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Indian presence in Afghanistan is history!

Indian presence in Afghanistan is history!

News reports in the Bharati (aka Indian) seem to confirm inside information that Delhi has completed a very serious evaluation of its foreign policy, after the debacle in Tehran, Istanbul and London. While the US is engaging the entire Pakistani leadership in a colossal meeting to discuss short term and long strategic partnership with Islamabad—the Bharati huddle is producing conflicting stories. One faction in Delhi says “stay the course”. The other faction is saying “reduce the losses, and leave while it can”.

The only difference in opinion between the two approaches is the public and private posturing. Those who wish to proclaim loudly “we will stay” will slowly melt away. Those who wish to leave right away “want to do so with a public announcement“. Already there is a stampede of Bharati consular and other employees making a bee line for the Kabul airport. The exodus of Bharatis from Afghanistan continues unabated while Delhi continues to make public pronouncements that it is “staying the course“.

  • Paring down of the operations of its missions in Afghanistan
  • The operations of the Indian medical mission has already been put on hold
  • Government is also planning to put all the Indians working in projects like power and road together to ensure their safety

The Times of India story clearly describes the withdrawal strategy being discussed. The US has actually asked Bharat to reduce its consular presence in Afghanistan. One does not need a dozen consulates and sub offices to issue a dozen visas to Afghans.

India is looking at various options including paring down of the operations of its missions in Afghanistan in the wake of terror attacks on Indians there.

Government is also planning to put all the Indians working in projects like power and road together to ensure their safety, reliable government sources said on Wednesday.

This follows an assessment made by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon’s visit to Kabul last week in the wake of terror attack on Feb 26 on guest houses frequented by Indians in which seven Indians were killed.

Apart from the embassy in Kabul, Indian has consulates in Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad.

The sources said that an advisory may also be issued asking all Indians now now in Afghanistan to return home.

They recalled that the operations of the Indian medical mission has already been put on hold after the Feb 26 attack in which the hand of […]

Taliban  terrorists, […]  had targeted the Indian embassy twice in the past.  On July 7, 2008, 60 people, including four Indians–one IFS official and a brigadier-ranked official were killed in the attack, while on Oct 8 last year, four ITBP jawans were among those injured. Hindustan Times. Press Trust Of India, New Delhi, March 10, 2010

Despite vociferous denials by the Foreign Secretary of Bharat, the fact remains that Bharat is packing its bags in Afghanistan.  Ms. Rao again repeated the line that has been rejected by the US, the UK and about 60 other countries which includes Russia and China and all of Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors. The inevitable has happened. Bharati presence in Afghanistan was on the backs of the Northern Alliance. That Alliance has withered away. Even Mr. Karzai is not in favor of Delhi staying–after Delhi backed Abdullah Abdullah during the election. Mr. Karzai is in the Pakistan camp together with Mr. Ahmedinijad of Iran, and Mr. Tayyip of Turkey. Turkey, Pakistan and Iran have taken charge in Afghanistan with the consensus of the present and future Afghan government.

Mr. Krishna put a brave front in the face of requests from the Embassy staff who want to leave Afghanistan. Delhi’s worst nightmare: A “Taliban” (Pakhtun) government in Kabul

The Hindustan Times a story is self contradictory displaying the panic in Delhi.

  • External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Saturday said that no employee of the Indian embassy in Kabul has sought to return to India despite growing security concerns in Afghanistan.
  • He, however, added there were some requests for transfer on account of family compulsions that would be considered.
  • “Out of around 40 to 45 employees, not a single one offered to return. They said they would live through it,” he said

Mr. Krishna said that no one has asked to leave. Then in the same breath, he says there have been some requests to leave. Which is it Mr. Krishna?

They have been “dumping” bricks in Delhi–ever since President Obama announced his withdrawal plan from Afghanistan, sugar coated with a temporary surge. The brick analogy is valid in Delhi. The words “Exit Strategy” must have hit the likes of Shashank Joshi and his acolytes like a ton of bricks. 2011 must have sounded like the Mayan calendar’s prophecy of the end of a calendar (era) or the end of time. Hardly had Delhi recovered from the insult of a “naheen-na-no-nyet-nada-non” on operationalization of the 123 Nuclear deal, that Mr. Manmohan Singh had to hear the bad news from Washington. The Bharati media was still incensed about the American refusal to support Bharati quest for a seat on on the UNSC. Now they must prepare for the inevitable–cutting down to size the plans of Delhi to reach Central Asia.

‘A victory for the Taliban in Afghanistan would have catastrophic consequences for the world, particularly for South Asia, for Central Asia, for the Middle East. Religious fundamentalism in the ’80s was used to defeat the Soviet Union. If this same group of people that defeated the Soviet Union now defeats America, this would embolden them in a manner which could have catastrophic consequences for the world at large.Prime Minsiter Singh

Mr. Singh’s warnings were ignored by the world which wants to negotiate with the Taliban and bring peace to the region.

Pakistan will have to tread carefully. An overly aggressive policy in Afghanistan will rankle many of the powers to be. Slowly but surely, the Durand Line has to be erased, and the inevitable union between Afghanistan Pakistan will emerge.

President Zardari recently visited Tajikistan and agreed to build a rail and road network from Dushambe to Gwader. This surely did rankle feathers in Delhi. The Bharati defense establishment is in a tizzy. Unable to come up with a proper reply, they are going through the motions of a diplomatic response. Since Russia brokered the deal between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan, Delhi is unable to undo the alliance. Premier Singh could not go to Dushambe so the Delhi bureaucracy did the next best thing, they are sending President Pratibha Patil’s to visit to Tajikistan on September 2. Pakistan cannot remain impervious to the threat of spread of challenges from Afghanistan to neighboring countries. It has been very active indeed

Delhi is fishing on troubled waters seeking alliances with countries way beyond its shores. Foreign interference, regional rivalry, Bharati dreams of hegemony play active parts in Delhi’s designs. For Bharat the violent manifestations of separatism and extremism add to the potential for instability beyond the Amu Darya and the Kabul river– in Central Asia.

India with dreams of super power status is the biggest loser in this peace deal. The dozens “Consulates” (and Centers) should be packing their bags. One cannot imagine any circumstance where the current level of Indian influence has any staying power in Afghanistan. The Indian soldiers ostensibly there to protect their construction workers will have to go back where they came from. The construction work will be slowed down and wound up. The Indian presence follow the same residence that allowed Lord Curzon to pursue a policy of On to the Oxus, but had to retreat after the defeats at Maiwand etc. The Indian delegation had to pack up its bags and leave Kabul after the Soviets left Afghanistan. A similar fate awaits India.

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