India's Best Option In Afghanistan

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PLEASE READ FIRST POST OF THREAD BEFORE VOTING

1) It is better for India that the US/NATO stay in Afghanistan indefinitely.
28
24%
2) It is better for India if the US/NATO begin leaving Afghanistan by 2011 or so.
29
25%
3) If you picked 1: India should offer troop deployment to Afghanistan to encourage US/NATO to remain
12
10%
4) If you picked 1: India should use all leverage to encourage US/NATO to remain, short of offering troops
9
8%
5) If you picked 2: India should revive the Iran-Russia alliance and back the mainly non-Pashtun, anti-Taliban forces.
19
17%
6) If you picked 2: India should back Karzai with all available resources, including possible nuclear umbrella.
5
4%
7) If you picked 2: India should back other actors, including Pashtun groups currently part of the "Taliban" if necessary.
13
11%
 
Total votes: 115

Rudradev
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India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Rudradev » 07 Apr 2010 06:00

The question is: Given the current situation in AfPak, and given what we know about all the players there and their current motivations/ambitions/capabilities...

What is the best option (of those listed) that India has to secure its long-term strategic interests in Afghanistan?

You may vote for TWO of the offered options

Please pick ONE choice between Option 1 & Option 2.

If you picked Option 1, please pick ONE additional option between Option 3 & Option 4.

If you picked Option 2, please pick ONE additional option between Options 5, 6 and 7.

This is a bit tricky so I will keep the "allow re-voting" option on!

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby negi » 07 Apr 2010 06:06

Voted '2' , now the other vote is tricky will think over it and vote later .

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby munna » 07 Apr 2010 06:07

Voted 2

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby RamaY » 07 Apr 2010 06:38

1 & 3

The influence should transfer from US to India.

India can chose it's alliances but cannot change it's neighbors unless they become part if India, which is a near-impossible in medium-long term (25-100 years)

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2010 06:48

In my view, Option 1 (and sub-options) is predictable trouble for India with stability in Af-Pak on someone else's terms and stability for US-NATO

Option 2 is more chaos in Afghanistan. opportunities more chaos for Pakistan, more chaos for the West and continued trouble for India.

Since India gets screwed both ways - I prefer 2 and 7. 2 so that everyone else also gets screwed without being able to specifically direct trouble at India and India has other options.

If Afghanistan gets screwed - we will try and help and can keep Pakistan busy on its eastern border. In more 9-11s occur - ho hum. So what?

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby brihaspati » 07 Apr 2010 07:07

2+7 appears the best Chankian one given the options. With a clear understanding that it should not be a till-death-do-us-part vow. Future could see us swinging other ways onlee.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby RamaY » 07 Apr 2010 08:22

shiv wrote:In my view, Option 1 (and sub-options) is predictable trouble for India with stability in Af-Pak on someone else's terms and stability for US-NATO

Option 2 is more chaos in Afghanistan. opportunities more chaos for Pakistan, more chaos for the West and continued trouble for India.

Since India gets screwed both ways - I prefer 2 and 7. 2 so that everyone else also gets screwed without being able to specifically direct trouble at India and India has other options.

If Afghanistan gets screwed - we will try and help and can keep Pakistan busy on its eastern border. In more 9-11s occur - ho hum. So what?


Learned something today. Thanks Shiv-ji.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Muppalla » 07 Apr 2010 08:34

I voted (1) and (4).

(2) and (7) looks good on paper but it will be successful only if (1) and (4) are sustained for another five to ten years. Pasthuns should be determined to fight Pakis and there should be no Islam based friendship. It is only possible if Pastuns are hit by NATO using Paks.

We did (2) and (7) before taliban tookover. All we can get leaverage is some minority groups like Northern Alliance. I do not think the situation is ripe for India to explore leaverages inside Pathans/Taliban.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby a_kumar » 07 Apr 2010 09:05

(1) and (3)

Muppala beat me to it, but still (2) comes a whole load of unknowns.

Last time around (2) lead to
- Pakistani takeover (oops.. sorry Taliban)
- We got a pretext through IC814.. what could we do? What would we do if same would happen again?

This time around, it will be worse.
- Same old geography coming into the picture again, we don't have a direct link, so all we can do is huff-puff.
- India can do ziltch in face of zealous Pakistani strategists without force projection, which is impossible.
- Guess who is next door and having an itch now.. China.
- Basically, Pakistan and China by their geography can basically bulldoze everything.
- Only folks who can intervene then again will be US/NATO/Russia. India will just be a spectator cursing Nehru for going to UN.

So gentlemen, (2) IMO is a big no-no.

Last time around, advantages (1) provided were.
- For the first time, Europe had to acknowledge the shady role of Pakistan. Option (2) would let them off the hook to go give sermons again.
- US/NATO is paying price in terms of military and financial, so they feel pinch of Pakistani actions (even if they are smiling about it).

(1) has not outrun its utility.
- Opens an chance for force projection to have some level of active engagement, which will give India power to do anything
- Keeps Pakistan on its toes

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2010 09:43

The other question is - India currently has no direct control over whether 1 or 2 can occur.

Clearly the US/NATO want out and are looking for someone to bail them out. Pakistan has volunteered with its own terms. Nobody else is volunteering.

Can we put a spoke in Pakistan's wheel?

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby negi » 07 Apr 2010 09:50

a_kumar wrote:Last time around (2) lead to
- Pakistani takeover (oops.. sorry Taliban)
- We got a pretext through IC814.. what could we do? What would we do if same would happen again?

How about partition and creation of Pakistan in 1947 ? :lol:

On a serious note if arguments are to be based on ifs and buts then one can also say if US had not poked its sorry nose in the region in first place there would have been no AL Queda and more importantly a powerful ISI and eventually we would not have been discussing this on BRF .


As long as Unkil and its pups remain in Af-Pak India can kiss good bye to IPI , moreoever the whole region will remain unstable with Taliban trying to disrupt Unkil's ops in the region. India as of now has nothing to do with this $hit the attacks on our embassies have been conducted by ISI-LeT combine (again an Unkil's pup) if Unkil and other loonies withdraw their forces India can continue with its developmental projects in the region we can have our troops stationed for protecting our assets in the region .

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Deans » 07 Apr 2010 10:00

I voted 1 & 3.

1, because it is better to have US/NATO troops dying then ours. Besides they would also kill a lot of the
Taliban, reducing the threat to us.

However, I don't see why it has to be a `either' options 3/4 or 5/6/7. It is possible to pursue multiple objectives, particularly if we don't know which one will succeed.

Similarly, each option can be calibarated. For e.g. I voted 3, but I don't think India should send in troops right away.
Our sub options (within option 3) could be:
- Offer to send troops without actually doing so.
- Send a token contingent (like most of NATO does) to guard our embassy (after generating disproportionate Media
hype about India taking on the `white man's burden').
- Send troops (mix of Army/Paramilitary) to protect our interests only (consulates, projects, people).
- Send Medical/Engineering/ Training personnel to work on specific projects.

None of these options will involve being under NATO/US command.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Deans » 07 Apr 2010 10:08

We could pursue options 5,6 & 7 simultaneously - particularly as no one really has a clue as to will come out on top.
Building a Russia-Iran alliance and working with Karzai are not mutually exclusive.
There can always be a back channel discussion with the Taliban (or with the Pak Army).

These options can be pursued irrespective if weather we want the US to stay or leave (options 1 or 2).

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Gagan » 07 Apr 2010 10:51

I havent' voted yet.
But I have news.

Massa energy experts are going into afghanistan once again.

UNOCAL might well be resurrected and rise from the ashes.

I don't think Massa is leaving afghanistan. The CAS pipeline might well see the light of day after all.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Gagan » 07 Apr 2010 11:03

How about a less restrictive voting process.

My suggestion would be:
1. Let US/NATO remain in Afghanistan. As it is I don't see them leaving just yet. India and other nations should plan ahead based on this scenario. Massa is not out to kill and eliminate the taliban - only to take out those who were connected with AlQ in any way. The remnant will be allowed to join the mainstream in Afghanistan, but with a caveat that the religious repression of the past will not recur.
2. India already has good relations with the Northern Alliance. There are taliban elements who have tried to reach out to India in the past. Ultimately one has to recognize that the taliban and the pashtoons have a new found feeling of nationalism which India needs to exploit, encourage and support.
3. Some pashtoon elements are resentful of pakistan's control, but go along because there seems to be no one else to give them a better deal with the powers that be. The taliban want to come to power in Kabul, and only Pakistan seems to guarantee that for them.
India needs to recognize this. The pashtoons are the only force currently in AfPak who are armed adequately enough to pose an existential to the pakistani nation. These guys need to be given a mission and a goal of a greater Pashtoon nation.

Ultimately this question needs to be answered by us:
What does India want in Afghanistan?

*Is it peace, stability and development for the afghan people? If yes, what is in it for us other than trade?
*To prevent Afghanistan from being under pakistan's infuence? How does it affect us?
*To keep pakistan looking behind its back and to unsettle it?
*Major presence in Afghanistan as an access route to CAR?

I would say, we need to join in with forces where India's goals are achieved. No one should be untouchable except for the Pakistani pakjabi elite.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 07 Apr 2010 11:12

2 and 7

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Altair » 07 Apr 2010 11:52

I picked 2 and 5
Honestly, As long as Pakistan and US are getting screwed I dont care anything. They get what they deserve.
Russia-Iran and Non Pashtun alliance gives enough worry for Unkil. We can use that as a lever against Unkil to screw Pakistan.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Ravi Karumanchiri » 07 Apr 2010 12:55

1) It is neither politically nor economically tenable that US/NATO should stay in Afghanistan indefinitely. There is no oil there that would provide motivation to do so, and no potential CAS pipeline would service the US or NATO, so why would US/NATO bother to stay ‘indefinitely’, especially since the Soviets are no more?

2) Whether or not a US/NATO draw-down starting in 2011 is better for India; this is the stated timeline, and there is nothing to suggest it will not be followed, especially since this timeline serves political realities in the US and among the major NATO combat contributors; UK, Canada, Holland and Denmark. Obama faces an election in 2012, and he won’t want to face the electorate while at full strength in Afghanistan – at least the appearance of success is essential by September 2012. Whatever happens, America will find a way to declare victory in Afghanistan, well in advance of November 4, 2012 (the next US presidential election).

3) An Indian troop deployment is a non-starter, as long as the US/NATO is so heavily dependent on Pakistani supply lines – because the Pakistanis would object, and the flow of supplies would certainly be disrupted in a major way. The only way Indian troops could possibly enter the equation, is if Russia and the transiting states could be convinced to allow resupply of all war materials via the northern passages into Afghanistan – including ordinance (which they have yet to do). If India wants to offer its troops, first she has to get the Russians, the Turkmens, Uzbeks and Kyrgyz durably on-side with the resupply effort.

4) Let’s be honest: India has no leverage to encourage US/NATO to remain – most especially short of offering troops.

5) Reviving the ‘Iran-Russia alliance’ is a pipe-dream if ever there was one. On the one hand, the Iranian regime is not on very solid domestic footing, and neither are they inclined to make anything easy for the West; so the Iranians are likely to favour turmoil in Afghanistan, especially if it erodes the American war machine and economy, and constrains American options for manoeuvre while she is vulnerable in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran may publically complain about American encirclement, but the reality is that it gives Iran powerful options to have Americans within striking range of Iranian proxies. As for Russia – the Russians have no appetite for another cold war, and neither the ambition nor cash to get into that whole mess again. What Russia wants is genuine détente with the West – which was denied her after the cold war; and over the longer term, also greater economic integration with the West and indeed anyone who can bring prosperity to Russia (including India). Consider: Over the medium-to-long-term; militarily speaking; Russia, the US/NATO and India all will feel varying degrees of threat emanating from an increasingly powerful and expansionist China – who will likely see the Iranians and Taliban as useful thorns in everyone else’s sides. In brief; Russia and former Soviet republics may possibly be 'brought around' RE Afghanistan, but never Iran -- not in the same way, anyway.

6) Back Karzai with an Indian nuclear umbrella? Why – is Karzai really facing a nuclear threat that would be diminished by an Indian nuclear umbrella? IMO, this is nonsensical in the extreme, especially since Karzai himself is unlikely to want it (never mind that he’s just the mayor of Kabul, after all). If India is looking for someone to back in Afghanistan, it would not be Karzai – indeed, any individual in Afghanistan that is backed by any foreigner, will likely loose-out over the long run. Backing any one person is a recipe for disaster. What India and any other friendly nations should do, is engage in institutional capacity building that results in improvements in the lives of Afghans. This is the best way to gain leverage and build durable goodwill in Afghanistan. This is also the best way to counter Pakistan's gambit there.

7) The hard-core Talibs will always look upon non-Muslims – especially (non-abrahamic) Hindu Indians – as infidels. Even if they can come to an agreement with ‘infidels’, they will never honour that agreement when it becomes inconvenient. Therefore, option #7 is nonsensical also. This notwithstanding; appeals to the nationalistic ambitions of Pashtuns, Balochis, et al., may bear fruit over the medium-to-long term, *IF* the objective becomes the disintegration of Afghanistan into a devolved state, or de-federated collection of different states (but that's a 'big if').

In sum: there are no really good, easy, cheap, short-term winning options for the problems presented by the situation in Afghanistan – not for anyone, least of all, the Afghans themselves. Therefore, expedient ‘solutions’ must be discarded from the outset. Instead, institutional capacity building is essential (rather than power politics), as is the military training and supply of legitimate Afghan forces (instead of anyone’s foreign troops, or narco-warlord's militia). Moreover, any durable solution is likely to arise from integrating the interests of Afghans with Afghanistan’s neighbours and other interested nations (such as the US/NATO) – rather than any ‘zero-sum game’ that might be played between seemingly conflicting interests.

For these reasons, I have voted #1 and #3 – but only for a mission that would focus on training and capacity building, rather than out-and-out combat conducted by foreign forces.

If ever there was a need to clearly identify common interests – Afghanistan is it.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Chinmayanand » 07 Apr 2010 13:07

Rudradev , can you explain why Karzai will need Indian Nuclear umbrella and against whom ?

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Pratyush » 07 Apr 2010 13:35

Voted 2,5,7.

We need to move beyond the US influence in Afghanistan. We should peruse a combination of 5,7.

5,7 are not currently contradictory in my reading as elements of "Taliban " would be amenable to co-existence with India if they are assumed to be pashtoon nationalist. Then they are not going to accept the Durand line. Which makes the life of TSP difficult.

Am not really in favour of 6 as it makes Karzai an equivalent of the Afghanistan. If the choice was presented as Afghanistan instead of Karzai. I would have voted for 6 as well.

JMT

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Sanku » 07 Apr 2010 13:57

(1) & (3)

Let's face it, Shiv's hope that if (2) happens, the terrorists will spread pain around may or may not happen, depends on the deal US strikes with them, what if the cede greater Indian Subcontinent to them for fun in exchange for peace?

Meanwhile (1) is already bleeding them dry, let unocal play there, no amount of oil and gas will pay for the repeated hemorrhage.

Meanwhile, the longer US stays in Afg, the longer would their interests directly get contrasted with that of Pakistan. How long can US play a pure imperial power without bring in any of its own value systems? That to us is "interesting"

However there are chances that a long term unfettered Kshatrapy for the emperor in the neighborhood will create its own power base. We need to counter that, and to that end we need to be present in force. Of course we need to package it as the help which may strengthen the spine of the forces who think cut and run with deal making is higher RoI than staying put.

If and when US leaves, (which will happen anyway since indefinable is not perpetual ) option 2 et al will always be present and would need to be followed. For the time begin lets get a foot in the door under conditions 1. It will be much easier to work with when option (2) eventually happens.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Klaus » 07 Apr 2010 14:14

IMO, the only chance that (7) has is if it is put into action in sync with (5). Another option is to work out an 'uneasy' truce with China to obtain fly-over permission over Xinjiang to enter Afghanistan from the east. This would be the only line of supply for the entire duration until we manage to bring Iran round to our side. Then we would have two lines of supply into Afghanistan, one from the east and the other through the Southwest.

As far as bringing the Iranians to our side, it will take more than an apology (for having voted against them at the IAEA), also it is difficult to guess at this stage as to what Iran might want of us in return. (5) is actually rife with possibility because it basically holds a lot of potential for India to shape events and outcomes to its liking in the ME and Central Asia. Aligning with Iran on the Af-Pak situation does not neccesarily mean that we will put off Israel, geopolitics is seldom a two-way switch, even between two players. Sure its risky but if India wants to be a global player, it must start to act like one. Who knows, India might be able to provide the catalyst on which Iran, Israel and Palestine might be able to settle their differences and bury the hatchet, once and for all. Perhaps a tripartite peace agreement, with India acting as overseer and witness would be unprecedented and historic in the 21st century.

Pipe dream for now, JMT.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby JE Menon » 07 Apr 2010 18:08

Voted 1 & 5.

1. Provided "indefinitely" is not regarded as meaning "forever".
2. There was never "India-Russia-Iran" alliance in Afghanistan. At most it was a coalition of concerned states, each doing mainly its own thing, but collectively providing some coherence in favour of the NA
3. Not sure why the voting is restricted.

Point 2 was added later.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Brad Goodman » 07 Apr 2010 19:39

Voted 2 & 7 though 5 was close too. I think the reson for 2 is once Unkil is out we can throw away the shadow that paki blackmail is putting on our relations with Unkil.

7 if implemented successfully throws strategic depth fantasy right out of window. That is porkies worst nightmare that other countries in general and India in particular cultivating bunnies.

5. We definately need to work with Russia. About Iran not sure might conflict with option 2. Unkil is too sensitive at the moment and that nutjob amhedinejad is not helping anyone help him. Obama was sincere in trying to avoid the showdown but Iran is way to adamant at the moment. We can have back channel talks but definately no big ticket deals like IPI etc.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby SBajwa » 07 Apr 2010 19:46

Voted 2 and 6. Nuclear umbrella for Karzai will undermine China, USA, Pakistan and other players trying to meddle in India's backyard. No need to give umbrella to Karzai just a declaration that "India will provide the technical assistance to the government of Afghanistan in all areas of modern technology including peaceful nuclear cooperation" will do.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Johann » 07 Apr 2010 20:28

There is a third alternative - that the US remains deeply involved in Afghanistan, but gives up its current stance of taking the lion's share of the cost and responsibility for preventing a jihadi/Taliban return to power.

More of a primus inter pares, or even unum inter pares.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby A_Gupta » 07 Apr 2010 20:33

Jinnah's Muslim League/Pakistan has always done well for itself in a 3-party game,
e.g., Congress, British, Muslim League (got Pakistan)
e.g., India, US, Pakistan (in various issues, e.g., Afghanistan)

Therefore option 2 - withdrawal of US & NATO from Afghanistan, so it is no longer a vital concern to US & NATO - is in India's interest.

Given option 2 - what should India do? I'm not voting for any option because the game after US/NATO withdrawal requires tactical flexibility and opportunism.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby RamaY » 07 Apr 2010 20:45

A_Gupta wrote:Jinnah's Muslim League/Pakistan has always done well for itself in a 3-party game,
e.g., Congress, British, Muslim League (got Pakistan)
e.g., India, US, Pakistan (in various issues, e.g., Afghanistan)

Therefore option 2 - withdrawal of US & NATO from Afghanistan, so it is no longer a vital concern to US & NATO - is in India's interest.

Given option 2 - what should India do? I'm not voting for any option because the game after US/NATO withdrawal requires tactical flexibility and opportunism.



Good point. The question is India waits on the side while US/Nato leaves Af-Pak and then make the move OR India moves in first thus ensuring that the baton is not passed to someone else. That is why option 1 is better to start with, IMO. What India does after US/Nato leaves the place will be India's decision.

India going in and then facilitating US/Nato leave will set certain precedences that we can use to our advantage in future.

Agree that it is a logistical challenge but a managed transition will open new opportunities in this area as well.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby negi » 07 Apr 2010 20:49

Best thing about '2' is in absence of Unkil there wont be any GOAT and hence no easy alms for TSP in the name of fight against terror . Hole-broke and his ilk will loose traction , TSPA will be left alone to fend for itself amidst AL quaeda and Jihadi combine and lastly normalcy would return to Afganisthan .

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby mraghu » 07 Apr 2010 21:48

Voted 2 and 7. The "Taliban" wording probably can be changed to the "Pashtun Taliban" or the "Afghani Taliban"

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Sanku » 08 Apr 2010 00:14

Unkil going away from Afganistan does NOT mean Unkil going away from Pakistan.

In fact if Unkil goes away from Afg it will move closer to Pakistan.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby dipak » 08 Apr 2010 01:56

I voted for 1 and 4.

IMHO, for India 1 has been better than 2.

As I can see it - TSP is in far worse condition today than it was 10 yrs back. I tend to attribute it to US presence. US has an enviable record of destroying the place of their action - be it Vietnam or Iraq.
So, the longer Unkil is present in AfPak with ever increasing drones attack, it would be a severe blow to H&D to TSP and fear of hell to Talibunnies, which will keep both TSPA and Talibunnies busy chalking out plans to evade the heat (TSPA doing it covertly with their usual dodgy behaviour and Talibunnies doing it overtly). US presence in Afg takes away lot of energy of Talibs & TSP both.
With US gone, this can be channelized more vigorously against India.

IMHO, current situation suits India as its been for the last few years, specially since 2007.
While US is present in AfPak, as Shiv put it - "let TSP mould in shape" and stew in its own juices.
With each passing year, the gap between TSP and India would get only wider - in terms of military & economic capabilities.
Also, even if US leaves the region, IMHO, TSP would still be able to beg funds in the name of "reconstruction/rebuilding the nation" or the cost of post-war fallout, as US sympathies and deep relationship with them will not fade so soon.

OTOH, if US leaves, it opens up the playing field for Talibunnies, and IMO, it will not be long before Talibans again capture Kabul. Karzai's fall might be quicker than Najib's. Once Talibans are in control in Afg, TSP would be freer to follow anti-India terror agenda more vigorously. As someone pointed out above, India could face again ugly situations like Kandahar.

So, my choices are that US/NATO stay put there for at least 2-5 years more, and India, in the mean time, should do everything to keep them their short of sending troops. Sending troops might not be a good option, since presence of Indian troops would only unite anti-India forces in Afg as well as Pak, and this can stop/divert the current show which is going on with the frequent display of IED mubaraks variant of IEDology.

This is just my speculation at best.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby ldev » 08 Apr 2010 09:23

If the US/NATO leave Afghanistan Pakistan will gradually but inexorably extend its influence into Afghanistan again. Within a maximum of 5 years after their departure it is all but certain that Pakistan will again deploy part of its nuclear forces in Afghanistan giving it that much coveted strategic depth against India. And this will happen irrespective of whatever the Northern Alliance tries to do with Indian and Iranian support.

India offering a nuclear umbrella to Karzai is laughable. Pakistan openly moves nuclear forces into Afghanistan in a post US/NATO environment. Will India launch a first strike in response? Get real guys!!

Nobody other than Russia and Iran can support large scale deployment of forces into Afghanistan without going through Pakistan. The only route for India for large scale (100,000 + troops) is via sea to Iran and then overland into Afghanistan. That will never happen because of the Western/Israeli position towards Iran's nuclear ambitions making that kind of alliance with Iran impossible currently. The Iranians will ask for a price for that which India cannot pay. The best thing for India will be to support a regime change in Iran in return for unfeterred access for an Iranian corridor (under a new Iranian regime) to deploy heavy mechanized Indian Army units in Afghanistan. If Iran is going to be ph*cked it had better be a thorough job and India should throw all its weight behind it so that the current regime collapses and India achieves its objective of boxing in Pakistan via an Iranian corridor. Dealing with a more rational regime I would have said that the threat of an attack followed by a regime change would nudge the counterparty towards a more amenable position and a reasonable price for an Indian corridor. But the current regime in Iran especially Ahmedijinad appear intransigent. So a threat probably will not work.

This IMO would be an example of India acting ruthlessly in its own interest without being namby-pamby.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby shiv » 08 Apr 2010 16:13

ldev wrote:If the US/NATO leave Afghanistan Pakistan will gradually but inexorably extend its influence into Afghanistan again. Within a maximum of 5 years after their departure it is all but certain that Pakistan will again deploy part of its nuclear forces in Afghanistan giving it that much coveted strategic depth against India. .


I have no reason to doubt this. But to me this need not necessarily be bad. Pakistan does not actually control all the land and all the people within the borders of the land called "Pakistan" and is hardly likely to be able to do that in Afghanistan.

The last time Pakistan controlled Afghanistan a nice little diversion was planned away from india that brought a couple of tall buildings down.

Nothing would please me more than seeing Afghanistan sink back into the earlier chaos. Just like India has no access to Afghanistan except via Pakistan and trained terrorists/military forces from Afghanistan (trained by Pakis) have no access to India except via Pakistan. And once in Pakistan they will have the world at their feet, with so many kafirs to attack. I am sure we could handle that and it would be fun to watch Pakistan's ally, the US handling things after that. I can imagine both the Russians and the Taliban ROTFL at the US's downhill skiing.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby ldev » 08 Apr 2010 22:53

shiv wrote:
ldev wrote:I have no reason to doubt this. But to me this need not necessarily be bad. Pakistan does not actually control all the land and all the people within the borders of the land called "Pakistan" and is hardly likely to be able to do that in Afghanistan.

The last time Pakistan controlled Afghanistan a nice little diversion was planned away from india that brought a couple of tall buildings down.

Nothing would please me more than seeing Afghanistan sink back into the earlier chaos. Just like India has no access to Afghanistan except via Pakistan and trained terrorists/military forces from Afghanistan (trained by Pakis) have no access to India except via Pakistan. And once in Pakistan they will have the world at their feet, with so many kafirs to attack. I am sure we could handle that and it would be fun to watch Pakistan's ally, the US handling things after that. I can imagine both the Russians and the Taliban ROTFL at the US's downhill skiing.


So the two clear options now seem to be:

1. Let Pakistan, Taliban, the US and the Northern Alliance find their own level in Afghanistan. India does what it can with the Northern Alliance - this seems to be your suggestion.

2. Or the option suggested by me.

The primary US objective is to pull out from Afghanistan but yet not have Afghanistan again become a base to organize/launch attacks against the US/West. I dont think the US is bothered if Pakistan bases part of its India directed nuclear forces in Afghanistan so long as they dont fall into the hands of anti US forces. One more thing - public memory is short. Most Americans have already forgotten that 9/11 was launched from Afghanistan. Ombaba seems to be the kind of guy who wants slick, short term easy solutions without solving the real problem. That evidence is already there.

If there is one thing that India should have learnt from its 60 year confrontation with Pakistan is that there will be no real peace with that country unless it is destroyed. And that means keeping the pressure on it from all fronts all the time. If India has the financial and military capacity to open up a front via Iran/Afghanistan, that IMO is far better than just hoping that somehow there will be another attack against the West hatched in Afghanistan which will again get Pakistan in trouble or that Pakistan will face blowback from all the terrorists that it has trained in/for Afghanistan. Remember, the reason for the current blowback in Pakistan is because US forces in Afghanistan are twisting the Pakistani Army tail causing the rift between the Pakistani Army and its trained terrorists. Once the US leaves Afghanistan, the terrorists will be free willing and able to direct all their attention to India.

Therefore IMO India has to control the agenda in Afghanistan with the sole purpose of keeping up relentless two front pressure on Pakistan until it cracks. This cannot be left to the random hope that somehow Pakistan will self destruct in the wake of the US withdrawal.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby shiv » 09 Apr 2010 07:08

ldev wrote:So the two clear options now seem to be:

1. Let Pakistan, Taliban, the US and the Northern Alliance find their own level in Afghanistan. India does what it can with the Northern Alliance - this seems to be your suggestion.

2. Or the option suggested by me.

The primary US objective is to pull out from Afghanistan but yet not have Afghanistan again become a base to organize/launch attacks against the US/West. I dont think the US is bothered if Pakistan bases part of its India directed nuclear forces in Afghanistan so long as they dont fall into the hands of anti US forces. One more thing - public memory is short. Most Americans have already forgotten that 9/11 was launched from Afghanistan. Ombaba seems to be the kind of guy who wants slick, short term easy solutions without solving the real problem. That evidence is already there.

If there is one thing that India should have learnt from its 60 year confrontation with Pakistan is that there will be no real peace with that country unless it is destroyed. And that means keeping the pressure on it from all fronts all the time. If India has the financial and military capacity to open up a front via Iran/Afghanistan, that IMO is far better than just hoping that somehow there will be another attack against the West hatched in Afghanistan which will again get Pakistan in trouble or that Pakistan will face blowback from all the terrorists that it has trained in/for Afghanistan. Remember, the reason for the current blowback in Pakistan is because US forces in Afghanistan are twisting the Pakistani Army tail causing the rift between the Pakistani Army and its trained terrorists. Once the US leaves Afghanistan, the terrorists will be free willing and able to direct all their attention to India.

Therefore IMO India has to control the agenda in Afghanistan with the sole purpose of keeping up relentless two front pressure on Pakistan until it cracks. This cannot be left to the random hope that somehow Pakistan will self destruct in the wake of the US withdrawal.


OK let me launch off into my usual "penning my thoughts" exercise.

No I don't think India should deal with the Northern Alliance alone. In fact I am always wary of the word "alliance' - but that is OT. India should deal with the "Taliban" as well and I want to create a "time-out" here to dissect the "Taliban" and parse the meanings of "good Taliban" and "bad Taliban" etc.

IIRC the Taliban initially got traction in Afghanistan because of good governance. Let me explain that. I am not a supporter of sharia as dictated by a beard as a form of "good governance" - but I believe that if you have a human settlement that is being raped by anarchy and multiple violent, unpredictable and greedy forces, any group that imposes discipline and predictable order ("predictable" as in women get shot if they show their legs) - that force is welcomed and supported. The Taliban were bad, but they offered a better alternative and more stability than what came before.

I would like India to do a deal with anyone who supports good governance in the form of self rule for the Pashtuns. That essentially screws up the Durand line and pisses off the Pakis and kills Afghanistan as we know it. But that is and absolute basic pre-condition for stability in the region. Pashtun self governance with no external (Pakistani) interference.Sticking to the Northern Allaince would be useless to build contacts with Pashtun elements of the Taliban.

But any self-ruling Islamic state that has seen rape by Pakistan and the US will be anti-US. Therefore India has to be anti US too in trying to force a Pashtun nation. And anti-Pakistan and anti Afghanistan as wee know it. And anti anyone else who does not want a Pashtunistan. Balochistan and Iran are key elements here for eventual trade between Pashtunistan and the world, but India must be ready to use C17s ( :lol: ) to airlift aid to that nation and help it with governance even if it is an Islamic state.

Pipe dreams maybe. But dreams nevertheless.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby a_kumar » 09 Apr 2010 08:46

shiv wrote:IIRC the Taliban initially got traction in Afghanistan because of good governance. Let me explain that. I am not a supporter of sharia as dictated by a beard as a form of "good governance" - but I believe that if you have a human settlement that is being raped by anarchy and multiple violent, unpredictable and greedy forces, any group that imposes discipline and predictable order ("predictable" as in women get shot if they show their legs) - that force is welcomed and supported. The Taliban were bad, but they offered a better alternative and more stability than what came before.

I would like India to do a deal with anyone who supports good governance in the form of self rule for the Pashtuns. That essentially screws up the Durand line and pisses off the Pakis and kills Afghanistan as we know it. But that is and absolute basic pre-condition for stability in the region. Pashtun self governance with no external (Pakistani) interference.Sticking to the Northern Allaince would be useless to build contacts with Pashtun elements of the Taliban.


The way I look at it, Pashtun self-governance is impossible if its thrown to the wolves..

Sindh at some point used to be Indic... its not anymore.
Kashmir used to have a Indic influence in it, its not anymore.
Persia used to have its own culture, which got replaced

What I am trying to point out (shabbily) is that the fanatic side of Islam has a certain blind and ruthless vision that has certain traits, as put by Brihaspathiji.
(1) on the Indian side [which has not converted lock-stock-barrel into Islamist doctrine or even say early European behaviour] the concept of a total-war was never really adopted, maybe for ideological or religious reasons
(2) a gradual erosion of expansionist vision, if necessary to be supported by military planning and implementation
(3) a lack of viewing war as a means to completely destroy the regenerative capacity of the enemy, something the Islamists and the Brits always recognized. They saw war as an extension of complete aggression at all levels, including following victory up with destruction of intellectual leadership, educational apparatus, cultural centres of resistance and identity, and to secure power - destruction of as much of adult male population with potential to get military skills - as possible.


Left unchecked, they have the necessary ideology to ruthlessly exterminate any dissident society in couple of generations. After one or two generations all civilizational memories will be replaced with trauma and then before you know it, you are one of them.

A generation of Pashtun elders have been carefully assassinated one of another since 1990's by ISI/Saudi hands directly or indirectly. In other words, Pashtun in 5 or 10 years, will NOT be the Pashtun as we imagine anymore. Its leadership will be "Pashtun" for names sake, but will be different beast underneath. This onslaught will continue without a break if Afghanistan is thrown to the wolves, so to speak. Is there a coming back from it? I wonder....

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby shiv » 09 Apr 2010 09:09

a_kumar wrote:Sindh at some point used to be Indic... its not anymore.
Kashmir used to have a Indic influence in it, its not anymore.
Persia used to have its own culture, which got replaced

What I am trying to point out (shabbily) is that the fanatic side of Islam has a certain blind and ruthless vision that has certain traits, as put by Brihaspathiji.



I do not want to get into a detailed argument. Ideology has its own uses, to be used and discarded as necessary. Trying to force Indic ideology on that area has two opponents

1) The Islamists
2) The "true Indians" - the whisky swilling Mughal paki army whores

A war has to be set up between the two to weaken both. Ultimately the Islamists are the more dumb guys (IMO) - with a current inability to discard islamic ideology in favor of pragmatism when needed as the Paki army does.

I say support the ideologues in the guise of "good bious governance".

If "indic values" have to be re imposed - that needs to be kept pending as a later plan. It is not only Islamists who may have a long term strategy. Kafirs can have that too.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby Gagan » 09 Apr 2010 10:23

1. I don't think massa is leaving afghanistan. So the question of pakistan regaining its strategic depth does not arise.

Remember what Ombaba had said, "the Af-Pak area produced the terrorists who attacked the US and continue to plan to attack the US".

No president will take that risk, declare victory and withdraw, and then be attacked a short while later - The downhill skiing won't happen.

2. When the time is right, Pakistan will be offered a Nuke deal "just like India" and will be CREd completely. Already pakistan has been C&R - E to go.

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Re: India's Best Option In Afghanistan

Postby shiv » 11 Apr 2010 09:31

Review of Zaeef's book
http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?265000
Zaeef is convinced that the US will not succeed in Afghanistan. He summarily dismisses the distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban. “They (meaning America, Britain and Karzai) think that the Taliban exist for money or power, so logically it would seem that they can be destroyed with money and power. In reality, the Taliban movement is one based on Islamic ideology.... The thought of dividing them into moderates and hardliners is a useless and reckless aim,” he concludes.


about Pakistan

He told the American ambassador more than once that he should contact him directly. “Pakistan is never an honest mediator and will control and manipulate any talk they mediate or participate in,” Zaeef told him. Elsewhere, he writes: “Pakistan, which plays a key role in Asia, is so famous for treachery that it is said they can get milk from a bull. They have two tongues in one mouth, and two faces on one head so they can speak everybody’s language; they use everybody, deceive everybody. They deceive the Arabs under the guise of Islamic nuclear power, they milk America and Europe in the alliance against terrorism, and they have been deceiving Pakistani and other Muslims around the world in the name of the Kashmiri jihad.” As for imprisonment in Pakistani jails, he concluded that Afghan and American jails were much better than Pakistani jails. He is understandably bitter about the way he was treated by Pakistan and handed over to the Americans in Peshawar.


Should India reject both the Taliban and The Baki army?

Or support the Baki army like our friend the US wants?

Or built up contacts with the Taliban?


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