More ideas re: Afghanistan — (1) consolidate the front against the ISI-run Haqqani Network, (2) absorb the 120-odd Afghan military trainees in India and utilize them strategically!

31 Afghan Army Cadets Graduate From Indian Military Academy - The Khaama  Press News Agency
[A pic of a graduating class of Afghan Gentlemen Cadets at the Indian Militarty Academy, Dehradun]

India’s last day as (the monthly rotating) chairman of the UN Security Council resulted in a watered down version of a resolution whose anti-Taliban sting was removed because of threat of Chinese veto. But even then China and Russia abstained from voting. India also decided on August 29 against joining in the joint statement signed by 98 countries of the world that announced their willingness to accept Afghan nationals. Had India signed on it would have meant taking in those Afghans who worked in, and with, the Indian embassy in Kabul and in the consulates in Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif and included Afghans, who over the years, have been instrumental in gathering useful intelligence and doing other such work inside that country.

These actions taken together with the government’s precipitate pull-out of India’s diplomatic presence lock, stock and barrel from Afghanistan for no good reason other than that it blindly and lemming-like followed the Biden Administration’s actions, reveal that having serially done these very foolish things, the MEA is fresh out of ideas — bright or not — about what to do next. It suggests the vaccuous state India’s Afghanistan policy has plunged into.

My Aug 17 post, in the event, in which I first pleaded the case for immediately recognizing the Taliban emirate in-being and raking in the benefits from being the first mover in this respect and impressing the top Taliban leadership with this display of good faith, set the proverbial cat among the MEA pigeons. Because accepting this advice would show up India’s earlier decision of abandoning the Kabul ambassy and the consulates as thoughtless, hasty and wrong. My August 27 contribution in the Face-Off section of the Times of India — and reproduced in the preceding post, fleshed out the arguments some more. Since then a significant thing happened.

Yesterday, a senior Taliban leader dealing with foreign affairs in the leadership team, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, made the effort and took the initiative to contact the Indian mission in Qatar, conveying to Ambassador Deepak Mittal the Mullah Abdul Ghani Barader-led interim dispensation’s eagerness to have India not only return to Kabul and continue with the development projects in that country, but to get overland and aerial traffic routes opened through Pakistan for trade and commerce with India. Assurances were also given that Afghan territory would not be allowed to be used as staging areas by any terrorist outfits associated with the Taliban in their final push for Kabul, namely, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and possibly even, Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), for attacks in Jammu & Kashmir, and that the Indians and their dependents, and Indian-origin Afghans would have safe passage to India. All these utterances by Stanikzai, incidentally, merely reiterated what Barader had publicly stated earlier..

That Stanikzai made the effort to call on ambassador Mittal is significant for several reasons. One, it couldn’t have pleased GHQ, Rawalpindi, and ISI in particular that despite India’s formal anti-Taliban stance and hurtful follow-up actions, the Taliban are keen — and are going out of their way to make it obvious — that they want India back in Kabul. This may be because, as I have argued, the Taliban leadership wants desperately to have India as a hefty counterpoise to Pakistan in Afghanistan’s national life. Secondly, that it also wants India to be a strategic counter-weight to an overweaning China which could provide the Barader team with a range of economic, political, and even military options. And finally, because India’s resuming its diplomatic presence in Kabul will establish a direct and physical communications channel the better, from the Taliban perspective, to work the counterpoise to Pakistan and the strategic counterweight to China aspects of its policies. Indeed, the first mover recogntion advantage could be translated into lucrative concessions — which is what the Indian government should pitch for — to Indian companies, especially to mine Afghanistan’s rare mineral — Lithium — reserves.

It is significant too that the Taliban spokesperson reacted to Islamabad’s complaint that the Taliban seem unable to prevent the Tehreeq-e-Taliban Pakistan’s violent actions against the Pakistan army by saying that that is an issue the Pakistan government will have to sort out with the TTP! It should have given many in the Indian government pause to reconsider its wait and watch policy.

But predictably, the English language TV news channels trying to curry favour with the Modi government assembled talking heads against the recognition option; they ranted and raved, their rhetorical excess centered on the unwarranted belief that the Taliban are the same old gang of extremist Islamic yahoos and cuthroats of medievalist mindset last encountered in the 1990s and the early 2000s, and that they cannot be trusted to do anything right by India. Further, that Messrs Barader & Stanikzai’s assurances do not amount to much because Taliban Central cannot control the violence junkies constituting the outlier organizations — Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Islamic State-Khorasan bent on doing India harm. And, hence, that the almost inert “wait and watch” is the right policy for India to adopt. So far though almost all these assumptions, presumptions, and predicates for a do-nothing policy have proved to be wrong.

The Taliban leadership has shown it has learned its lessons from the Mullah Omar period (1996-2001) when that regime was happy for Afghanistan to be a backwater, and thus to cut itself off from the world and to survive hand-to-mouth. The new Taliban leadership has determined that to continue in that mode would be to again paint a big bull’s eye on their backs, making their regime vulnerable to future military interventions especially if it also remains a safe haven for al-Qaeda and IS-K. Moreover, it has discovered that Afghanistan has changed. Whatever the flaws and deficits in governance of the Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani governments, they created in the last 20 years a thriving urban middle class with educated and career-minded womenfolk in the lead, that had the Afghan society tippy-toeing into modernity. This middle class now constitutes 30% of Afghanistan’s population and is the driver of its economy — something Barader and his cohort recognize as an element they cannot do without. Whence their pleas to Afghan professionals — engineers, educationists, lawyers, bueaucrats and technicians, trying to get the hell out of the country, to please stay put and help them to run Afghanistan.

Also of note is why the Taliban cadres — under the effective control of Mullah Yaqoob — Mullah’s Omar’s son, who is in-charge of military operations and is the likely Taliban defence minister, by and large displayed restraint in treating the police and Afghan militarymen who surrendered or accepted the new authority. And how the strategic lessons they learned made them prioritise the capture of border checkposts on the Durrand Line with Pakistan, such as Spinboldak, and with the various Central Asian Republics on the Amu Darya River that at once brought the sources of customs revenue into their hands and placed them in a position to choke off military and other supplies to the new “Northern Alliance” now forming in the Panjshir Valley under the leadership of Amrullah Saleh, Ahmad Massoud, and possibly Col. Abdul Rashid Dostum, to militarily oppose the Taliban government.

The Stanikzai connection though is a useful pointer to a unique advantage India has. Stanikzai, an ex-Afghan National Army veteran graduated in 1982 — the 119th Course — from the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. His course-mates remember him as a normal sort of guy who participated in all the activities and made friends easily. Surely, it cannot be denied that the time he spent at IMA and the exposure he had to India, has made him like this country, which liking is reflected in his taking the Qatar initiative. He can be expected to act favourably towards India in high Taliban decisionmaking circles. But none of this can happen if India stays stuck with its current policy of seeing everything Taliban through the glass darkly, and dealing and communicating with the Taliban apex only through indirect means and at a remove.

Fostering a connection with the until rcently Doha-based Stanikzai-Barader ‘political’ faction who negotiated the US withdrawal with the American representative Zalmay Khailzad, is particularly important because it is in contestation for power within the yet to be formed government with the ‘military’ faction under Yaqoob, who have dismissed the former as soft, luxury-loving, group who took no part in the hard fighting. Except the Yaqoob cohort are also at daggers drawn with the ISI proxy — the Haqqani Network, also in the fray.

This only highlights the need for an active Indian embassy in Kabul, without which India is simply not in a position, for instance, to bring together the Barader and Yaqoob factions in order to consolidate this front — which is in India’s national interest, strategically and geopolitics-wise, against the ISI-directed Haqqani fighter group.

In this fraught situation, it has been suggested by a former ambassador to Afghanistan, Vivek Katju, that India re-man its embassy in Kabul and communicate directly with the Taliban leadership without, however, according the prospective Afghan emirate diplomatic recognition, just yet. It is the typical MEA way of doing every thing half-cocked and by half-measures, and will get India nowhere.

But Stanikzai’s IMA background underlines the dilemma faced by some 80 graduating gentlemen-cadets in the current batch of the IMA, and some 40 other Afghan army officers undergoing specialized military training in different military institutions in India. What do they do when there is no Afghan army to go back to? The government has decided to let all of them finish their training, which’s fine. Then what? Having not signed the August 29 statement to voluntarily take-in fleeing Afghans and absorb them here, the Indian government has, in a sense, washed its hands off even those Afghans who worked for India as embassy and consulate staff and in various other capacities. This is a crying shame, and this decision needs to be urgently reversed.

Such a reversal would offer the 120-odd Afghan army officers in training in India the chance to settle down in India along with their families — whose protection and safe journey to India should be speedily negotiated with the Taliban. How would these officers be useful? Think of how these officers with fluency in Pashto and Darri languages can be deployed by the army Special Forces for distant operations, and in mountain fighting on the LoC. Indeed, a small SF unit along the lines of the SFF (Special Frontier Force composed of Tibetan exiles) of hard-trained Afghan armymen for trans-border covert actions can be set up — India’s own version of the French Foreign Legion! And how a select lot among them can be inducted into the army’s Military Intelligence Directorate for gathering of strategic intelligence in the neighbourhood. And, female members in the families of these Afghan officers, once in India, could be hired by the external services division of All India Radio and Doordarshan to beam news and other programmes in Darri and Pashto languages, including targeted information campaigns to Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and Afghanistan.

The stranded Afghan army trainees in India are a precious national security asset that has fallen into our lap. It will be criminal to let it go waste.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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41 Responses to More ideas re: Afghanistan — (1) consolidate the front against the ISI-run Haqqani Network, (2) absorb the 120-odd Afghan military trainees in India and utilize them strategically!

  1. Amit says:

    Like your idea of leveraging the Afghans who are being trained in Indian military academies. But your criticism of the GoI’s stance is not warranted yet. Just like the Taliban is showing signs of moderation, India is also showing its willingness to change. For the first time it has publicly admitted of meeting the Taliban. Also, nothing wrong in moving Indians out, when you had no clue how the Taliban would behave. Your idea about reopening of the embassy makes sense as long as the Taliban behave moderately. And India might very well do that – so criticism not warranted yet. Fact is that there is no Government in Afghanistan. And no country has recognised anybody. Still think that India is doing the right things after the Taliban took over.

    India has a deep interest in controlling terror out of Afghanistan and reducing Pakistan’s influence there. Many of the points you are making about the different factions within the Taliban and how India can exploit them are obvious and true. And India will likely act on them. Having listened recently to Chinese and Russian analyst opinions on what they might want in Afghanistan – it seems like many Indian interests are also the same as Russian and Chinese. Yes, the Russians and the Chinese have their embassies still open in Kabul, but this is no significant advantage to them over India. In fact China has hardly invested much in Afghanistan so far, while India has a good track record recognised even by the Taliban. The Taliban’s position is quite weak especially if they want a normal country, albeit with Sharia. So India is pretty much in a similar situation as anyone else. Formal recognition is a bargaining chip in India’s hand. Therefore, no need to be too critical yet.

  2. Kane says:

    Mr Karnad, I honestly feel this is ridiculous. Why did India pull out its diplomatic mission? think!!! would you in the middle of a war from your armchair guarantee their security and safety of the families of the staff and the ITBF personnel?? … did anyone even know how the past few weeks and next few weeks could turn out with the ISI paying for Indian blood in Afghanistan? Should there be an attack you would do an about turn and be the first to blame the govt should there be any consequences?
    And seriously? induct the afghans into our armed forces and intell agencies …leave alone the ramifications both international and security risk within …does this even fall in line with your own theory of diplomatic relations and ties with Afghanistan.
    Leave these serious matters to the more responsible people in the MEA and teh NSA. … they are accountable unlike arm chair strategic analysts.

    • Prime Minister Modi wants “out of the box” solutions. This is among the many such provided over the years by this analyst. One of the seminal flaws of Indian foreign and military policy-making I have detailed in my 2015 book Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet) is the absence of strategic imagination, resulting in the same old ghisa-pita policies that are dressed up in new guise that fail to advance the national interest.

      • San Mann says:

        An “out of the box” solution could be stepped up support for Pakistani Taliban. I feel that this doesn’t have to manifest itself immediately as attacks on Pakistani targets, but organization building can make a bigger difference in the longer run.

  3. Deepak says:

    Sir,your suggestion about creating small SFF kind of unit with these 120 odd afgan military men fluent in pashto and dari is a good idea but not sure if they can be trusted for crucial operations against pak jihadis.

    I doubt about presence of good enough mineral wealth in afganistan which usa has left it to chinese to exploit.why usa would have exited if there was any great mineral wealth present in afganistan as we always see usa is expert in exploiting natural resources in any country it invades.i think primary motive of us invasions anyware in the world is about
    1)loot of natural resources
    2)setting up strategic military bases.
    your thoughts on this please Sir.

  4. DEBANJAN BANERJEE says:

    Another very innovative suggestion offered by Mr Karnad.

    Praveen Sawhney just opined today that China’s unilateral changing of the LAC in Eastern Ladakh has called the bluff of India’s nuclear card. Since you always emphasize that India must always use the nuclear card to balance the growing superiority of China’s conventional military strengths vis a vis India, do you believe that China has successfully called the bluff of India’s nuclear card by unilateral changing of the LAC in Eastern Ladakh ?

    • San Mann says:

      Pravin Sawhney is a ridiculous whiner who has J-A-I-C-H-A-N-D written all over him. I notice that he has a huge number of Pakistani fanboys on his channel. He must be the most popular “Indian” in Pakistan.

      We can see that China has been building new nuclear missile launch facilities in eastern Xinjiang, and that should be of worry to us. I think that India should shift the theatre of confrontation away from Himalayas and towards the Malacca Straits, where we have greater advantage over the Chinese, and where the interests of other countries are also involved.

  5. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    No nation in the world will use any Nuclear weapons in today’s age.

    Every county is bluffing regarding Nukes.

    Anyways, who needs these outdated nuclear weapons.

    Welcome to the new age of Biological warfare. Continuously on at a global scale since late 2019/early 2020.

  6. whatsinitanyway says:

    @Professor Karnad
    I have some questions:-
    1. What would a Bagram Airbase with ‘Chinese characterstics’ mean for the region including India?
    2. Do you foresee any nefarious design of the Islamic theocratic setup taking place on the west front (Iran + Afghanistan + Pakistan), Chinese could get involved, from a long term perspective? India could be perceived as common enemy.

    • 1) The Taliban won’t hand over Bagram AFB to China because that will sever any possibility of a rapprocehement with the West which, by the way, was the foundational premise of President Trump’s rep Zalmay Khalilzad’s military withdrawal timeline negotiated with the Taliban in Doha.
      2) Yes, it could emerge as a problem — and cultvating Iran, I have long argued, will prevent such a trans-regional theocratic coalition from emerging. Beijing will be most fearful of it affecting its Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

      • whatsinitanyway says:

        Thank you.

      • San Mann says:

        Taliban are wedded to AlQaeda — if they’d wanted rapprochement with the West, then they wouldn’t have colluded with Osama-ji on the 9-11 attacks just to see their enemy Massoud dead. Even today, the Taliban leadership fully deny that AlQaeda carried out the 9-11 attacks. With the unforeseen fall of Kabul to Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad now stands discredited, even in spite of his continual resurrections following each of his recurring failures.

        The main reason Taliban would hesitate in giving Bagram to China, is the fear they’d never get the Chinese out.
        But if China were to use Afghanistan as a land bridge to Iran, then what do they really need Pakistan for any longer, except as a diversion against India? CPEC would immediately become redundant, as the China-Afghan-Iran route would be more expeditious for trade. Taliban would be harder for Pakistan to control, if they had their own firm relationship with China.

  7. Rudra says:

    Venezuela has sanction but not applicable to food and medicine
    Why isn’t India’s surplus grain being exported in barter for oil?

    Sir doesn’t the gov know about this ? Or is it defeatist/inferiority-complex mindset?

  8. Sankar says:

    “My Aug 17 post, in the event, in which I first pleaded the case for immediately recognizing the Taliban emirate in-being and raking in the benefits from being the first mover in this respect and impressing the top Taliban leadership with this display of good faith, set the proverbial cat among the MEA pigeons.” –

    To take such a position will be crass at variance with the reality of the international political world as the following news will testify:

    ” … Zakharova’s remark is forward-looking and seems to reflect the latest Russian thinking. Only recently, Russia’s special presidential envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, remarked that there was no way the Taliban could be removed from the list of terrorists before a decision by the UN Security Council.”
    https://asiatimes.com/2021/09/taliban-faces-us-destabilization-from-within/

    To my understanding, Modi is on firm ground here as he is not vacillating on Delhi’s concurrence with the legitimacy of the Taliban’s runover in Kabul to qualify for immediate diplomatic recognition. Wait and see what unfolds.

  9. Sankar says:

    Here is the latest news worth consideration:
    https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/afghanistan-panjshir-forces-claim-hundreds-of-taliban-captured/ar-AAO7sbG?ocid=msedgntp
    “The National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan, grouping forces loyal to local leader Ahmad Massoud, said on Sunday it surrounded “thousands of terrorists” in Khawak Pass and the Taliban abandoned vehicles and equipment in the Dashte Rewak area.

    Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford … reported sources on the ground said hundreds of Taliban fighters had been taken prisoner on Sunday.
    “Sources within the valley are saying the NRF are claiming to have captured about 1,500 Taliban. …” said Stratford.

    US General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, underscored the tenuous situation.

    “My military estimate is, is that the conditions are likely to develop of a civil war. I don’t know if the Taliban is going to be able to consolidate power and establish governance,” Milley said.

    At this point in time, the situation is volatile in a political power struggle, nobody knows what the final outcome will be.

    Better, stay tuned before taking a position.

  10. DEBANJAN BANERJEE says:

    First of all wish you a very happy teacher’s day and I offer you my sincere gratitude as you are the one teacher from whom I have learnt a lot of Geopolitics over the years.

    Well at this moment Indian army has to defend both the LOC as well as LAC together. If the push comes to shove and the Indian nation has to choose between losing Kashmir and keeping Arunachal pradesh and losing Arunachal pradesh and keeping Kashmir, which of the two options do you think the Indian military and political leadership will take ?

    In my view and going by the Chanakya neeti , we would prefer to lose Arunachal Pradesh and keep Kashmir since Pakistan is a much weaker power to us and we cannot afford to lose Kashmir to a Muslim country for religious reasons. So to appease China we may decide to cede Arunachal Pradesh to China to keep Kashmir. It is a fact that has been pointed out by many that we cannot keep both the Arunachal and Kashmir at the same time.

    I have observed similar thought processes inside the RSS think tanks and groups on the Internet.

    Another question is do you believe there are ways in which it is possible to use Data Analytics to understand, analyze and predict Geopolitical trends in the South Asian region ? I would love your extremely informed views.

    I would love your expert opinion on both these questions.

    Thanks and best wishes

    Debanjan

  11. Bharat kumar says:

    Indian army going for the AK 203 does that mean Excalibur assault rifle won’t. ordered ???
    What’s the point of negative list if we go for AK series or Sig sauer??

  12. Tony says:

    Afghanis are not peacefull bunch by any stretch many videos of normal people cleaning the pockets of dead corpses are available , we should stay away from that puke worthy place by mile , a very much arm chair air con article , Kipling knew better and yeah let chinese walk into talib trap . As far Lithuim is concerned it’s magnificient delusion that the tribal war lords won’t create trouble a la Nigeria with oil but lot more brutal . Does No one gets it that it’s a cursed land .

  13. Prabal Rakshit says:

    Prof Karnad,
    An off-topic question, but would nevertheless appreciate your insights on this.
    What do you feel about India planning to sign the Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS) with Russia?
    You have been justifiably critical of GOI signing similar agreements with USA e.g. COMCASA, LEMOA, BECA etc. As these serve the US interests more than ours, by allowing them access to sensitive communications etc.
    The Indian Navy seems to be in favor of this as it improves operational turnaround in the high seas etc. But is there a price to pay that is not very evident?
    Thanks,

  14. Amandeep Singh says:

    Mr Karnad what do you think about India having to pay $1bn to Carin Energy? Seems India has showed it can be easily bullied even by an MNC and shown no fight.

  15. Amit says:

    Professor, can a country have an embassy in another country without formally recognising its government? Or is recognition required to have an embassy? Just curious…

  16. Deepak says:

    Sir, new taliban interim govt formed with isi fingerprints all over it,does india has any hope left with this taliban regime?

    • The taliban govt members w/o Baradar, Stanikzai, et all unexpected and troubling.

      • DEBANJAN BANERJEE says:

        Both Baradar and Stanikzai are part of the cabinet. In fact Baradar is one of the three most important deputies who will ultimately run Afghanistan. In my view both Baradar and Stanikzai are the part of “Good Taliban” group that Pakistan has paraded before the India in order to make India accept the Taliban.

      • Rao says:

        Probably, its time for you to re-evaluate your hypothesis and come up with a new set of speculations/predictions/recommendations. Barader-Stanikjai cohort were always lightweight and any dealing with them or their assurances, do not hold their worth. India requires a hard-nosed policy at the moment when all old hardened terrorists have formed the core of Afghan government. At the age of 50 plus in general, you expect these murderers to change their mindset and become India friendly??

      • whatsinitanyway says:

        While we are still discussing out of the box Ideas : Would 20Megaton nuclear tests along with scrapping ‘no first use’ policy help the situation on Indian Side.

      • Greatly! A megaton test is what i have ceaselessly advocated since the unwise decision taken by the Vajpayee regime re; the voluntary testing moratorium on May 28, 1998.

  17. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    China on Wednesday announced USD 31 million as aid to Afghanistan, its first after the Taliban seized power in Kabul, as it backed the Afghan militant group’s interim government, saying it is a “necessary step” to restore order and “end anarchy”.

    Taking part in the first meeting of Foreign Ministers of the neighbouring countries on Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China will provide Afghanistan with 200 million yuan (USD 31 million) worth of grains, winter supplies, vaccines and medicines as per its requirements, official media here reported.

    Excerpts from the following;

    https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/china-endorses-taliban-s-interim-govt-announces-usd-31-million-aid-for-afghanistan-1850735-2021-09-08

    Another key development;

    Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the group supports China’s One Belt, One Road initiative that seeks to link China with Africa, Asia and Europe through an enormous network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks.

    “China is our most important partner and represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us because it is ready to invest and rebuild our country,” Geo News quoted Mujahid as saying in an interview to an Italian newspaper on Thursday.

    There are “rich copper mines in the country, which, thanks to the Chinese, can be put back into operation and modernised. In addition, China is our pass to markets all over the world,” said Mujahid.

    https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/china-is-our-most-important-partner-says-taliban-1848950-2021-09-03

    Taliban doesn’t need India.

    Indian establishment of right wing BJP will never recognize Taliban regime officially because then the whole opposition in India will start criticizing the government.

    Taliban government in Afghanistan also suits the anti Muslim domestic agenda of BJP.

    The WhatsApp University of RSS/BJP will indulge in scaring illiterate/less literate Hindus by repeatedly stating nonsense theories like without BJP, Taliban will establish its regime in India as well.

    Indian authorities will continue to deal with Taliban factions informally for sabotaging CPEC and fermenting trouble in Pakistan.

    How successful will they be in the aforementioned only time will tell.

    My guess is that Taliban factions will milk India dry and take huge sums of money from them without causing much damage to China as well as Pakistan.

  18. DEBANJAN BANERJEE says:

    Dear Mr Karnad,

    I would love to know your views on the recent claim that Pakistan actually helped Taliban conquer the Panjshir valley by using drones.

    I find this allegation not credible enough since if Pakistan have had this capability to do so Pakistan would have done the same against the likes of TTP and BLA considering that these groups are based mostly on Afghan provinces which are bordering Pakistan like TTP is in KUnar, Nuristan and Nangarhar and BLA mostly in Kandahar and Helmand provinces. Panjshir does not border Pakistan. This is a simple fact which proves that Pakistan is not behind Panjshir.

    On another note I believe that since most of India’s security establishment’s attention is now fixated on Afghanistan (and will probably be so for a considerable amount of time in future) I feel we are unprepared for what may occur in our Eastern flank. The PRC has just exposed us in Ladakh and the PRC may attempt the same in Arunachal Pradesh, a civil war may erupt anytime in Myanmar with grave consequences for India’s North East , an uncertain future lies ahead for India’s interests in Bangladesh in a future post-Hasina and post-COVID scenarios.

    I love your views on all these.

  19. John doe says:

    Some of the things he says are right like AI cyber wars but his solutions are crap if we are headstrong and stick to our policies we will see the results.Bharat has provided very good ideas like nuclear arming the rimland states and coming out of this creeper mentality of depending on US and most of things he argued are coming true .The way US left Afghanistan should leave no doubts that it will do the same when it comes to China.For starters we should resume our nuclear testing US can yake a hike.The lesson to be learnt here is you can get away with anything if you have the will to pursue your interest If pakistan,taliban can defeat US even we can replicate the same success against China.If China is handled Pakistan will be subdued because they draw their strength from china.

  20. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    Intelligence chiefs of Pakistan, China, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan met in Islamabad to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

    The discussion is being held by Pakistan’s director-general of Inter-Services Intelligence Lt. General Faiz Hameed, according to reports.

    Where is the ‘Vishvguru’ and his James Bond 🤪

  21. Kunal Singh says:

    https://www.aninews.in/news/world/us/us-in-touch-with-india-regarding-over-the-horizon-support-blinken20210914050739

    Sir now US is trying to bring India in its counter-terrorism nonsense. US drones wd be launched from India and to agree on that will be great mistake by Indians.
    What’s ur views

  22. DEBANJAN BANERJEE says:

    Dear Mr Karnad,

    I want to point out the latest events taking place in the region as follows :

    1. US Secretary of State Mr Blinken talks about utilizing bases in India’s North-West for “over the horizon” actions in Afghanistan. This is a very significant event considering that Pakistan has already refused US permission to use its bases for future operations in Afghanistan.
    2. Both Taliban and Pakistan has maintained that the most significant terrorist threat to stability in the region will come from the ISIS-K.
    3. China, Russia and Iran all have said in different capacities that the US is responsible for creation and growth of the ISIS-K in Afghanistan.
    4. Pakistan has recently published a dossier highlighting that India is training ISIS-K in the military bases in Rajasthan.

    So by connecting the above dots is it too far fetched to believe that India on behalf of the US will be training ISIS-K terrorists in Rajasthan to destabilize the region ? MK Bhadrakumar also is hinting it in that way and I am very much sure that a brilliant mind like Mr Doval will cherish these types of collaboration prospects with the US. However this will certainly worsen India’s already frosty relations with Pakistan, China, Iran, Taliban and most importantly Russia as all these countries consider both the US as well as ISIS-K as grave security threats.

    Now MK Bhadrakumar warns that India risks retaliation from the above mentioned countries who are antagonistic towards the US and ISIS-K if it decides to become a front-line state i.e. “new Pakistan” as Pakistan played the same role for the US in the 1980-s.

    I believe the recent visit by Mr Patrushev to Delhi to meet Mr Doval was a stern warning from Mr Putin to desist from these types of actions. To emphasize this point we need to just notice the aftermath of the visit of Mr Patrushev. Firstly he visited Islamabad for a meeting involving spy chiefs from all the neighbors of Afghanistan including China, the central Asian countries and Iran (minus US and India) then Mr Putin telephoned Imran Khan for the 2-nd time in just two months.

    What are your thoughts Mr Karnad on the above analysis of mine ? Do you think India made the right decision in this regard ?

  23. Amit says:

    Looks like the Indian armed forces have correctly concluded that Pakistan is a proxy of China…

    https://m.timesofindia.com/india/india-looking-at-creating-rocket-force-cds-gen-rawat/articleshow/86241305.cms

  24. Krishna Soni says:

    Respected Sir @ Professor Karnad what are your views on
    three party alliance in the Indo-Pacific :AUKUS, for Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. It comes literally days before Biden is scheduled to host Quad leaders in Washington. The messaging could not be more clear. America is leaving the Quad. They are leaving India and Japan high and dry.

    You cannot miss the fact that UK, USA and Australia are all white majority countries. India and Japan are not. If you think that’s just a coincidence, Biden’s speech on AUKUS makes his thinking even more clear. He explains that this is all about getting European powers to assert themselves in the Indo-Pacific. No, Biden is not denying the colonial undertones here. On the contrary, he is highlighting it.
    It gets even worse, because this isn’t even about white people. This is even more narrow minded than that. This is about the Anglo-Saxons only!
    French Embassy in Washington has also registers protest through twitter. In diplomacy, it rarely gets more emotional than this. The French are shocked, stunned and aggrieved.

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