Would peace between India and Pakistan help stabilise Afghanistan?

August 4, 2008

File photo of Indian soldiers behind pictures of victims of Kabul embassy bombingAs far as a strategy for Afghanistan is concerned, it’s a long shot. Bring peace to India and Pakistan and not only will that stabilise Pakistan but it will also ease tensions in Afghanistan. Indeed it’s such a long shot that it has not been considered as a serious policy option. That was until last month’s bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul. 

A spate of allegations that Pakistan’s powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI),  was involved in the bombing has forced India-Pakistan rivalry back onto centre-stage. This is not just about India and Pakistan, or so the argument goes. Their rivalry is undermining U.S. efforts to defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban since the ISI is maintaining links with Islamist militants to counter Indian influence in the region. And Pakistan’s denial of involvement in the embassy attack has done little to quell the speculation.

File photo of Wagah border crossing between India and PakistanIn The Atlantic.com, Robert Kaplan argues that the war in Afghanistan is part of Pakistan’s larger struggle with India. “Afghanistan has been a prize that Pakistan and India have fought over directly and indirectly for decades,” he writes. ”To Pakistan, Afghanistan represents a strategic rear base that would (along with the Islamic nations of ex-Soviet Central Asia) offer a united front against Hindu-dominated India and block its rival’s access to energy-rich regions. Conversely, for India, a friendly Afghanistan would pressure Pakistan on its western border-just as India itself pressures Pakistan on its eastern border-thus dealing Pakistan a strategic defeat.”

His argument is that the ISI will never rest easy as long as it fears that Pakistan is threatened by a hostile Afghanistan on one side and a hostile India on the other.  “Unless we address what’s angering the ISI, we won’t be able to stabilize Afghanistan or capture al-Qaeda leaders inside its borders,” he says.

File photo of U.S. solider on patrol in AfghanistanIn the Globe and Mail Saeed Shah writes that the ISI was supposed to have severed ties with Islamist militants and the Taliban after 9/11. ”Only it didn’t. The links were loosened, but they remain, for the simple reason these militants are viewed as vital pawns in a bigger game: Keeping Afghanistan unsettled to limit the United States’s – and by extension arch-rival India’s -influence in the region,” he writes. “This is a military doctrine about national survival, not an ideology of religious fanaticism. Civilians are not welcome to meddle with it,” he says.

To understand where these writers are coming from, it’s important to remember that the Pakistan Army — and by extension the ISI — sees itself as the ultimate guarantor of Pakistani survival. And although it has stepped into the background from time to time to allow civilian governments into power, it will never allow Pakistan to become as vulnerable again as it was in 1971 when what were then West and East Pakistan were torn apart with the creation of Bangladesh.

“ISI’s primary duty is defending Pakistan,” writes Eric Margolis in another article which tries to explain the behaviour of the ISI.

The arguments are contentious, not least because Pakistan has repeatedly denied using militant groups as pawns against its much bigger neighbour.  India too is extremely touchy about the subject of Afghanistan, arguing that as a regional power it has a legitimate role there that does not deserve to be dragged down to the level of India-Pakistan rivalry. It has also spent years accusing the ISI of fomenting violence, from the Punjab insurgency in the 1980s to the Kashmir revolt in the 1990s, to Afghanistan in the 21st century — charges rebuffed by Pakistan — until the issue has become both impossibly murky and highly emotive.

But just suppose for a moment the arguments were correct.  Then would renewed efforts towards peace between India and Pakistan help stabilise Afghanistan? And conversely, what would be the price of their fragile peace process disintegrating?



You should hvae the better policy on your economical growth not on islam.
I think apart from Americans large number muslims in the world are suffered due to their own governments policy.
Before BAngladesh the pakistani army had killed over 30 lakhs bangali muslims in 1970 this is large……………………..

Posted by sandeep kumar | Report as abusive

Pkistan is a country whose history is just 61 years ancient.
Indias history is 9000 years old.
In southasia before islam it was hinduism and budhism that was existed and the the harappa and mohenjodaro culture and indus cuvilisation is nothing but the hindu civilization.In our Mahabharata all ancient epire has been described that belong to afghanistan and pakistan.
Thats why we are crrying the 9000 years of trdition an civilization. Pakistanis have already lost their culture by adopting arabic culture (the land of islam)

Posted by sandeep kumar | Report as abusive

Actually it is the Pakistani eshtblishment which creates false histroies far away from yhe truth.
Thats why most of the pakistanis cannot link themselves with Indians.
They simly know we Are muslims and they are hindus
They dont know original facts .They know only islam.
and noyhing else.
Is pakistan a arabic copuntry no!
Is pakistan a central asia country obhiously no.
then which civilisation it belongs to.
Of courese not Chinese.
YES It is Sindhu civilisation which often called it by arabians by hindu civilisation.
Because their pronounciation of s sounds like h.

Posted by sandeep kumar | Report as abusive

All the muslims in Pakistan , BAngaldesh And India were converted from hinduism and budhism.Our religion may be different bur culture and civilisation should be same.
But pakistanis cant distinguish between what is culture,what is civilisation and what is religion.
Thats why they have alredy finished their trditional or classical dancess ,they are also not hesitating to destroy their own histrorical hindu and budhist monuments also.They not in state that they are the part of this civilisation
Even pakistani intelectuals also dont agree with this facts

Posted by sandeep kumar | Report as abusive

A punjabi cant be a sindhi.A sindhi cant be a pashtun.A pasthun cant be a kashmiri.A kashmiri cant be a bengali.
This is culture.This is Civilization.
These are only apart of civilization.
Like wise In India there are gujuratis,bengalis,punjabis,jaths,gujjar s,oriyas,asammese,tamils,kannads,malays, telugus,kashmiris,marwaris,marathis etc.Like pakistan is a multi lingual and multi cultural country ,India use to be.Then where is place of religion.If apunjabi sikh cant live with a punjabi muslim on the name of islam then how a punjabi muslim will live with a baloch muslim whose culture and thinkig is different.

No No we can live together on the name of islam.
So why bengalis hesitated to live with west pakistanis????????
BECAUSE it was the strong east pakistan s monopoly to do whatever they want to destroy bengali culture and language not accepting their popular leaderas their prime minister.
What a bengali PrimeMinister will rule punjabis,sindhis.
NO way.
Supress them with iron hands kil them bloody bengalis.
This is the mentality of pakistan army what I mentioned.
Like wise the balochs are also being killed every day by these pakistani army(very cruel who killed almost 30 lakhs bengali muslims within one year)

Posted by sandeep kumar | Report as abusive

I urge as an Indian to Balochs, Afghans,Kashmiris and pashtuns not to be fooled by these pakistanis whose only instrument is islam, that is being continuously used to exploit your beliefs ,sentiments against India always.

Posted by sandeep kumar | Report as abusive

Although this blog has become over-run by Revanchist Indians and Irredentist Afghans: The message from the 170 million Pakistanis and the Pakistani state as one solid edifice have spoken: “Pakistan first and last, Always.”

We will continue our wars of survival against both east (India) and west (Afghanistan). We can not and we most certainly shall not let a couple of historical has-been nations like Afghanistan and India to challenge in any way whatsoever the Pakistani state.

If the neighbours of Pakistan came to accept the reality of the Pakistani nation, The problems of South Asia would be solved overnight.

Long Live Pakistan!

Posted by Dr Idris Shah Ebrahimi | Report as abusive

Now that World came to know that Pakistan is the hideouts for the Terrorists which destalize not only Afghanistan but all the World and we fully support the US interfrence and bombing inside Pakistan lets see Free-terrorists World one day.

Posted by Tameem | Report as abusive

Look at all of you;

continue to stand divided?

You contnue to be conquered by a global economy that wishes you to be “divided”.

Pakistanis and Indians, one culture, one language, one history which to an extent is shared with Afghanistan.

1991 – US went to war with Iraq to re”order” the oil resource.
2000 – US went to war in the face of an emerging EU, India, China and Russia to safeguard it’s strategic economic interests.

While you guys continue to squabble and fight – your resources a source of economic superioirty will be sold off in peanuts to the other hemisphere.

Guys grow up!! see politics for what it really is.
The media diverts you form the real struggle nations are facing a struggle for the energy resource.

Posted by Divided you stand | Report as abusive

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