Ties between Kabul and New Delhi

Published: October 5, 2011
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Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) arrive for signing of a joint statement at Hyderabad House in New Delhi October 4, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) arrive for signing of a joint statement at Hyderabad House in New Delhi October 4, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

The conciliatory words from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, terming Pakistan a “brother” will not really undo the hurt felt in Islamabad by the agreement reached between India and Afghanistan on October 5 — Kabul’s first strategic pact with another nation. Signatures were placed on various important agreements after a visit by Karzai to New Delhi and what appear to have been extremely affable talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The central point of the deal, which also touches upon cooperation in other areas, essentially envisages a plan under which India will help train Afghan security forces — as they prepare to take over the defence of their own country once the US pulls out — a moment that is now rapidly approaching.

The accord means some of the worst fears of at least some elements in Pakistan have now changed into reality. The nexus that has been developing for some years between Kabul and New Delhi has already caused a great deal of trepidation, particularly in military circles, where the thinking runs along a single track: control over Kabul and the events that take place there is vital to Pakistan’s strategic assets. The notion of an ‘enemy’ country gaining charge there is difficult to stomach, and in the lexicon of the military, this essentially means that Pakistan is flanked on either side by nations who are not allies. The idea that “my enemies’ friend is my enemy” runs strong. And of course the current state of relations between Pakistan and the US adds a further dimension of angst to the situation.

But we must live with realities and not with imagined scenarios of what should be. Kabul, of course, has a right to choose its own friends. But the elements who make the decisions in our own country must also consider why it is wary of its own designs and what impact our links with militant elements will have on a country that has already suffered immensely because of the Taliban. The accord with India will have a clear impact on Pakistan. We must reconsider where we stand and find ways of building peace across the whole region. This, after all, is the only way to combat terrorism and create the greater trust that we need in ties with our neighbours.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2011.

 

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Doctor
    Oct 5, 2011 - 10:05PM

    Basically, we Pakistanis need to wake up and realize we’ve meddled in Afghanistan far too long and had very bad results for both Afghanistan and ourselves. India has invested in building infrastructure. Perhaps we will finally learn a lesson and stop worrying about “strategic depth” and focus on “strategic partnerships, investment, and trade”.

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  • Sean
    Oct 5, 2011 - 10:18PM

    Reality?
    …..
    Afghanistan (Northern Alliance) government with a pashtun puppet (who lacks ligitamacy with majority of the Pashtun population) was already in firm alliance with India. What you see is just a overt showing to punish Pakistan publically. Yes of course Pakistan is backing anti-northern alliance groups… Nothing has changed, because India and RAW were already training and supporting a superficially installed government…which does not include the pashtun population.
    ……
    India is just repeating history…backing an illigitamate coallition of minorities. It will have to accept the consequences of a pashtune backlash and future ties that may exclude its interest.

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  • Sean
    Oct 5, 2011 - 10:22PM

    Reality?
    …..
    Afghanistan (Northern Alliance) government with a pashtun puppet (who lacks ligitamacy with majority of the Pashtun population) was already in firm alliance with India. What you see is just an overt showing to punish Pakistan publically. Yes of course Pakistan is backing anti-northern alliance groups… Nothing has changed, because India and RAW were already training and supporting a superficially installed government…which does not include the pashtun population.
    ……
    India is just repeating history…backing an illigitamate coallition of minorities. It will have to accept the consequences of a pashtun backlash and future ties that may exclude its interest.

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  • gopal
    Oct 5, 2011 - 10:37PM

    Hi Friends ,

    Why we cant leave Poor afgan people to decide their own future already they have suffered a lot. Why pakistam thinks they want to control Afgan with the help of Taliban ? Please remember a pharse ” Jaise Karni Waisi Bharani” or “Zo boya wo paoge” I request to my fellow friends see what you have got after independence ? No peaceful life , deaths , no education etc. Please interospect and think what we want to give our future generation.

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  • Liz D.
    Oct 5, 2011 - 10:40PM

    Pakistan wishes to move Afghanistan back to the stone age by installing a pro-Pakistan Taliban/Haqqani network regime, with mandatory burqas, ban on female education, public stoning, and oppression of women.

    The other neighbor, India is helping build Afghanistan’s infrastructure, training its security forces, providing economic assistance, and setting up schools and hospitals there. Pakistan can never help Afghanistan the way India is doing. India should step in to fill the void when we leave in 2013.

    Pakistan has no right to destroy another nation (Afghanistan) to suit its purpose. They better learn to deal with it.Recommend

  • Menon
    Oct 5, 2011 - 11:33PM

    Here is a question to all Pakistani’s who think Afghanistan betrayed them: Who in this world would want to see Pakistani influence in Afghanistan a second time? Be honest and raise your hand?

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  • Sad but true
    Oct 5, 2011 - 11:52PM

    Basically, Taliban/Haqqani and other A B C terrorists need a place to govern from. Yes, Pakistan has helped all these outfits and they have now gone out of control. PAK has to choices:

    1/ Go after these terrorists and then be consumed by it and they will overtake PAK, or
    2/ keep on supporting them so that they can create havoc in AF.

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  • It is EconomyStupid
    Oct 6, 2011 - 12:05AM

    “Pakistan is flanked on either side by nations who are not allies”. Wecome to the club. Lost opprtunities due to bad policies.

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  • Grace
    Oct 6, 2011 - 1:31AM

    @Doctor: I don’t know who you are folling with your comment ” we Pakistanis”- you are most definitely not a Pakistani but an Indian when you talk about Pakistani meddling and India building infrastructure. Otherwise you would know the West worked with Pakistan to free Afghanistan from Soviet rule and then abandoned Pakistan with all types of foreign fighters who created instability. As for India, they are the ones doing the meddling since they use their lackeys in Afghanistan to send agents to commit acts of terror and crime in Pakistan.
    Most Pakistanis would be happy to see the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan sealed permanently and all the Afghani refugees sent back.

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  • Ashamed
    Oct 6, 2011 - 2:51AM

    “My enemies’ friend is my enemy”. How true of the all weather friendship between China and Pakistan? What else is there to bind these two countries?

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  • Anwar
    Oct 6, 2011 - 5:08AM

    Afghanistan is a sovereign country and has every right to decide who its friends can be. Rather than worrying over it, why don’t we join the peace brigade and work on bringing economic prosperity to our country. Our policy of alienating every country in the region is only doing us harm not god.

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  • maxwell
    Oct 6, 2011 - 7:33AM

    Dear Pakis, problem is, you want to have your cake and eat it too…Sadly, not possible. And who helps which country, is a subject to be decided by the country concerned. Why are you so bothered.
    And if Afghans living on your side are such a problem, then say this to UN, ask them to shift them to Afghanistan or whereever and stop your payments for keeping the refugies. See, if the Zardaris and Gilanis of your country want it. Pakistanis keep talking about these refugies as if they are obliging anyone by doing so, they should not do something that they are not comfortable with and let me assure you, no country does anything, that it is uncomfortable with. International politics is about serving self/ mutual self interests.
    You problem is, you want have trade relations with India for economic prosperity of Pakistan and you want to have right to curse India too…Sorry, not done…

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  • maxwell
    Oct 6, 2011 - 7:35AM

    Lets assume Doctor is an India, how does it matter? Talk about the message not the messenger. And as far as policy in Afghanistan is concerned, you are supporting taliban, we are supporting local government, whoever comes to power, that side gains…so dont crib. You work on your taliban and see what you get, India will work on positive aspects of Afghanistan and see what we get…:)

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  • maxwell
    Oct 6, 2011 - 7:39AM

    By the way folks, instead of giving your comments, would you like to talk about this editorial published in this pakistani newspapers??? This is a pakistani newspaper and view is from Pakistan…and i am sure, view of an educated Pakistani.

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  • BruteForce
    Oct 6, 2011 - 8:57AM

    Strategic Depth doesn’t seem to strategic, does it? In fact, it has lead to “Strategic Death”, which has driven away an average Afghan away from Pakistan, into the warm embrace of India.

    Afghanistan, could well turn out to be India’s Israel!

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  • Doctor
    Oct 6, 2011 - 10:56AM

    @ Grace – Do you mean “fooling” instead of “folling”? No, I am not sitting in India. I am in the US. Your response to me is what ails my country. You have no real argument against what I’m saying but claim I am Indian. Why can Pakistanis not have an honest debate without being told they are not nationalistic? In fact, I’m far more of a Pakistani nationalist than you are because I don’t want Pakistan to fall apart because of the stupidity of the Deep State.

    Okay so Pakistan helped keep the Soviets out in the 1980s. After that, what did we do for the Afghans? We interfered to no end in their politics. We violated their sovereignty again and again. You are so blinded by your hatred of others that you can’t see how wrong we were.

    @ Sean – if the Pashtun majority is so anti-India and so pro-Pakistan why do the surveys indicate the opposite? Why is Pakistan the least favored country by ALL Afghans? Did you see the recent survey where Afghans favored India (the majority) while only 9% had a positive perception of Pakistan. Wake up to reality yourself brother.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Oct 6, 2011 - 1:57PM

    @Doctor:
    I fully agree with your both comments. Pakistan could have a played a positive role in Afghanistan but for its backing the most dangerous outfit who is not acceptable to majority of Afghans but would also endanger peace in the entire region. I donot know whether India would fully succeed in its mission to keep this outfit away from capturing power in Afghanistan but nevertheless it is persuing a noble cause and God always helps those who follow the right path.

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  • Amjad
    Oct 6, 2011 - 5:51PM

    @maxwell: Yes we have repeatedly asked for full repatriation of Afghani refugees back to Pakistan. The pittance we get for housing refugees amounts to next to nothing. Most of the money is spent from Pakistan’s own limited resources to care for these Afghanis for several decades. Pakistanis are sick of the cross border interference of India and their puppets in Afghanistan. We need to close the border with Afghanistan. Let them deal with the Indians all they want. Historically they have been India’s supporters but Pakistan doesn’t have to deal with these people.Recommend

  • RockSolid
    Oct 6, 2011 - 8:33PM

    A pawn of CIA is playing the old tricks which Soveit Puppets in Afghanistan played with Pakistan in those days. Dont matter anything… 3 million refugees in Pakistan, with alll trade through Pakistan only Karzai talk these kind of things.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Oct 7, 2011 - 6:00PM

    @Amjad:
    Seems you are not liking the taste of your own medicine. You did this to India for decades. Now enjoy.

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  • Stevenson
    Oct 10, 2011 - 6:11AM

    @Tony Singh: Do you mean the way that the Kashmiris have been enjoying state terrorism and barbarity in occupied Kashmir the last 60 odd years? Maybe you are right, when India gets more of its own medicine they will think twice about terrorizing Kashmiris and respect the Un resolution that allows the people there to choose their own destiny freely.

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