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India–the Fly In the Ointment of New Afghan Paradigm


India–the Fly In the Ointment of New Afghan Paradigm

* Former diplomats say US supplied Pakistan N-capable F-16s to fight India

By Iftikhar Gilani

NEW DELHI: Indian strategic community believes Pakistan and the US may have come up with a hush-hush understanding on Afghanistan in the ongoing strategic dialogue, aimed at marginalising Indian role in Afghanistan.

Former Indian foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh asked the Indian government not to be complacent over the US refusal to sign a nuclear deal with Pakistan. He called for focusing on the future of Afghanistan and India’s relationship with the central Asia.

Fighting: Mansingh said the nuclear-capable F-16s and maritime aircraft supplied by the US to Pakistan were not to fight terrorism, but to fight India.

Experts believe that the situation emerging in Afghanistan was a matter of concern for India and any deal with the Taliban would affect its interests. Former deputy national security adviser Satish Chandra said Pakistan had been given a veto over the future of Afghanistan, which was a big setback for India. “Pakistan wants to become the sole spokesperson of the Taliban. Pakistan has eliminated all potential mediators between the Taliban and the US so as to be the sole mediator with the Taliban,” said Alok Bansal, deputy director at the National Maritime Foundation (NMF).

Meanwhile, India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took exception to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying, “Pakistan’s struggles are my struggles”, asking if America was a party to anti-India terror activities emanating from Islamabad. “Clinton’s statement at a meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi amazingly belies an utter disregard for facts and history,” BJP spokesman Tarun Vijay said. He criticised the US for denying India access to David Headley, the American who confessed in a US court of plotting the Mumbai terror attack. “Instead of strengthening a dictatorial power centre supported and bolstered by the Pakistan Army, the US would have done better by asking Pakistan’s leaders to be actively helping India in its war on terror,” he said.

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