Recently, US Secretary of State John Kerry elaborated on the need for India to take on a proactive role in Afghanistan’s elections next year. According to him, Indian involvement in Afghanistan could lead to greater institutional stability in the country and help Afghanistan’s nascent, troubled democracy. This statement may ring alarm bells in Pakistan, especially its security establishment. A key concern of Pakistan’s strategists for post-2014 Afghanistan is not to be encircled by its traditional arch-rival. Pakistan has often stated its geostrategic concerns to the world, including to the US. Secretary Kerry’s comments do little to alleviate those reservations. With India to the east and an Indian presence in Afghanistan to the west, Pakistan’s conventional security paradigm gets challenged. Indian influence in Afghanistan may also lead to Pakistan further militarising the Durand Line. Pakistan may even be pushed to embark on a relentless drive to increase its influence in that country, even if it were to involve alignment with the Taliban.
Unless Pakistan’s concerns are taken seriously, it is likely that a post-2014 Afghanistan may turn into an arena for proxy wars between India and Pakistan. This is recipe for further instability in the region. Afghanistan and Pakistan need to forge constructive relations so that they can fight the menace of terrorism together. Hostilities between them would allow insurgencies to foster, further relegating the region to a spiral of militancy.
The Af-Pak question cannot be answered without the involvement of India, but the US’s reluctance to view Pakistan’s concerns as viable does nothing to mend South Asia’s most fragile relationship. Lastly, elections in Afghanistan must be an Afghan-led process where all political factions in that country agree to resolve their differences through dialogue rather than through guns, while all regional countries firmly commit that they will not interfere with its internal political process.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2013.
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either india plays the same old game or decides to join hands for regional peace remember Pakistan can go well in both ways !!!!!! so choosing the all old strategy would only make india hoist with its own petard
@Usman Chaudhry: @Aschraful Makhlooq: Guys! Seriously you think India is that big a fool? Rest assured that we shall not be coming into Afghanistan in a military capacity. Rather we shall enable the afghans to resist terrorists and their sponsors.
There is nothing to worry about for Pakistan, we should all welcome this strategic American move to deploy India at front and pushing itself on the back seat. So something which the US/ISAF hasn't been able to achieve it is asking for India to do its job. Welcome, most welcome. Come and face the music. It won't take two weeks for India to finally pack up its bag and run back home. We have nothing to fear, rather we should see the debacle of self-destruction.
Now India's turn to waste its money and troops in Afghanistan because US has wasted lots of money but got nothing because John Kerry is emphasizing and insisting on India to play the vital role in Afghanistan's security after withdrawal in December 2014......
@naeem khan Manhattan,Ks:
The same logic should apply to Pakistan as well. You are talking about Britain, USSR & US burning their hands with involvement in Afghanistan. While others have become wiser with the experience, Pakistan is still struck with its myopic view without realizing that it has burnt itself.
Afghanistan is a sovereign country and has the right to decide the kind of relationship it wants to have with other nations. As for "encirclement" paranoia, it must be pointed out that Pakistan has a military relationship with China and has allowed China to encircle India and set up bases in Gilgit-Baltistan and Gwadar. If Pakistan can do this, why should it object Afghanistan from having similar relationship with India?
"Indian influence in Afghanistan may also lead to Pakistan further militarising the Durand Line. Pakistan may even be pushed to embark on a relentless drive to increase its influence in that country, even if it were to involve alignment with the Taliban."
This is an amusing statement devoid of knowledge of facts. Pakistan did all that the ET editor is threatening, in the 1990's when India was never involved in Afghanistan.
why so many Indians?
Here we go again and see these Indian trolls commenting nonsense, I have often wondered where do they get time to be scanning the Pakistani papers unless they are paid by their government to do so and immediately rebuttal any suggestion contrary to their interests. They know and we know what they want in Afghanistan, but Pakistan will resist their hegemony in Afghanistan because the likes of Karzai will not be there after the Americans leave for good. Indians could learn a lesson from US involvement in Afghanistan despite with all their might, the net result is that they are negotiating with the Taliban which they said that they would never do, hopefully India will not get in this quagmire just to play this hegemonic game. On another thought may be they should get involved and burn their fingers and perhaps that will keep them away from Afghanistan and Pakistani borders specially from Jalalabad. It will be interesting to see how long the Indian Consulate at Jalalabad remains open in the heart of Pukhtuns land when Americans and Karzai vacate Afghanistan.
@Ali: Good idea, but is Pakistan army ready for it?
Within next few years world will want India even to stabilize Pakistan. Pakistan on its own can never be a stable country.
it seems that all the nosepokers across the border have found a place
Stable Afghanistan will be start of end of pakistan, even taliban and mullah omer does not recognize durand line, Stable afgan's first goal will be get back their land and they will for sure support Baloch's freedom, pak/punjabi army cannot fight multiple front If we allow for stable and prosperous Afghanistan say good bye to pakistan
Pakistan does have legitimate concerns with Afghanistan. Instead of working around with third parties why don't we actually take these concerns to the Indians and Afghans and openly discuss them?
That way we all know each others apprehensions and come up with a working solution. At the end of the day these 3 countries have to work together and it has to be a tri-lateral agreement without any third party involvement.
Isn't this exactly what Pakistan has been doing for past 3 decades, even without Indian influence/intervention in Afghanistan? Why would it be any different??
Pakistan is a fundamentalist, ideological state, which thinks Afghanistan as 'its property'! Afghanistan is an independent country, and it's only misfortune is that it is land locked and has to rely on Pakistan for transit.
If USA is (wrongly) looking to India, to stabilize Afghanistan - it is because Pakistan can only be a destabilizing force.
India is trying to act as a superpower, which it is not. India should better focus on its internal powerty and secutity related issues. Opening new fronts is not going to help India and few lessions should be learnt from China.
The whole issue is moot from the perspective of Pakistan. Far from influencing its neighbors, Pakistan will do well if it manages to keep its union intact as a single entity. The headwinds Pakistan faces is enormous and with the economy in tatters, adventurism is the last thing Pakistan can afford.
@David_Smith: What bothers Pakistan is thE legitimate worry that a well trained ANA might resist Afghan Taliban and prevent Pakistan from reinstating their much cherished strategic depth.
ET Editors" You are right to voice Pakistan's concerns..but please take a closer look at those concerns, what does India get by surrounding Pakistan? think about it rationally and coolly..whats there in Pakistan that India wants? Nothing is the answer. All Mr Kerry said that India should take a pro-active role in Afghanistan elections. The whole world ( except of course Pakistan) has a high regard for India's election commission..and if help is provided in conducting elections smoothly and fairly, why should Pakistan crib? Having said that, India, or for that matter any country, will not allow its citizens to be prey for gun wielding goons who get training, support and weapons from you all know where.... Afghanistan and India are two sovereign nations and it is for them to decide what sort of relationship they want to have.
All Pakistanis are concerned with Pakistani Intrests ... So are Indians ... Fair game ... One who has a long vision wins !!!!
An unfortunate piece. What the Americans want is for India to remain involved in Afghanistan's development even after 2014, i.e., not cut and run fearing an adverse security environment. In addition, an Indian presence would be reassuring to other countries that might see an Indian departure as some ominous sign. In the past, India has been asked to train Afghan personnel since it is cheaper. The US wants a continuation. There will be no Indian military in that country. What is it that worries Pakistan?
A key factor in India's decision to support the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and the current government there is the hijacking for ransom of flight IC-814 from Kathmandu and the murder of one Indian honeymooner, Rippan Katyal.
This happened in Kandahar, where the hijacked plane was taken. Since that day, the rationale for India's involvement in Afghanistan is clear - India has legitimate security interests in ensuring that Afghan territory is not used by Pakistani non-state-actors or Pakistani state proxies who are waging war against India.
"The Af-Pak question cannot be answered without the involvement of India" ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The ditorial fails to lineate an Indian involvement in Afghanistan that would be acceptable to Pakistan. Or is no role acceptable?:)
@Prakash: One could add that NOTHING prevents pakistan from undertaking a positive , sincere role in Afghanistan
From Pakistan's point of view its pretty dark. The boa is constricting real tight.To the east India. To the west Afghanistan. Iran is no friend. Pakistan has no right on East Punjab's water. Kashmir rivers are being dammed legally. Now Kabul river will be dammed. US is no longer a benefactor. China and KSA demand much more than their pound of flesh. Taliban is killing anybody and everybody. Population is growing by leaps and bounds. Pretty dark.
Go ahead pakistan align with taliban we Indians will sit back watch. If insecurity is a valid reason to align with Taliban then india should feel insecure about Pak- Lanka relationship in the military arena, so by that coin should india also hire some guns to fight Pakistan
No country in the world likes Pakistan. U kill foreigners and ur own citizens. ur worried abt another country involvement in your neighbouring country.
"Pakistan may even be pushed to embark on a relentless drive to increase its influence in that country, even if it were to involve alignment with the Taliban." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "Afghan endgame: Pakistan has greatest influence on Taliban, says Af-Pak envoy" Another headline in ET.So this influence is without alignment? eh?
Editors, Have you thought why India would seek to encircle Pakistan? To what end? Left to themselves, Pakistanis are capable of destroying themselves in a more efficient manner than anything India can possibly accomplish.
"The Af-Pak question cannot be answered without the involvement of India, but the US’s reluctance to view Pakistan’s concerns as viable does nothing to mend South Asia’s most fragile relationship."
Even if US accepts your viewpoint, it will do nothing to mend India-Pakistan relationship until Pakistan revisits its foreign policy of trying to obtain KAshmir via overt or covert aggression.
"Unless Pakistan’s concerns are taken seriously, it is likely that a post-2014 Afghanistan may turn into an arena for proxy wars between India and Pakistan."
Are you threatening India with a proxy war? Sorry blackmail has not worked in the past and will not work again. India does not choose to start any war but it is no longer the pacifist nation face by Mughals. Aggression will be met with determination and India's borders and national interests will be defended.
this is a ploy by US to involve india in doing its dirty works.we must resist it and keep our hands off afghanistan.sadly there are many in the country will start gloating over our IMPORTANCE at world stage without thinking twice about the consequences.
Indian involvement in Afghanistan is limited to development effort and building institutions.So even after prodding by present Afghan President ,India is not going to send its troops to Afghanistan.US only wants India to help Afghanistan to grow as a liberal democratic country -Pakistan can only strenfhten the regressive Islamic conservatism in Afghanistan.So what choice is left for Western Democratic Country to support.If Pakistan is able to shed its policy of strategic depth towards Afghanistan and thousand cuts towards India ,All the country in the region can fight the scourage of terrorism together.
India to the East, India to the West - why does this rign alarm bells in Pakistan? Instead it should welcome it - this region needs a dose of secularism and democracy.
Express Tribune has channged!
Editor: Pakistan may even be pushed to embark on a relentless drive to increase its influence in that country, even if it were to involve alignment with the Taliban
Been there, done that - and now you have over 50,000 killed by terrorism. You again want to align with the Taliban (as if you were anti-Taliban at any time); be our guest and enjoy some more blow-back !
I have noticed a clear-cut shift in the editorial policy of your newspaper since PML(N) came to power. It seems you want to have a fair share in the destruction of your country.