India and Pakistan: the missing piece in the Afghan jigsaw

November 26, 2009

One year ago, I asked whether then President-elect Barack Obama’s plans for Afghanistan still made sense after the Mumbai attacks torpedoed hopes of a regional settlement involving Pakistan and India. The argument, much touted during Obama’s election campaign, was that a peace deal with India would convince Pakistan to turn decisively on Islamist militants, thereby bolstering the United States flagging campaign in Afghanistan.

As I wrote at the time, it had always been an ambitious plan to convince India and Pakistan to put behind them 60 years of bitter struggle over Kashmir as part of a regional solution to many complex problems in Afghanistan.  Had the Mumbai attacks pushed it out of reach? And if so, what was the fall-back plan?

One year on, there is as yet still no sign of a fall-back plan for Afghanistan and the tense relationship between India and Pakistan remains the elusive piece of the jigsaw.

After some attempts at peace-making which culminated in a meeting between the leaders of India and Pakistan in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt in July, and despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s own determination to try to repair relations, the two countries have descended into mutual recrimination.

India accuses Pakistan of failing to take enough action against the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group it blames for Mumbai and which analysts believe is still in a position to launch fresh attacks, and refuses to reopen formal peace talks broken off after the three-day assault. Pakistan has put seven men on trial over the attacks but has refused to arrest the group’s founder Hafiz Saeed nor, analysts say, to dismantle the infrastructure of an organisation whose original role was to fight India in Kashmir. It says it wants to resume talks with India.

As a result of the deadlock, both countries remain bitter rivals for influence in Afghanistan; while Pakistan, fighting its own battle against Islamist militants who have turned against the state, is seen as reluctant to move more troops from its eastern border with India to press home a military campaign against the Pakistani Taliban in its tribal areas. India in turn remains vulnerable to another Mumbai-style attack which could trigger Indian retaliation against Pakistan, running a risk of escalation between the two nuclear-armed countries.

“Now India and Pakistan are both playing for broke. Pakistan says it will support a U.S. regional strategy that does not include India, while India is talking about a regional alliance with Iran and Russia that excludes Pakistan. Both positions — throwbacks to the 1990s, when neighboring states fuelled opposing sides in Afghanistan’s civil war — are non-starters as far as helping the U.S.-NATO alliance bring peace to Afghanistan,” writes Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid in the Washington Post.

“To avoid a regional debacle and the Taliban gaining even more ground, Obama needs to fulfil the commitment he made to Afghanistan in March: to send more troops — so that U.S.-NATO forces and the Afghan government can regain the military initiative — as well as civilian experts, and more funds for development. He must bring both India and Pakistan on board and help reduce their differences; a regional strategy is necessary for any U.S. strategy in Afghanistan to have a chance. The United States needs to persuade India to be more flexible toward Pakistan while convincing Pakistanis to match such flexibility in a step-by-step process that reduces terrorist groups operating from its soil so that the two archenemies can rebuild a modicum of trust. ”

Obama and the U.S. administration are being very careful to avoid being seen as trying to mediate between India and Pakistan — India is sensitive about outside interference, particularly over Kashmir, which it sees as a bilateral dispute.

But in reality, the United States has been involved in easing tensions in every recent crisis between the two countries – from the 1999 Kargil war when India and Pakistan fought a brief but intense conflict along the Line of Control dividing the disputed former kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir, to a military standoff in 2001/2002 when close to a million men were mobilised along the border after an attack on the Indian parliament. Following the attack on Mumbai, it was to the United States that India turned to to put pressure on Pakistan to crack down on the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Will Obama be able to find a way forward to ease tensions between India and Pakistan, in turn creating a firmer regional foundation to stabilise Afghanistan? Or more precisely, is there a method to his initiatives over the last few months involving not just India and Pakistan, but also China, that in the fullness of time will be seen to be part of an overall strategy to drive a regional bargain that will underpin his plans for Afghanistan?

As discussed in this analysis, the United States faced a difficult balancing act in its relations with India, Pakistan and China.  The financial crisis had made it more economically dependent on China, while its need for support in Afghanistan made it more militarily dependent on Pakistan.

India, which was defeated in a border war with China in 1962, has always been suspicious of Beijing’s role as one of Pakistan’s closest allies. And since Obama’s election it also became wary of what it feared was a U.S. tilt towards China which might undermine burgeoning U.S.-India ties which flourished under his predecessor George W. Bush.

The United States has tried tonavigate its way through these competing rivalries by promising aid and support to Pakistan, while also inviting Indian prime minister Singh to make the first state visit of his presidency. During a visit by Obama to China, the two countries promised to work together to promote peace in South Asia. Analysts variously interpreted the pledge as unwarranted interference between India and Pakistan, a detail in a lengthy statement about U.S.-Chinese relations, and a sign that China might encourage Pakistan to crack down on Islamist militants in ways that would also reassure India. (As yet, the jury is still out on which interpretation is correct.)

When Obama unveils his latest plans for Afghanistan next week, we might get some clues as to whether he has used the long delay in announcing his strategy to build regional support for a grand bargain on Afghanistan.  Failing that, we might get an answer to the question I asked a year ago. What is the fall-back plan?

(Photos: The Taj hotel during the Mumbai attacks, the Dal lake in Kashmir; artillery at Drass on the Line of Control; the Obamas ahead of the state dinner for Prime Minister Singh)

Comments

The supposed US dependence on China is over rated. Because China is dependent on US. As this author says,the US and China have put themselves on an economic path of mutually assured destruction.http://articles.moneycentral .msn.com/Investing/SuperModels/mad-world -chinas-bind-is-ours-too.aspxFrom an Indian perspective, the fundamental problem in your thesis is you make it sound like India should do or could do something so that it would alleviate pakistani hostility towards India. We know better.your speculation China may ask pakistan to dismantle terrorist apparatus is way too utopian.This author has summarized Chinese startegy on India better:http://shadow.foreignpolicy.com/p osts/2009/11/18/obamas_asia_trip_a_serie s_of_unfortunate_eventsQUOTE-First, Beijing has supported Pakistan’s nuclear and conventional military programs. Second, China wants an acknowledged sphere of influence in South Asia. And third, Beijing wants to resurrect the so called “hyphenated” approach to India. It thus needs the United States to again think of India as part of an India-Pakistan problem, rather than as an emerging great power.END QUOTEI would add China’s support to Pakistan’s terrorist programs in the first sentence above. Even banning JuD post-Mumbai apparently China had to be persuaded to go along with other powers.

 

We Indians have not understood why Pakistan has been pampered so much by the Western powers. Unlike Iraq, Pakistan is not sitting on top of an ocean of oil. It is a poor, third world nation that never focused on being a responsible country and build institutions that would support national growth. India has been advised to go easy, be flexible, be diplomatic and take all the abuses from the Pakistani side, including 20 years of state sponsored terrorism. India has lost thousands of victims to Pakistan based militants. Yet the Western powers have tried to remain non-committal to the Indian needs. We do not understand what kind of equation they were trying to balance by allowing Pakistan to develop nuclear weapons and sell the technology to rogue nations.Indians are losing faith in this diplomatic game. We know that the Western powers cannot be completely trusted. Today they shake hands. Tomorrow they can leave their third world allies bleeding to their deaths.So long as Pakistan is allowed to keep its nuclear assets, it is not going to listen to anyone. This wrong sense of security coming from the possession of nukes has encouraged them to engage in irresponsible activities. If any progress has to be made in this region and if Afghanistan has to be returned to normalcy, it is only possible by removing the nukes from Pakistan forcibly. It is threat to everyone, including the Pakistanis.With increased troops a likely possibility in Afghanistan, the Taliban is going to get desperate and it might try to unleash more terror inside Pakistan, thereby weakening its security. In that scenario, the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups might shift the war into Pakistan. They might try to take over the country and make it hard for the Western powers to act decisively. And it will bring the dange of the nukes going into their hands.I know Pakistanis on this forum will refute this. But two years ago they would have denied that their military would ever be engaged in a war with the Taliban. And they would have refused to believe the degree of suicide bombs and terrorist attacks inside their own country.Mumbai attack was a big mistake by LeT and its Pakistani sponsors. It has made things worse for Pakistan. In the past international sympathy was not much for Indians suffering from Pakistan based terrorist attacks. But Mumbai changed the perspective. And India’s restraint has made things worse for the Pakistani strategists who probably expected a retaliation from India so that they could charge at the Indian military, unite all the different factions and divert the war on terror away from Pakistan’s vicinity.India’s mature response has weakened Pakistan more. That is why it would be prudent for Pakistan to wipe out all forms of terrorism from their country. Just paying lip service to buy time and pretending to fight terrorism will make them pay dearly.Here is my heart felt sympathy for all those who lost their dear ones at the hands of the mindless monsters a year ago.

 

@Myra,The missing piece is not enough pressure on Pakistan to destroy its proxy armies.You can’t have an incoherent Pakistan, that is not good enough for Indians, where on one hand, Pakistan wants to claim it is try to talk peace with Indians and wants to move forward on bilateral issues, and on the other hand, State Agencies, or non-state actors, still given open sermons on Destroying and dismembering India. At the same time these groups keep fomenting and plan further attacks on India, as Dr. Manhoman Singh gets actual intelligence of these attacks on a daily basis, as well as the 60 odd Militant Jihadi’s, trained by the Pak Army and ISI amd those militants who cross the LOC to do terrorism in India.I am sorry, Myra, that is unacceptable to any sensible, thinking, rational person with a univeral sense of right or wrong. Terrorism is unacceptable in any form against anybody. Indian leaders cannot bow to terrorists, otherwise Indian anger will erupt and it will be uncontrollable and serious consequences against communal stability in India.Pakistan must be forced to deliver with the threat of losing something, that threat must come from the U.S.With every new Mumbai on India, Indian union grows stronger, but its restraint may weaken. The missing piece here is the pakistani army itself, everything starts and ends with them.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive
 

It’s amusing to read such US-centric views of the region. I guess a “great power” will always try and see things from its own point of view. It’s up to emerging powers like India to assert themselves and let the US understand that there are other viewpoints.It’s really not that important that the US capture or kill bin Laden, however heretical that may sound. It’s far more important to stabilise the region and lay the foundations for economic cooperation and growth. It’s tragic that policies affecting the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people are being pursued for, at its heart, reasons of ego. The US believes it will lose face massively by walking away without being able to declare victory. That’s the only reason why the terms of its engagement in South Asia are being framed the way they are.If Obama is half the statesman he seems to be, he will recognise this and look for a real long-term solution for South Asia, a solution that will benefit the US itself manifold in the long run. This is not an anti-militant play. It’s a play for lasting peace, stability and growth.What this means is that the US doesn’t really need Pakistan as much as conventional thinking there may suggest, because it’s not about militarily hemming in the bad guys and destroying them. This is a constructive endeavour, not a destructive one, and so the US needs India, not just to stabilise and develop Afghanistan but also to build bridges to Iran and Russia that are key stakeholders in the region.[My view on Iran: We should no longer be guided by the impressions we may have formed of Iran thanks to the lunatic fanaticism of Ayatollah Khomeini and his current heirs. Iran is an extremely civilised country that has suffered a dark period lasting a generation. Those watching events in Iran during the last election and immediately thereafter cannot help but be impressed by the radically more modern generation that has come of age in that country. They are Internet-savvy to an impressive degree and have widespread English-language skills as well. Their international isolation is unnaturally imposed by their current government. Ahmedinijad and Khamenei will be history within 5 years. The real Iran is its next government, which will come from the far more moderate and civilised populace that the world caught a glimpse of this year. India can help convince the US that Iran is not the Great Satan by boldly engaging with that country.]The US should have the courage to pull out of Pakistan and turn to India to help stabilise Afghanistan and the wider region. Once the focus shifts from punishing the attackers of 9/11 to this far more constructive enterprise, the problem becomes much more tractable. If India is given a more prominent and legitimate role in Afghanistan (not only through the invitation of the Afghan government and the welcome of its people but through US support), India may also be willing to supply troops and relieve Western countries of some of the burden of peacekeeping in that country. I believe Afghanistan can be quickly pacified once the focus shifts from punishing the 9/11 attackers to building up the country. Swatting militants should be purely incidental to building up the country.India has staying power in Afghanistan because the country is vital to its security interests. The US must play a supporting role. Iran and Russia will almost certainly support India because it is in neither country’s interests to have a Pakistan-backed Taliban regime in power. This will also be to the liking of the Afghan people (economic development, and no Taliban).What about Pakistan? Well, they’ve been wanting the US to leave their country, and they will get their wish. They will get no more US aid, though. The US gets to keep its money. It doesn’t have to keep spending on ungrateful “allies” who dislike them but want their money without strings attached. I doubt if China will move in to plug the funding gap. When they see how isolated Pakistan is, they may well hesitate to throw their money into a black hole.But what about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons?Shastri said:> If any progress has to be made in this region and if Afghanistan has to be returned to normalcy, it is only possible by removing the nukes from Pakistan forcibly. It is threat to everyone, including the Pakistanis.I agree that Pakistan’s nukes pose great danger not only to India but also to Pakistan itself, but attempting to remove them forcibly is very risky. A carrot-and-stick economic policy would probably work better. The embargo against Libya forced that country to renounce nuclear weapons. Pakistan currently suffers zero percent economic growth and is very vulnerable to economic pressure. It is only when the US realises that Pakistan isn’t that precious that they will turn to this option.In short, that’s my formula for peace in South Asia. It isn’t dependent on the whims of a country known for blackmail. And it’s not necessarily a punishment for Pakistan because their prosperity and international rehabilitation are entirely in their own hands. When they’re left alone to fend for themselves and very obviously isolated, they may acquire the wisdom to engage with the civilised world in a civilised way.Regards,Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive
 

Myra,In your analysis, you seem to have forgotten the most vital aspect of troubled Indo-Pak relationshipand its effect on the region including Pakistan , which has nothing to do with regional balance or vying for power in Afghanistan : the present generation of Pakistanis are taught in schools or in madarasa or by mullahs that this whole land of the sub continent was ruled by their forefathers and some hindu “Infidels” conspired with British to throw them out. In an atmosphere where superiority complex among Pakistanis are so high , there can never be peace or tranquility in this region. Secondly, the biggest problem with Pakistan and Pakistanis are that they consider themselves as self-appointed protector of islam and muslims in the whole world. Pakistani hands are visible in almost all the terror attacks through out the world.It is the time that international community led by UN should intervene in Pakistan by taking over the possession of nuclear arsenals , and secondly dismantle Pak Army who is responsible for all the terrorist training , as well maintaining all the terror infrastructure.

Posted by Manish | Report as abusive
 

First of all, any intelligent and knowledgable person will find faults in “The argument, much touted during Obama’s election campaign, was that a peace deal with India would convince Pakistan to turn decisively on Islamist militants, thereby bolstering the United States flagging campaign in Afghanistan” for three reasons:1. Any civilized and freedom loving country would be self convinced to turn against Islamic militants which harm innocent people of ANY country. Using terrorism as a state policy is wrong whenther done by USA or Pakistan.Pakistan should have turned against Taliban without any conditions or else every freedom loving citizen of earth should call them hypocrites.2. Any dispute between India and Pakistan has been consistent only from one side, the Pakistani side. The Indians would rather go on in the status quo situation, if it is peaceful for a few more centuries at the same time growing and partying inside India.3. Kashmir has been used by Pakistan, USA and China as an issue to contain all aspects of India. Now USA and India have grown closer in geo-political and strategic sense but what about China? Will China let there be peace between India and Pakistan. Raising the issue of Kashmir earns a salary for Pakistan from China. Obama is naive and dangerous.

Posted by Elephone_to_party | Report as abusive
 

“As I wrote at the time, it had always been an ambitious plan to convince India and Pakistan to put behind them 60 years of bitter struggle over Kashmir as part of a regional solution to many complex problems in Afghanistan. Had the Mumbai attacks pushed it out of reach? And if so, what was the fall-back plan?”Well I think I a year later, I am optimistic about Indo-Pak recriminations cooling down a bit. I think a beginning is being made.Firstly, Chidambaram, who was widely quoted elsewhere on this blog for having escalated fears of war yesterday clearly stated that war is not a consideration. Having just commented there about it I will refrain from repeating myself here.http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/chid ambaram_on_handling_pakistan_post-2611.p hpSince analysts here claimed that it was his statement – even though he is the Home Minister and not in charge of either defence or foreign affairs – that spooked the Pakistan think tank, maybe they will now find some satisfaction and see some light at the end of the tunnel.Secondly, at last the trial in Pakistan has made initial progress even though it is early days yet. The decision to charge the seven accused is grounds for optimism. Later events will either justify this or pour cold water on it.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

All the talk ans solutions mentioned are impossible to attain.The day the indians realise that it is not Pakistan who is responsible for india’s troubles,all the regions troubles will be solved.My advice to indians is STOP THINKING about AKHAND Bharat at once,it will never happen.Pakistans Atomic Weapons are here to stay for ever.Day dreaming will get you no where.Do not under estimate people of Pakistan.Our Scientist are far superior than indians.Remember we do BANG not flop,admitted by your own people.

Posted by Sardar Khan | Report as abusive
 

As to US plans and strategy, in my opinion, there seems to be a shift coming. The war in Afghanistan started with the aim of getting Osama and toppling the Taliban. Then caught in a quagmire, gradually confusion set in as to what the real aim there was.Recently I heard Hillary Clinton saying that though its very well to talk of bringing democracy and stability to Afghanistan it needed to be reiterated that the US went in there with one aim only – US security. Maybe this will be the theme in Obama’s new Afghan strategy. However, I also think that US security will be determined more by homeland security and there the US has done a good job. To bring down threat levels of attacks being initiated or planned from Afghnistan or Pakistan, that is downright impossible to predict or achieve other than reduce the percentage. That too has been done.The real issue though is that Afghanistan cannot be left just yet. There is a moral responsibility to restore a greater degree of security and some form of credible governance in that country. To that extent I think Hillary Clinton is looking more at an exit strategy than an overall Afghan strategy. In the bargain the US will be planting the seeds of another potential threat in the future. To a large extent what Obama unfolds will also show whether the US has learnt post 1989.Perhaps the new strategy will lay emphasis on improving conditions there; a surge is imperative, concentrate on making the country a little more self reliant in looking after its own security and law order and lay down yardsticks. Also involve the Afghans more in what effects their lives and their country. Train them to train themselves.Personally I think the UN must be involved far more in developmental work there. Perhaps one reason why the country went downhill so fast was because the US wanted to call the shots and retain decision making powers over all activity. These should be delegated to the UN – even with all its faults – it is far more experienced in development works.As for Plan B, considering that Plan A was so difficult to arrive at, if it has been finalised at all, I think Plan B be covered just one word – optimism!

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

India has moved past the post-colonial era into an era where they want to be a respected world power. Threatening Pakistan at every turn does not fit into that.Mumbai showed that India is able to maturely react to terrorism. Unlike after Indira Gandhi’s assasination, there were not race/religious riots. All religions united.The allies against the forces of terror must unite if we want to win this war.http://neoavatara.com/blog/?p=8958

 

This is the day, WE INDIANS have been waiting for last 20 years. OUR day has arrived. ISI and militants had given India enough reason in the past 20 years to invade and clean the terrorist training camps. But we restrained and reasoned that USA will comeback one day to clean mess. Why should India spend it’s limited resources to drain THE SWAMP. India’s restrain and wisdom was remarkable.USA can do the same job more professionally and and with little LOVE. And ISI/army will feel the pain but can’t cry loudly.So friends, lets celebrate. OUR day has arrived. Obama has sanctioned another 35000 soldiers to drain THE SWAMP. WE, THE INDIANS should cheer the BRAVE US/NATO soldiers.We have been waiting for this day for last 20 years with remarkable restraint and vision.

Posted by SOman | Report as abusive
 

Indians Indians Indians… always playing the propaganda game. BBC once told India to get over the obsession of Pakistan. All neighboring countries of India feel terrorized by India except Pakistan of course. Agreed that militants are not normal people and the army is doing it’s job and has made them homeless. The weapons Talibans get from Afghanistan are Indian weapons, so who is sponsoring terrorism? The day we mine our border with Afghanistan, the Afghans will realize that India is not their friend, they were helping them against Pakistan. Our nukes scare the hell out of you, and our more sophisticated missile technology really is the edge we have on India. If it wasn’t your threat to attack, we would have not built an Army, Air force and Navy. You keep threatening us instead of minding your own business. If you would have done that, you have been more prosperous but the fact that you want to gain prosperity and destroy Pakistan in the process makes the West wonder who you guys really are. So no one can really trust you guys. We have our own problems to handle and you should worry about your own problems.

Posted by Imran | Report as abusive
 

Myra, let me add to my original statement, the biggest missing piece in the puzzle, is a “Movement of the Willing” in Pakistan against hatred, blame and terrorism.”All the talk ans solutions mentioned are impossible to attain.The day the indians realise that it is not Pakistan who is responsible for india’s troubles,all the regions troubles will be solved.My advice to indians is STOP THINKING about AKHAND Bharat at once,it will never happen.Pakistans Atomic Weapons are here to stay for ever.Day dreaming will get you no where.Do not under estimate people of Pakistan.Our Scientist are far superior than indians.Remember we do BANG not flop,admitted by your own people.- Posted by Sardar Khan “–>Here you have it, another Pakistani hurling bravado blame, touting nuclear status and superiority, the missing link is Pakistani’s who are willing to think outside of the box as responsible, rational, conciliatory, anti-terrorist thinking, moderate, non-conspiracy thinking types in Pakistan.Mr. Khan, we are not going to destroy your precious military owned colony or the military’s nukes, but we do want you to be responsible and rid your country of madrassa born terrorism and join the modern world in rationality, reason and critical thinking. Please divorce your self from conspiracies, it is doing you no good, while the Taliban ravage and rape your country.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive
 

@During a visit by Obama to China, the two countries promised to work together to promote peace in South Asia. Analysts variously interpreted the pledge as unwarranted interference between India and Pakistan, a detail in a lengthy statement about U.S.-Chinese relations, and a sign that China might encourage Pakistan to crack down on Islamist militants in ways that would also reassure India.”-MyraMyra: Obama declines to meet Noble peace prize winner Dalai Lama so that he doe snot offend Chinese but he cares less about offending India knowingvery well that India rejects outside interference and asking China to intervene is foolishness of the highest order. Never knew he is that dependent upon China. This is such a BS that China will convince Pakistan to take care of anti-India Islamic militants. Obama needs to know that Indians did not borrow trillion dollars from China or US so they do not give damn to either._________________________________ _________________@To a large extent what Obama unfolds will also show whether the US has learnt post 1989.-DaraDara: We know that already that US has not learnt. US made startegic blunders after 9/11; they since they started Iraq war rather than focusing on Afghanistan. Used unreliable cheap locals allowed Taliban to regroup. So the question is what does Obama do? He has no room to play. This might be his last move.while US has taken defensive measures and no terror attack happned. Their strategic blunders in Afghnaistan has not reduced the PROBABILITY of attacks in the west but in this region, the whole mess has given REAL problems to people–innocents dying every day. India next door has become vulnerable to the attacks, connsidering how much Mullah Omar “loves” India and how much he inspires Islamic terrorist groups.After US-exit, Pakistan can make peace with the terrorists/talibans but the soft target is India. will there be a US exit from Afghanistan in near future? I seriously doubt US will leave in next 5yrs (near zero) and US will likely stay around for our life time. If it has not happend in Iraq, forget Afghanistan.____________________________ ______________________Imran:Dude, have cool sharbat after the needless tough talk.There is nothing to obsess about Pakistan; rather it is just an abscess. India is healthy and proseperous without it.@If it wasn’t your threat to attack, we would have not built an Army, Air force and Navy.”–A lie that sounds cute.___________________________________ __

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Imran, you write: “Indians Indians Indians… always playing the propaganda game. …” and so on.I just want to know how many Pakistanis share similar views today. Because that is going to determine the future course your country is going to take. It everything is a problem from outsiders, and if Pakistan is all innocent as you believe, you will never realize the ticking bomb you are sitting on top of. When it explodes, you might still believe that it was planted by someone else.Things are going from bad to worse for Pakistan and it might reach exponential increase. Just the past one year has seen an increased intensity of unprecedented violence inside Pakistan. Indian weapons are available in black market. When the CIA ran the anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan, it made sure that all the ammunition were Russian made. For this, it courted Egypt and other countries that imported weapons and ammunition from Russia. Until the Stinger missiles were delivered, all weapons used against the Russians were Russian made. So finding Indian ammunition and weapons does not mean anything. You people are self destructing with warped mindset and beliefs. Your entire establishment does not seem much different. You must be more worried about your nukes than we do. We can take care of ourselves. I can only feel sorry for you.

 

STOP THINKING about AKHAND Bharat at once,it will never happen.- Posted by Sardar KhanDear Sardar,I don’t know what is AKHAND Bharat, but I do wish and pray for AKHAND(United) Pakistan. That’s all I can do! If ISI is determined to shoot their own foot or burn their own fingers, hardly anybody can save!!! Hope one day, Pakistanis will get some wisdom and vision and save Pakistan from the menace of mullahs, militants and ISI!!!We INDIANs take no pleasure in seeing Pakistanis in misery or dying in droves. But your ISI had invited and nurtured the monsters in your backyard for some strategic advantage! And the monster is out of control now! Hope you will soon get out of this strategic advantage ambition and gain some strategic vision for your own good!

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive
 

The missing piece in the Afghan jigsaw & in the relations between India & Pakistan is Pakistan’s unwillingness to take any concrete action against India specific terrorism emanating from it’s soil. In the past, India’s approach was “lets talk to Pakistan, build relations & they will reciprocate by dismantling the terror infrastructure, directed towards us”. Pakistan did reciprocate. But with Kargil, Parliament attack & Mumbai 2008 (not to mention, many more terror attacks all over India). So now, when the Indians say “take action first & we’ll talk later”, are they wrong?Today, one year has passed since the Mumbai attacks. What action has Pakistan taken against the people and/or groups responsible for Mumbai attacks or for any other terror attacks in India, for that matter?Sure, there has been some renaming of old groups, some arrests & subsequent releases, some superficial indictments etc but no concrete action, whatsoever. In spite of being provided a mountain of credible evidence (accepted by the international community), Pakistan keeps dragging it’s feet & saying that there’s not enough evidence to try the mass-murderers of Mumbai as per their ‘judicial system’. And this is a country where ordinary people hire judges instead of lawyers to get ‘justice’. This is a country where the most powerful & revered civilian leader (ZA Bhutto) is hanged just because the military establishment wants to. Please give us a break!So, if the international community wants peace between India & Pakistan, it would have to discipline & straighten out Pakistan & pressurize it to fight & eliminate ALL terrorism from it’s soil instead of being selective about it, which is it’s current policy.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

Mumbai attack was a big mistake by LeT and its Pakistani sponsors-posted by Shastri====Please consider the above is perhaps a slight misreading of Mumbai.The primary goal of Pakistan army was to target economic capital of India in the desperate hopes to disrupt Indian economy. The secondary goal was to provoke India to do something like troop mobilization in 2002 post parliament attack. This would have been repeat of the same strategy that has failed several times to seek “international mediation” with India to achieve imaginary “strategic goals”.Pakistanis roaming the platforms using AK-47 rifles to mow down unarmed civilians at Mumbai train station went well. Provocation was enough, operation was successful.What was not anticipated? None of the Laskhkar Pakistanis was supposed to be caught alive. One getting caught and spilling the beans about his village, lashkar training routine, etc unraveled the whole operation. The rough comparison would be the entire space shuttle of NASA worth several hundred million dollars burning down because of small problems with the insulation.The whole operational strategy, execution were innovative, but also had the downside of potentially one of them getting caught alive which the Pakistan army didn’t plan well. If the sole Pakistani Kasab had not been caught alive, the spin would have been Indian muslims did it or “non-state actors in the region” may have done it and so on. That’s the thinking behind them carrying fake Indian college IDs, saffron arm bands to suggest “Hindu zionists” and so on.This man who only had a lathi (wooden stick) and did not have bullet proof vest caught hold of Pakistani Kasab’s rifle and took the bullets into his intestines.http://www.facebook.com/pages  /Tukaram-Omble/39993460035Pakistani terrorism under nuclear umbrella is new to humanity. But then counter-strategies do evolve.

 

Sindh follows Balochistan for freedom!With no freedom to chose within Pakistan, people of Sindh will chose freedom: Iqbal TareenWith no freedom to choose within Pakistan, people of Sindh will likely choose their freedom without Pakistan.http://www.pakistanchristianpos t.com/headlinenewsd.php?hnewsid=1531

Posted by Ramin | Report as abusive
 

If it wasn’t your threat to attack, we would have not built an Army, Air force and Navy.- Posted by Imran1947:Are you forgetting history? It was Pakistan army which invaded Kashmir in tribal uniforms in 1947 (barely months after birth). It was between a plundering raping marauding Pak army and innocent, unarmed Kashmiri villagers. Indian army was in Delhi that time and was hesitant to save Kashmiris until the Kashmir King begged for help and signed the accession agreement.1971:It was Pak army that killed 3 mil Bangladeshis, raped 30K women. Indian army didn’t intervene till India was flooded India with 3-10 mil refugees.2009:Today also, Pak army is the reason for separation of Balochistan and Sindh and Army is the only thread holding the country together. Otherwise Balochis and Sindhis have no love for Pakistan.So, you do need the army, but you need to control the army and NOT let the army control you. You need to control the wild ambitions of your army if you want to avoid the repetition of 1947 0r 1971.

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Myra,Do you believe in Karma? Good rewards for GOOD Karma and Bad rewards for bad Karma?USA is reaping what Regan had sown in 1980s. Pakistan is reaping what Gen. Zia had sown in 1980s and Pak army continues to water till today.What is there for India to do? Why should India sacrifice anything for their (mis)deeds?Pakistanis and USA are adept in their games and understand each other better.Sadly, Indians(including Kashmiris) and Afghans were the biggest victim of this US-Pak-Saudi game for the last 20 years without any role in the game.If anything Indians and Afghans need to do, they must help themselves, improve their internal security and help each other to get out of the trap, set by others. There is no genuine interest by USA-Pak-Saudi to solve the problem or improve conditions in SE Asia. USA-Pak-Saudi-China are more interested in their own agenda than helping SE Asians.

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I don’t know if India and Pakistan can be brought on in time to have any impact on Afghanistan.All Obama can do is deal directly with Pakistan and get their assurances that they will contain the Taliban (Afghan and Pakistani).The most Obama can do for Pakistan is to try and convince the Indians to be less visible in Afghanistan. There’s really nothing beyond that the US can do.India is not going to respond to pressure to talk about Kashmir. And if ever there was hope, that went up in the smoke from the Taj with the Mumbai attacks.When it comes to dealing with Pakistan, I support the Christine Fair approach of carrots and sticks. They need to be given solid economic assistance to deal with the repercussions of their involvement of the war on terror. But they need to be told by the US, that should they cause failure in Afghanistan, they will be held to account.

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Myra Says:As a result of the deadlock, both countries remain bitter rivals for influence in Afghanistan;You always stretch things too far to make up a story to suit your blogs. India is not competing with anybody for anything. India just DOESN’T want to see women abusing, child raping, drug runing taliban tribes back in power.And this is the goal of the whole world. If India builds a road or a school or power-plant or a parliament building or donates 1.2 bil to Afghanistan, you call that competition!!! When did Pakistan do any of those for Afghanistan?According to your logic, Pakistan is rivaling the whole world to save Afghanistan (as if they ever had a vision for Afghans)!!!How can you so easily comply to the Pak conspiracy theories? You do have access to international media. I expect better from you.

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Several Indian commentators here have suggested that the US should seek out Indian assistance in Afghanistan.Can anyone expand on this? What kind of assistance? And why should the US do it?The last thing the US/NATO wants is to drive Pakistani insecurities to the point that nothing moves forward in Afghanistan. At this point, India doesn’t have much skin in the game other than its aid projects and some workers here and there. It’s not Indian troops dying daily. And Obama is not going to sacrifice the lives of thousands of US troops just so that India and Pakistan can keep competing in Afghanistan forever.I am not suggesting India should not be consulted or have a diminished role. I just want to know what role do those of you who advocate Indian involvement in Afghanistan see for India, particularly given the triangular relationship between the US, India and Pakistan in Afghanistan.

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@ Comments from Sardar Khan & Imran:Pretty much sums up, what’s wrong with Pakistan & Pakistanis.Anyways, happy thanksgiving to the folks in US.

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“Kashmir is an integral and important part of India”: EUhttp://www.rttnews.com/ArticleView.asp x?Id=1140028&SMap=1Is Pakistan going to wake up to the reality now and work with SE Asian partners for the development of the region?Around 47000 Kashmiris dead and Pakistanis begging all over the world while Pak army is chasing unrealistic dreams! But for how long?

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Several Indian commentators here have suggested that the US should seek out Indian assistance in Afghanistan.- Posted by KeithYou have very few choices if you want a quick and cost-effective exit. When US/NATO are betrayed by their own allies (i.e. Pakistan), we feel sorry for your situation and deaths.India is not offering help to US/NATO. India is helping Afghans cuz they asked for it. If US/NATO need help, they can ask for that too. Don’t reject help before it is even offered. We don’t mind if you want to play your betrayal game forever with Pakistanis.India can help (but you need to ask):1. Financial assistance2. Infrastructure reconstruction assistance3. Education and HR development assistance4. NATO/US non-military supplies through Iran5. NATO/US refueling assistance6. Training Afghan manpower/Police/army/Judges/Civil Servants7. Bring the non-Talib tribes and warlords to discussion table8. Make things easy to negotiate with Iran and Russia9. Conducting peaceful and reliable democratic elections and building institutions.But you need to ASK if you need help. DON’T take help for granted and reject before offered. We don’t mind if Pakistanis or someone else is going to help in above areas.

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When it comes to dealing with Pakistan, I support the Christine Fair approach of carrots and sticks.- Posted by KeithGood Luck to you! Very soon you will run out of Carrots and the donkey will get resistant to sticks! The donkey is smart enough to know you have limited time and patience and the donkey can keep you busy for sometime in this carrots and sticks game till you run out of both and run away.Given the limited time and patience, I like Richard Arimtrage plan. No games .. clear goals .. 48 hours .. with us or back in stone ages. I wish if Obama csan find the Arimtrage guy again!

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Soman,Many of the things you mention though, are items that the Indian government has appeared unwilling to do in the past. For example, any real efforts to train the army, police or judiciary will require Indian bodies on the ground. It’s news to me if India’s changed its stance on deploying more personnel beyond the construction workers and the minimal forces to protect them.Some of the other stuff is nice but not likely to make a big dent (financial assistance for example). Some of the stuff is just not needed (refuelling for example). Even number 8 is not needed. Several NATO countries have been shipping stuff through Iran (except the US) and Russia. In fact, the US has been developing transit routes through Russia as an alternative to pakistan. Both countries have actually been reasonably co-operative with NATO over Afghanistan. They have no interest in seeing the Taliban come back either. I don’t know what India could offer above and beyond what NATO and the US have already achieved in this regard.7 and 9 are interesting. Do you really think that India has sufficient influence to help bring the Talibs to the table? That’d be more than the Pakistanis can seem to do. It would be huge if India could actually deliver on something like this. And could you expand on how India could help in developing democratic institutions. What can India contribute here, over and above what NATO is already doing in Afghanistan.

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@ Soman, Keith,One of the questions you hear frequently from Pakistanis is why India is investing so heavily in Afghanistan when it has so many problems of its own to deal with at home.(Chhattisgarh and the Maoist insurgency spring to mind)Included on Soman’s list:1. Financial assistance2. Infrastructure reconstruction assistance3. Education and HR development assistanceThis is not to suggest that India does not have legitimate interests in Afghanistan, but perhaps a more forthright discussion of what India is doing there would be helpful?The Asia Times had an article recently suggesting that Pakistan and India might eventually be able to find common ground on Afghanistan:http://www.atimes.com/atimes  /South_Asia/KK25Df01.html@ Keith,Let me know what you think about this piece; (scroll down to read) “Mumbai in the Shadow of Kashmir”http://www.counterpunch.org/pras had11262009.html@ all,On China, does it not have an interest in stability in South Asia/Afghanistan, and in making sure Islamist violence does not spread into Xinjiang?As discussed in this analysis, China is likely to gain most from stability in Afghanistan:http://www.reuters.com/artic le/newsOne/idUSTRE5323ZB20090404?sp=true Myra

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Myra: “One of the questions you hear frequently from Pakistanis is why India is investing so heavily in Afghanistan when it has so many problems of its own to deal with at home.(Chhattisgarh and the Maoist insurgency spring to mind)”Once upon a time, India had Pakistan on both sides of its border. India cut off East Pakistan by taking advantage of the internal strife there.Now the world has come to a new reality. India is on both sides of Pakistan. So they are worried about India’s presence in Afghanistan.Even doing constructive project seems to bother them in Afghanistan. First of all Afghanistan is a sovereign nation. Pakistan has no say in the foreign policies of Afghanistan. If the Afghans do not want India there, they will spell it out and India will close its missions there. But Pakistan is treating Afghanistan like its own province. They are trying to deflect attention away from themselves in this war on terror, being led by the US. It is interesting that the US or Afghanistan never asked Pakistan for building roads and hospitals there. I wonder why.

 

Keith said:> Several Indian commentators here have suggested that the US should seek out Indian assistance in Afghanistan. Can anyone expand on this? What kind of assistance? And why should the US do it?My point is that the current driver for the US presence is Afghanistan is, at its heart, one of ego. If they get bin Laden, I predict that they will declare a face-saving victory and get out in double quick time. As long as bin Laden remains at large, they cannot leave. They would lose face big time. He was the reason they went in in the first place.Look at the parallels in Iraq. They created the mess in Iraq but were able to declare victory of sorts because they got Saddam Hussain and executed him after a victor’s trial. (I’m no fan of Saddam Hussain’s but the US actions in Iraq were quite transparently self-serving.)Reconstruction of Afghanistan or stabilisation of the region is not the primary concern of the US (even though they talk about it a lot). I’m saying it should be.If the US can align itself in word and in deed to the constructive idea of stabilising the region and helping Afghanistan’s development, they will find that the current role being played by India in that country is complementary to their own efforts, and it will lend legitimacy to their own activities, in much the same way that the international coalition that George Bush Sr mustered at the start of the first Gulf War legitimised the US action.So, to answer your questions:What kind of assistance? More of the same – construction, health, education, training in governanceWhy should they do it? Legitimacy from being part of a broader coalition.Regards,Ganesh

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Myra Says:One of the questions you hear frequently from Pakistanis is why India is investing so heavily in Afghanistan when it has so many problems of its own to deal with at home.Why are US/EU investing so heavily in Afghanistan when they have so many problems of their own to deal with at home? Do you think US/EU have spare dollars and lives to spend in Afghanistan?US/EU are there because, 9/11, 7/7, Madrid originated in Afghanistan/Pakistan. India is there because Indian-Airlines plane IC-814 has hijacked form Nepal to Afghanistan. LeT, JuD, Mumbai terrorists draw inspiration and funds form Talibans. Kashmir violence started with CIA-Saudi funded Mujahideens.With 180 mil muslim population (2nd largest in the world), India has more reasons than anybody else to see a Taliban free stable Afghanistan. INdia will be Taliban’s next target, Once Talibans are given a land to survive and breed in Afghanistan.With or without US, India is going to work with Iran and Russia to make sure that Talibans never come to power. US can stay or leave when they like. US never belonged there other than quickies!India might like if US runs away from Af-Pak. We would like to see how long Pakistan stands without free US money and arms.

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Myra says:On China, does it not have an interest in stability in South Asia/Afghanistan, and in making sure Islamist violence does not spread into Xinjiang?China is more interested in economic leadership and super power status than social stability. China can kill 1000 people in one hour to bring social unrest under control. So they are not very worried about Islamist violence or Xinjiang? Chinese communists know that they can hold on to power and control social stability as long as they show economic growth and power status.What China achieved in 40 years, India achieved 40%-50% of that in last 20 years. In many areas INdians are doing better than Chinese like, moon landing or access to US/Russian technologies or aircraft carriers. India is catching up fast with China with some help from democratic friends in west. India is standing between China and it’s ambitions!That is why China is more interested to weaken India in SE ASIA (with support of Pakistan or Maoists) than fight with India in world stage. China will always avoid a direct confrontation with INdia for same reason India always avoided a direct confrontation with Pakistan.China’s biggest worry is not Xinjiang or Taliban. It is India and its rapid growth.

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7 and 9 are interesting. Do you really think that India has sufficient influence to help bring the Talibs to the table?- Posted by KeithIf you need to talk to hard-core Talibans, Only ISI or Saudis can deliver that. India/Iran and Russia are against the hard-core Talibans.India can accept and support the rented/hired talibans if they abjure violence and join mainstream political life and adopt democracy. I believe Karzai is already doing that and India is encouraging him.India doesn’t interfere directly in Afghanistan affairs. India only does what Afghan Govt asks to do. Both Afghan Presidential candidates (Karzai and Abdullah) are pro-democratic and pro-India (and not necessarily anti-Pakistan). They were educated in India and their families are still in INdia.India can work with Karzai, Abdullah, Iran, Russia, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turks to bring the non-Talibs and moderate Talib tribes to discussion and in to democracy.But if you ally with hard-core talibans, you have to kiss goodbye to democracy, Karzai and Abdullah. You will be stuck with ISI and Mullah Omar and UBL.

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Keith,Thanks for your clarification on Indian visibility in Afghanistan in the other thread.However, may I ask you something? Feeling insecure, feeling paranoid, worrying about encirclement, worrying about others ganging up on you- ARE THESE SPECIAL PRIVILEGES afforded only to Paks, Americans, and the Chinese?Would you kindly consider granting these unique privileges to Indians also ??.The USof A champion of liberty has propped up, and supplied billions of dollars and military gadgets to be used by paks in wars and terrorism against our people for the last 62 years.What was the West’s reaction, response to India’s pleas about pak terrorism until the jihadis started bombing the West? cocky, arrogant, insensitive dismissal.All we are saying is this is a selfish world. We have to take care of ourselves. For 62 years since our grand fathers generation , we have pleaded with the paks to shed hostility and live in peace, but to no avail.Your suggestions India should be less visible in Afghnaistan etc don’t cut ice with us.We have to pay the paks back,keep pursuading the paks thru various means to abandon their aggression.We don’t understand your suggestions to supply more carrots to pakistan. How much carrots has the West given and what are your results? They beg around, collect ransom from the world, meanwhile use rest of their resources to run terrorist training camps? The even make fun of our poverty, what will be their poverty level if you syop pumping them up?The demand that Indians should be less visible should be coming from Afghans. Not from Paks or Westerners. Why are you not responding this question?Hope you try to understand this:Your comment that since pak soldiers are dying they have rights to demand less visibility of Indians in Afghanistan is VERY offensive to us. We don’t care for them. We have zero sympathy for them who have sent terrorists to bomb our temples, villages, buses, trains for the past 30 years.Regards,

 

Keith,You are right. India doesn’t want to get involved too much in Afghan affairs. Only whatever asked by Afghan Govt! I believe already 5000-10000 Indian police are manning various construction sites and the 5 embassies. India is already training Afghan Army/Intelligence/police/education/Agric ulturists/teachers in India. But not on a bigger scale than what India does for Nepal/Bhutan/Sri Lanka/Maldives or Mauritius.But US/EU can force INdia to take bigger non-military role. India can never deploy army without UN mandate, but it can definitely finance/train the Afghan Army in Afghanistan or India. INdia is not worried about losing lives as many Indian policemen had lost lives to ISI/Taliban agents while constructing the road.But before India can convinced, US/EU need to make their own mind. Right now they seem to be standing on two boats: Negotiating with Talibans and fighting with Talibans. We still don’t know what are US intentions. Under this conditions, how can anyone blindly support US!

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And could you expand on how India could help in developing democratic institutions. What can India contribute here, over and above what NATO is already doing in Afghanistan.- Posted by KeithDid you forget the recent election fraud and 6-8 month long counting/recounting process in Afghanistan. You could have avoided all that if you had borrowed Indian expertise.INdians have developed a very efficient, sophisticated and corruption/count/recount free election system. Even in US people go to courts after 10 recounts, but it doesn’t happen in INdia. 500-700 mil votes are counted and results are out within 48 hours without any room for dispute or debate.Indians don’t need translators to talk to Afghans. An informative Bolywood movie will go far enough to motivate and guide people and politicians. Afghan politicians have strong ties to INdian politicians. UUIDs (Unique User IDs) will go a long way to save vote casters from Taliban threats and avoid ballot stuffing.The newly elected Afghan Govt met under the Parliament built by India. INdian election comission and observers are very independent. Had India helped/trained Afghans in recent election, all the corruption charges could have been easily avoided.Afghanistan’s nearest and oldest stable democratic neighbor is INdia. So Indians can help every possible way. Even Indians have the same goals and want to see a democratic and stable AFghanistan.But can US/EU come above the Pakistan syndrome?

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When it comes to dealing with Pakistan, I support the Christine Fair approach of carrots and sticks.- Posted by KeithAnd that’s exactly what ISI wants too.ISI doesn’t want you to surge or leave. ISI just wants you to stay there forever, free-wheel in mud, pay them billions in arms and US aid yearly/monthly and you are free to play any game you like (carrots and sticks, hide and seek, drone-seek and drone-bomb or whateverrr). But you can’t leave.I often wonder what will the ISI agents feed on and wear when Afghanistan becomes peaceful and US leaves!

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Myra,Your comparisons between India and Pakistan are a bit offending to Indians and to all freedom loving people around the world.ISI is deliberately trying to feed Afghanistan to the Taliban monsters, who sent one of the oldest and prosperous civilizations on earth to stone ages in a matter of 10-20 years. Afghans had suffered so much under Pakistan/Taliban rule that the entire civilization is almost wiped out.India on the other hand is investing in blood and treasure to get Afghanistan back to the democratic, civilized, multicultural, free world.While India is busy constructing new roads and buildings, ISI/Taliban are busy planting IEDs on roads and bombing buildings. ISI trained talibans are busy killing brave soldiers who are guarding Afghan freedom.And you call this competition? I am a bit sad and disappointed.Hope, one day you will appreciate the sacrifices of the brave lives and proud nations, who continue to invest in blood and treasure to see a happy and prosperous Afghanistan!

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@Myra: “One of the questions you hear frequently from Pakistanis is why India is investing so heavily in Afghanistan when it has so many problems of its own to deal with at home.(Chhattisgarh and the Maoist insurgency spring to mind)”-MyraMyra: If money spent in Afghanistan is the reason for Mao insurgency, you have point. But that’s not the case. Mao ins is internal and India-Afgh is external national interest of India.You are asking this FAQ by Pakistanis, but what’s your own thinking.Acc to this, US should fix its finacial meltdown before helping Israel and Pakistan.__________________Myra/Keith:An y idea how much money US/NATO spend on civil non-military projects in Afghanistan.________________Keith: By “reducing Indian presence” in Afgh, do you mean India should cuts its consulates from 5 to 1.India need Afghan people to know that India is their friend. But can you please Pakistani whiners by reducing presence.

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The crux of the matter is, indians and pakistanis are fighting over kashmir, which is bad, and also the crus is that yaseen malik on a number of occassions has said that in urdu “Indian Fauj ki Mai maa chod dun ga” which translates to “Indians should take the dialogue approach”

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S.Oman.At last the truth came out from an indian’s mouth.Since 1947,you are trying to destroy Pakistan by hook and crook.It was your terrorism in 1971,whichcaused the sepration of East Pakistan,but what you gained as a result,Bangaladashi’s still hate your country.We both are still friends but they still hate hindu kaffirs.Ask any bangali,because your RSS a terrorist orgnation suported by RAW and hindunationalism runs india.Before accusing others look in your own closet for the skeletons hidden their.

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There is a method to this tilt in editoral persuasion of reuters over the past few weeks on the issue of AFPak and a sometimes direct and at other times less overt reference to Indian intentions vis Afghanistan and Pakistan.India’s aims are simple. Poverty irradictaion in our own country and keeping the diverse segments of the population together to allow social cohesion. We have no interest in Pakistan or Aghanistan. Pakistan has been using several methods to product instability in India by trying to promote rift between Indian Muslims and Hindus. Indians believed this was to facilitate their claim over Kashmir by making the muslim population feel like aliens within India. few have argued that the Pakistani intentions are more grave than that and that their purpose is to somehow beak India down as somehow they will never be safe until India remains powerful or influential.This second argument is silly!! I firmly believe that Indians at least a majority have attained the maturity to see rationally that an unstable Pakistan is a very bad thing for India. Instability spreads across borders quite easily especially posous one’s like ours.All India wants is that 1. no such terrorist and communal violence should be used as a state policy by Pakistan. 2. Indian men women and children should not be killed ruhlessly.India has no territorial interest in Pakistan as such an interest is untennable and we already have enough to deal with.The westerners should not abue the ignorance of the people in India or Pakistan to resolve their own issues.The reason why Indians want to help build a stable Aghanistan is because terrosists are travelling fom the west of Pakistan (bordering with Afghaistan) to their easter border with india and carrying out anti -india activities as a price for safe sanctuary by Pakistan.As we cannot help the moderates in Pakistan even if we want to as they will never trust any Indian influence and because we do not want to use aggression or retaliate as far as possible in a Military fashion against pakistan, as the cost will be big for us as well and we know that. the only way to reduce attacks on our houses and families is to keep a stringent watch on the idia Pak border and try and stabalize afghanistan and have them be friendly towards India. there isn’t any rocket science in figuring that out. None of that is an aggressive military stance. Trust me we really need war only like the plague!!! If we could puts some oars out and float away from Pakistan we would be very very happy to do so and become an Island nation! we are not interested in them one little incy wincy bit!

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Also, to add one more little point. We do not have big agendas and any stake in these civilizational fights between Christianity and Islam. We have no axe to grind. Please take these crusades and stick them!!With due respect, we are poor and quite messed up in many ways but what we will not accept is tutoring from some religeous zealots writing for their civilizational/ national interests on the web or some parchment!. We are trying very very hard to marginalise the idiotic RSS and extreme righ winged BJP type folks into a corner in our own country to clip their wings and have some semblence of common sense. We need no distractions from working on poverty alleviation, building hospitals, schools and cleaning our streets. So please go away!!!!

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@Myra: “One of the questions you hear frequently from Pakistanis is why India is investing so heavily in Afghanistan when it has so many problems of its own to deal with at home.(Chhattisgarh and the Maoist insurgency spring to mind)”-MyraA relevant question to Brits is that they could not bring any lasting peace in Northern IReland ( 60 plus yrs?) and are still occupying the Irish land, and at the same time giving sermons to others. Look who is declaring themselves a champion of equality, freedom and justice? First the Brits should fix the mess in their backyard before descending on far off lands with guns and tanks. Mao insurgency is fuelled by Pak and China( NorthEast). Maoists are not looking for just free Rice, butinstead they demand changes in constitution, just like the Klansmen in USA do, which is not acceptable.

 

@ RajPlease read my posts carefully before you respond. I did not say anything about Pakistani troops. I said that the US will not be interested in staying for long if Afghanistan turns out to be a contest between India and Pakistan.Do you really think that India would stay in Afghanistan by itself if US/NATO were to pull-out tomorrow? It is the presence of Western troops that is facilitating India’s involvement in Afghanistan. That’s why its incumbent on India to co-operate with the West to help the mission in Afghanistan succeed.

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Your suggestions India should be less visible in Afghanistan etc don’t cut ice with us.We have to pay the paks back,keep persuading the paks thru various means to abandon their aggression…..The demand that Indians should be less visible should be coming from Afghans. Not from Paks or Westerners. Why are you not responding this question?Hope you try to understand this:Your comment that since pak soldiers are dying they have rights to demand less visibility of Indians in Afghanistan is VERY offensive to us. We don’t care for them. We have zero sympathy for them who have sent terrorists to bomb our temples, villages, buses, trains for the past 30 years.Regards,- Posted by RajFair enough. But if that’s the attitude, why should the West stay in Afghanistan? If the fight in Afghanistan is between India and Pakistan, why are we sending our young lads to die there?The West is not going to sacrifice soldiers in Afghanistan simply to protect India’s interests (on common interests maybe, but not so that India and Pakistan can bleed western soldiers). Some co-operation on the part of India here is called for. Such an inflexible attitude will either result in the US leaving early or India leaving Afghanistan…which ultimately won’t benefit either the US, India or Afghanistan.I have not called for a reduction in Indian involvement, closure of missions or anything like that. Just a bit of discretion that would help soothe Pakistanis (albeit a little), help secure Indian efforts (by not drawing attention to them), help legitimize the Afghan government, and maintain Afghan public support.Keep in mind that if Afghans keep dying because of this Indo-Pak contest, they aren’t going to find the Indian presence favourable either. Sooner or later they will get fed up with being caught in between (just like they are today between US/NATO and Taliban).Finally, I don’t know where you get the impression that Pak soldiers are dying in Afghanistan. They aren’t there. Nor did I write anything of the sort.

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Soman,Keep in mind that IEC in Afghanistan is still somewhat reliable. Yes, they suck at administering the vote. However, they were independent enough to label and expose the election fraud being committed. They largely need help developing their capacity in running elections. And this comes down to issues like manpower, security, corruption, etc. I am curious to know how you think India can contribute to those issues specifically.India does indeed have excellent election monitoring and administrative institutions. However, I don’t see how they could have helped in the recent elections. The context under which India’s election administrators operate is very different. They don’t have to worry about the kind of violence and intimidation that the Afghans get. Keep in mind that much of the worst rigging happened in the less hospitable parts of the country where the deployment of monitors was hampered for various reasons.What could India offer under this scenario that would make things different? Is India willing to deploy election monitors to remote areas of Afghanistan? If it is, why doesn’t it contribute more to the offices and processes already in place? The existing IEC could certainly use every bit of assistance they can get. Particularly, when it comes to manpower willing to deploy to risky areas.

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Keith: By “reducing Indian presence” in Afgh, do you mean India should cuts its consulates from 5 to 1.India need Afghan people to know that India is their friend. But can you please Pakistani whiners by reducing presence.- Posted by rajeevAs detailed in the other thread: No. Keep the consulates. Dial back the parties. That’s all. This would also make Indians less of a visible target in Afghanistan.Nobody is calling for a reduction in Indian aid or assistance. But a more discrete approach can’t hurt.

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