity of Pakistanis to make noise about India’s influence in Afghanistan, given it’s own track record in Afghanistan & the damage it has done to the region & to the world.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

The problem lies in the perspective. Pakistan has become used to looking at everything from the view point of war. Every little move has to do with conflict, strategy, game plan. I do not blame them. Their self governance and foreign relationship have been controlled by their military. So they have become used to that perspective.

Constructive activities in another country do not make much sense to them. From Pakistani stand point, they deal with India only as an enemy. So irrespective of what the “enemy” does, it will always be perceived as actions against Pakistan.

Some Pakistani’s claim here that Afghanistan has absolutely nothing in common with India and therefore India is disqualified in dealing with them. But they fail to see that same logic applying in their own case. Their culture also has absolutely nothing in common with that of China, US, Sri Lanka and UK. Yet they have cordial relationships with these countries and participate in many activities with them. If India were to use the Pakistani perspective, then it would be complaining about Pakistan’s activities with these countries and their involvement inside Pakistan.

We know very well that China has many projects going on inside Pakistan. They are working on their Gawadar port in Balochistan. They are building rail road across Azad Kashmir. They have even given them 25 kton nuclear bomb making fuel and technology. Shouldn’t India be the one objecting to China’s activities inside Pakistan?

India definitely is engaged in constructive activities inside Afghanistan. They are not meant to alienating Pakistan. Pakistan has to accept regimes in other countries as they are. They have no right to tell that all regimes inside Afghanistan have to be pro-Pakistan at all times. Countries can have differences. But these differences do not translate into wars all the time. Mutual relationships and understanding between countries cannot be dictated or controlled by other nations.

India can definitely work on constructive activities inside Pakistan too. Will the Pakistanis be willing to take it? If India was indeed engaged in a wicked scheme against Pakistan through its consulates in Afghanistan, how do the Pakistanis think the logistics is being run? How will India ship arms and ammunition over both Pakistan and China into Afghanistan, hide it from the eyes of the Americans and their allies and sneak them into the Indian consulates? There is clear record of the road built by India all the way up to the Iranian border. There is no record of any of India’s evil activities as claimed by Pakistanis. If that were true, by now it would have been exposed by the Western media.

Pakistanis are demanding too much. They want India out of Afghanistan. They want India out of Kashmir. They want India out of this planet. They have become used to blaming India for literally everything. They need to look at what their country has done to itself.


@Zakaria is right in that India is the hegemon in South Asia, and that is the historic cause of conflict in South Asia.
- Posted by Sharafat

–Not so fast, buddy. That is not what Fareed Zakarai meant. Click the link below to see what he says.

See Fareed Zakaria’s take on South Asia in context of Afghanistan at GPS. v/2009/11/22/

He clearly empahsizes the role of stable Indian democracies India-US in political stability of Af-Pak since he says that small dysfunctional states like Pakistan do not create stability.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive


Could you please list the locations of the 17 consulates? I can’t seem to find them all.


While there’s definitely some truth to your assertion that India is seeking an advantage in Afghanistan vis-a-vis Pakistan, that’s not the whole story. It’s flawed to suggest that India has absolutely no interests in Afghanistan.

India is an emerging economic power with growing ties to Central Asia, a region which counts Afghanistan as a gateway. If this excuse works for the Chinese presence in Afghanistan, then surely it applies to India as well.

The other big reason is their own security. As long as Afghanistan breeds terrorists that find their way into India (into Kashmir for example), India will have an abiding interest in ensuring a stable Afghanistan and one with which it has strong ties. The hijacking of IA814 and the cooperation of the Taliban with the hijackers certainly demonstrated the security perils of not having relations with the government in Afghanistan.

None of this means that India’s interests are or have to be diametrically opposed to Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan. They are a sovereign country and should be allowed to maintain relations with India and Pakistan. To suggest that Pakistan alone should be the arbiter of who deals with Afghanistan is a rather parochial and imperialistic notion, that I suspect would not go down too well with the Afghans.

As for the cultural ties, like it or not they have them. Those ties arise from the colonial era when Pakistan was part of British India. The Afghans then, dealt with Delhi. And although the bulk of those ties passed on to Pakistan as the successor state, you’d be hard pressed to argue that Afghanistan did not maintain any relationship with India in the post-colonial era. Certainly, most Afghans I’ve talked to don’t see it that way.

Finally, I don’t think you quite understand what a regional power is. Regional powers have interests with countries in the region, not just their immediate neighbours. You’re right that India-Afghanistan is not quite like US-Mexico. It’s actually more like the US and the Carribean or Latin America. That’s a much more accurate description. And nobody would honestly suggest that the US has no interests in either of those regions.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

To Mussafir—”As for Pakistan’s obsession with India, all you have to do is steer to the Reuters Pakistan blog ( and see how many Indians are there commenting on Pakistan than there are Pakistanis (or Indians for that matter) on the Indian blog. You’ll find out who is overly obsessed with who.”

Maybe it’s more to do with education than obsession. Think about it. It’s safe to assume that there are many, many more Indians who can read and write English than Pakistanis. (Unless you have statistics to prove otherwise?) Also, more Indians own and have access to computers than Pakistanis. Naturally, these English-reading Indians read blogs relating to India written in English, and then respond. If there were more Pakistanis who were able to do so, they would’ve. (It could well be that the same percentage of Pakistanis respond to blogs as Indians. But their numbers are miniscule comparatively.) You obviously are one of the Pakistanis who can read and write English. Good for you. I guess I can safely assume that you got out in time. Cheers.

Posted by NA | Report as abusive


I’ve met Christine Fair several times and I must say I’ve never found her views all that harsh or provocative. She is outspoken and well-spoken and from time to time that can perhaps give people the impression that she’s being tough on the Pakistanis.

I’d say her comments are pretty accurate. There is a growing realization among security experts in the West that Pakistan won’t give up terrorism as a state policy. The aftermath of Mumbai proved it. It’s also natural for the US and India to see common interests in countering Pakistan based terrorism. If it’s Pakistan’s nightmare to have the US and India co-operating, then it’s one of their own making. Allowing the LeT to operate so openly so soon after Mumbai, allowing Hafiz Saeed to give fiery sermons, and restarting the taps on infiltrations have ensured that virtually nobody elsewhere will trust Pakistan on its word with regards to terrorism. It’s not a harsh point for Christine to discuss. It’s simply the harsh reality of the consequences of the choices the Pakistanis have made.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive


Pakistani state or non-state actors, proxy armies, Taliban, Militants must be contained from both sides of Pakistani border.

This is to help Pakistan, since it is incapable,unwilling or cannot control its borders, this will effectively protect Pakistan as well, but also keep it honest. On the Kashmir side, the Indians should build a tall and long jihadi proof concrete wall, like in Israel, on the other side the world needs to brainstorm a combination of several options to seal border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, with Drones just being one of the options.

Lastly, a missile defence shield, one in India and one in Afghanistan. You said that Indian response time was slow, well that is not going to be quite the case in the near future, as Israeli defence co-operation is to yield a Shield system that detects rockets as soon as they begin to launch hundreds of miles away, greatly increasing the response time, just take note of that, this changes the situation in India’s favor greatly.

This would effectively contain Pakistani Armie’s itchy trigger finger, but Pakistani terrorists and Army cannot leave as easily either, without putting some more effort in. On top of all that India would agree not to cross the LOC or incur onto Pakistani territory at any time, unless they are officially at war.

This maybe the only thing to keep all Pakistani actors, honest, in their own box, and if they leave their box, there should be repercussions.

If we can’t stop the Paks from creating jihadis on INdia, the least we can do is stop them from entering Kashmir and stop the rest of the Actors from illegally crossing borders, including the Pak Army. Perhaps strict containment is one option to make the west and India safer.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

My dear Dara,
You are one of those Indians whose naivety and innocence makes me feel like giving you a hug and hiding you from the big, bad, evil evil world of international realpolitik. I don’t want to burst your ideological bubble, but if India’s intentions in Afghanistan were entirely honorable we would not have this huge problem of mistrust now would we? India is helping out I am sure, but only to an extent where it can vaguely legitimize its stay in Afghanistan. Here is what Christine Fair of RAND Corporation says about Indian consulates in Afghanistan: India has run operations from its missions in Mazar and is like doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the border. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Baluchistan”.

As for Pakistan not doing more to help out the Afghan people. Who do you think has been feeding, housing and nurturing the millions of men women and children in refugee camps all over the frontier province along Afghanistan? Thousands of these refugees now live in cities, thousands have businesses, thousands have immigrated to the West through Pakistan. Pakistan has paid dearly for their stay, but Pakistan has taken care of them and is still doing so. If India is so sincere in it’s help, it should help the Afghan government start to repatriate the refugees and settle them back in Afghanistan.

At one time there were almost 3 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, and not in internment camps but all Afghans were allowed to stay and leave as they wished. They were fed and clothed and their medical treatment taken care of. What more can a poor country like Pakistan do? Never in history any one country has taken in so many and cared for, for such a long time. How is that for doing something good for the Afghans?


You tried to drip with sarcasm, but it is you not Dara displaying naivety here.

You haven’t kept yourself up to date on Ms.Fair’s clarification:  ?261113

QUOTE- ‘Pakistanis Have Blown My Comments Out Of Proportion’ What I actually meant was something relatively innocuous that the Pakistanis picked up, took out of context and blew out of proportion, and that is that competent intelligence agencies cultivate assets. They have listening posts. They are there to gather information.
QUOTE-I never said there was active support for terrorism, that was something that the Pakistanis attributed to me.

Posted by Raj | Report as abusive

Mr. Musaffir: “As for Pakistan not doing more to help out the Afghan people. Who do you think has been feeding, housing and nurturing the millions of men women and children in refugee camps all over the frontier province along Afghanistan? Thousands of these refugees now live in cities, thousands have businesses, thousands have immigrated to the West through Pakistan. Pakistan has paid dearly for their stay, but Pakistan has taken care of them and is still doing so. If India is so sincere in it’s help, it should help the Afghan government start to repatriate the refugees and settle them back in Afghanistan.”

The problem is this. If Pakistan just took care of the refugees, waited for the dust to settle in Afghanistan and sent them home after that, it would be a praiseworthy deed. Pakistan got money from the US to help these refugees. And many of their youth were fed into the Madrasas that Zia Ul Haq’s regime opened up all across Pakistan, and were turned into Jihadi clones who knew nothing other than violence, killing, martyrdom, Jihad, Kafirs and the Koran. Successive Pakistani military rulers turned them into a sinister organization called Taliban and launched them into Afghanistan. The world saw how this ideal Islamic Caliphate worked. So long as the Taliban beheaded Afghans, mutilated Afghans, lashed Afghans it did not matter. Taliban was set up as a proxy regime in Afghanistan for Pakistani rulers. It had become a vassal state to provide “Strategic depth” against the assumed enemy “India.” Afghanistan was now peaceful and quite under a brutal and barbaric regime that tore down the Bamian Buddha statues, housed the Al Qaeda and many of the terrorist training camps overseen by Pakistani military and intelligence personnel. Chechchnya, Dagestan, Kashmir, Western China, Central Asia etc began to see an incredibly violent and well trained militia that emerged from Afghanistan’s training grounds. So long as all the terrorism was directed at others, Pakistanis lived in their “vibrant” society, ate Mughlai chicken and drank tea in Lahore, read poems and enjoyed life. So long as fellow Muslims faced the sword of the Taliban in Afghanistan, it did not matter to Pakistanis. So now the US is in Afghanistan, the Taliban is shoved on to Pakistan’s bed and suddenly what was happening outside of Pakistan is now happening inside Pakistan. Surprised! Now you and your countrymen are inventing excuses by blaming India, Israel, Dalai Lama, or anyone you can blame. That is all right with us. We can read everything well. We just want you people to look in the mirror and realize what you have done to your own country. India can build a hundred consulates inside Afghanistan. It won’t change anything inside Pakistan. Your country is burning because of what your country’s leaders have done and the support that your people provided for their acts. All we want to know is this – when are you going to accept the truth that Pakistan’s problems are its own making and do something about it. Everything else does not matter.



I am not in the habit of responding to incoherent ramblings by apologists for the likes of the Taliban and AQ on blogs such as this but after reading some of your ill informed comments, no doubt based on the deficient version of history you acquired through the warped educational system of the land of the pure, I feel compelled to try and educate you on significant sections of the history of South Asia you appear to have missed out on.

However, I do realise, having had the opportunity to skim through some of the history text books churned out by the school system in the land of the pure, that whole sections of Pakistani/Indian/Afghani history between the Mohenjodaro/Harappa period (which, despite being a ‘pagan’ culture, you claim as your own) and the Islamic conquest of Sindh may be completely alien to you, which leaves me slightly pessimistic of my chances of educating you on these events over the process of the next couple of hundred words.

Rather, I would like to respond to your assertion that India and Afghanistan do not share at least some common heritage and the Bamyan Buddhas were nothing but a mere aberration. Not that as someone of Indian origin I necessarily welcome such an association, but strong traditional links have existed between the two countries for millenia (and they were not just the odd Afghan peddling ‘Hing’ in India kind either)

For starters, I would like you to google the following-

Gautama Buddha- I am sure you must have heard the name before and have always wondered what the fuss was all about. Check out where the chap was born (the kingdom spanned a few current sovereign entities) and where he started the movement that subsequently made him famous

Next, google the following-

The Kushans
The Mauryas
King Ashoka
The Kambojas

There are plenty more if you care to do a bit of research but I think the above should suffice.

Finally, if you consider the internet to be a Jewish/Hindu/US conspiracy to pervert the good folk of Islam and do not believe a word you read online, I would suggest that you shave your beard off, get a fake non ‘land of the pure’ passport and make a beeline for the following countries- the US, the UK and France.

Once there, go and visit (beware, it may be considered heresy by your faith ) the following institutions-

The NY Metropolitan Museum of Art
The British Museum
The Louvre

Go to the South Asian History Sections and check out the exhibits from between 2nd century BC to 10-11th Century AD and read where most of the pieces on display (all relating to the Hindu and Buddhist faiths) come from.

If all else fails, a day at the museum should hopefully do the certainly did for me (unless you believe that all museums are part of a Western/Zionist/Hindu conspiracy of course)

Alternatively, you could shed your narrow focus on religion and stop defining national identity purely along religious lines for a second and concede that nations and people residing in them do have a pre islamic heritage and history, which would then spare you the trouble of undertaking all the above remedial measures.

I agree that certain sections of Pakistani society have deeper ties with the Afghani nation than, say, Indians (or other Pakistanis for that matter).But how much do you think a Kalasha living in Chitral have in common, culturally and religiously, with a Tajik or a Pashtun living in Kandahar or Mazar-e-Sharif? Or how much in common, religiously or linguistically, does a Sunni Pashtun living in Peshawar have with a Shia Hazara living in Bamiyan? Precisely..

With regards to India’s new found interest in Afghanistan, just as Pakistan desires a compliant regime in Kabul, India too wants a more moderate and friendly regime there, to prevent anti Indian/Western/civilised world/fundamentalist elements from receiving sanctuary in Afghanistan, as they did under the Taliban. As I have amply demonstrated above, Pakistan can claim no particular affinity to the Afghan people beyond the obvious religious and ethnic links to the Pasthun section of the population. The country is deeply despiced by many sections of Afghan society, who do not look forward to Afghanistan reverting back to being a de facto vassal state of Pakistan under the Taliban.

It is in both Pakistan’s and India’s interests to guarantee peace and stability in Afghanistan as the lack of it in the region would not benefit anyone involved.

Also, can someone please post a list of the 17 embassies that India is supposed to have in Afghanistan? I have scoured the net and have found no evidence (apart from blog rants by Jihadi nutcases) to support this conspiracy theory. Pakistanis need to realise that India has moved beyond the stage of baiting Pakistan for a national pastime and aspires to a bigger role on the global stage. Indians are currently focused on maintaining above 7% growth in GDP pa, which is required over a sustained period in order to reduce levels of absolute poverty in the country, and stability in the region, which includes Pakistan and Afghanistan, is absolutely vital in achieving this.


Posted by Sage | Report as abusive

@ Mussafir: “What it wants is to be left alone and for India to respect it as a neighbor and not a subject”

Has Pakistan left India alone & respected it as a neighbor over the last 25 yrs?
Do you want me to list all the neighborly & friendly activities conducted by Pakistan in India, over the last 25 yrs?

@”At one time there were almost 3 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, and not in internment camps but all Afghans were allowed to stay and leave as they wished”

It is well documented that the Afghans & even Pakistani Pashtuns have, to a great extent been discouraged & disallowed entry into Punjab & Sindh. That’s the reason why 95% of Afghan refugees live in NWFP (80%) & Balushistan (15%). And also, the stay is not indefinite as you suggest. All Afghan refugees have to leave Pakistan by the end of 2012.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive


“India wants to encircle Pakistan as Pakistan is the only neighbor of India that has stood up to its hegemonic desires and intentions”

Musaafir sahab those words which I quoted were not mine but quoted from an article in dawn news which said the whole nightmare scenario of Pakistan being encircled by India and the failure of Pakistan Army’s “strategic depth” plan against India. I never said it is India’s intention to encircle Pakistan. Afghanistan belongs to its people and if they have no objection if India is helping them rebuild their country why Pakistan has to object.

Posted by Aj | Report as abusive


“India wants to encircle Pakistan as Pakistan is the only neighbor of India that has stood up to its hegemonic desires and intentions”

Musaafir sahab those words which I quoted were not mine but quoted from an article in dawn news which said the whole nightmare scenario of Pakistan being encircled by India and the failure of Pakistan Army’s “strategic depth” plan against India. I never said it is India’s intention to encircle Pakistan. Afghanistan belongs to its people and if they have no objection if India is helping them rebuild their country why Pakistan has a problem. Has India ever objected to Pakistan’s presence in Nepal, Bangladesh and SriLanka? Pakistan objection only shows their narrow mentality and obsession with India.

Posted by Aj | Report as abusive


2nd time you have been misrepresenting Zakaria’s stance. He says India is a giant and is essential to peace of Afghanistan. he also says dysfunctional states like Pakistan cannot impart stability to someone.

Please double check before you post.
Go to google and use “GPS, South asia, zakaria”.

Posted by rahi | Report as abusive

A Pakistani columnist rightly said that “strategic depth” of Pakistan has become its “strategic death”

Posted by rahi | Report as abusive

Osama Bin Laden alive and well in Pakistan with new wife

According to a former member of the Pakistani Intelligence Service, Osama Bin Laden is in Pakistan, where he has been since the Tora Bora showdown.

The source said that Bin Laden has been an asset to the Pakistani government and has enabled Pakistan to get financial and military aid from the United States. my-and-Politics-Examiner~y2009m11d23-Osa ma-Bin-Laden-alive-and-well-in-Pakistan- with-new-wife

Posted by Johnny | Report as abusive

Pakistani officials: 5 army officers detained for links with Mumbai attack terrorists

Two Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking anonymously because they are not allowed to release their identity, said phone records showed the five Pakistani officers had contacted Headley and Rana.

They say the five include a retired brigadier general and two active lieutenant colonels, but did not provide more details. cle/ALeqM5iGVd-1YTntqd9GATyRcGeA10j6BgD9 C5T9100

Posted by soman | Report as abusive

I did not realize I will gain such a big fan base so quickly. I guess I will try to answer everyone’s questions as best and briefly I can as I am pressed for time and don’t have enough for bickering :)

I didn’t say I am dictating, I am merely making an educated guess. If in a couple of thousand years the Indians have come this close to Afghans then I don’t foresee this mutual attraction to get anywhere in the next couple of thousand years.

I don’t understand what the connection of Hazaras is with the Hindus, except they share the letter H.

Well, since we were talking about India’s relations with others, I naturally started from its immediate neighbors which are all tired of its hegemonic antics of bullying and interference in their internal affairs. Even Bangladesh, which was helped by India to come into existence is at loggerheads with India.

As for your name calling Pakistanis, I will not go there. Let’s keep this civilized, shall we?

@Dara my dear,
I tried to answer you, but there are others who would rather not let us have a civilized discourse. For that I am sincerely sad.

I can sense that you are a good person. I don’t know when the rest of the Indians elected you their spokesperson, but I hope they choose their politicians the same way. We are not cage fighters and this is not a contest of who can yell louder and at how many people with their jingoistic rant. And for your prayers for Pakistanis, I am sure you mean well, and when you say: “….so let Afghanistan progress, quit meddling.” and “We wish Pakistani’s only progress, happiness and security, we do not want Pakistani’s to suffer. That is the truth.” I believe you bro, and I say Amen to that.

Honestly I don’t know how to respond to you, however I will try to answer what I understood to be your observation that all the neighbors are backwards and are not democracies. That is the weakest excuse I have heard yet of why all your neighbors would be so cross with you.

@Shastri jee,
I never said India should not have bilateral ties with Afghanistan, my contention was when Fareed Zakaria says it is “natural” that India and Afghanistan should have stronger relations, implying that there are strong historic and cultural ties, that is what I have a problem with. As for the Afghan refugees and why they were not sent back, see my answer below.

The only reason I am even replying to you is because I don’t want your arrogant self to feel neglected. I must admit that you are absolutely right when you say there are more Indians who speak and write English, I also agree that there are more people in India who have access to computers and the internet. But you know why that is? It’s certainly not because of your superior education system or lack of madrassas, it’s only because there are so many of you. India is 10 times bigger than Pakistan. Even if only half of your population could read and write and 100% of Pakistanis could read and write and had access to computers and the internet you would still have 5 educated Indian geeks for every Pakistani fighting on this blog. And as for the rest of your rant, it just reeks of arrogance and a bloated ego. I could reply in kind, however, I don’t respond to name calling and insults.

That clarification from Ms Fair certainly does not mean that India is not actively seeking to cause mischief in Pakistan. That was my whole point. India is overtly distributing high protein biscuits to the local children but covertly doing a lot more.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I would not say you are being presumptuous, but I will say that you are assuming too much. How did you assume that I acquired my history lessons through “…the deficient version of history” at the “warped educational system of the land of the pure”? Maybe I went through an ‘enlightened’ research institute and studied the history of the subcontinent as part of my overall scholastic efforts, at the most prestigious university and that I hold a doctorate in international jurisprudence and my research paper is now a permanent part of the record at LOC? However, who cares what degree I hold as long as I can type on a keyboard and can access this blog through the internets right? Cheer up my friend, life is short, type fast. The Afghans don’t even share the same culture from one valley to the next, and yet everyone here and their babysitter is tripping over each others toes to label them as one with India. As for the rest of your research, I will need to go through it with my Google translation tools to convert it into the language I learned at the warped educational system to fully comprehend it.

That is why I say to my Indian friends, accept Pakistan as a reality, it’s been over 6 decades now. What is done is done. Move forward and progress together. You should be thankful that Pakistan is the buffer between India and the bad bad Taliban. You destabilize that buffer or somehow wish it to be gone, you will come face to face with the real bogyman.

Even if they had all left and crossed the border back into Afghanistan. I think it was a great sacrifice that Pakistanis made to have millions of refugees as their guests for two decades. There were planned to all be repatriated twice before as well. Hasn’t happened yet, and you know why? Because their present afghan government doesn’t want them back.

In the end, we are all here to understand each other and learn from each other. I must say that I have learned a lot from you guys, however I cannot and do not have time to respond to your posts individually, I will try to limit my observations to the contents of the original article from now on. I hope you understand.


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