India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

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India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Pranay » 05 Oct 2011 02:50

Mods -We do not have a thread dealing specifically to the India/Afghanistan equation, strategic/economic/military etc; thereby starting a much needed thread. With the signing of the Strategic Relationship Treaty between Shri Manmohan Singh and Mr. Hamid Karzai, a new chapter has opened up in Indian's historic relationship with Afghanistan.

Obviously, this has far reaching consequences in India's relations with Pakistan, Iran, China and the Central Asian "stans (Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Tajikistan).

Looking forward to an incisive discussion on the import of this event in the India - Afghanistan equation and the path breaking course it has charted for both the countries and the wider neighborhood.

I'm posting the text of the "Strategic Partnership" in full.

http://outlookindia.com/article.aspx?278537

'Establishment Of Relations Of Strategic Partnership'
Among other things, ' India agrees to assist, as mutually determined, in the training, equipping and capacity building programmes for Afghan National Security Forces'

Text of Agreement on Strategic Partnership between the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of India, hereinafter referred to as "the Sides",

RECOGNISING the time-tested and friendly relationship between the two countries, underpinned by historical and cultural ties;

EMPHASISING the fundamental and lasting importance of the Treaty of Friendship between the Government of India and the Royal Government of Afghanistan of 4 January 1950, and subsequent Agreements and Joint Statements;

PROCEEDING from a desire to further strengthen their traditional and historical ties to mutual benefit;

DRAWING upon their rich and fruitful tradition of cooperation in various fields since the establishment of their diplomatic relations;

CONVINCED that the further comprehensive development of their bilateral ties would promote progress and prosperity in both states and the region as a whole;

APPRECIATING the significant expansion of bilateral ties between the two countries and, in this context, the sincere and generous assistance that the Republic of India has provided to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan over the past ten years;

SEEKING to impart a long term commitment to their multifaceted bilateral relations and to actively develop them in political, development, economic, trade, scientific, technological, cultural and other fields in the years ahead;

CONFIRMING their adherence to the common ideals of peace, democracy, rule of law, non-violence, human rights and fundamental freedoms;

REAFFIRMING their commitment to international law, including to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter;

Hereby proclaim the establishment of relations of Strategic Partnership, as laid out in the following paragraphs:

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

1. This Agreement, based on mutual understanding and long term trust between the Sides, envisages the elevation of the multifaceted ties between the two countries to higher levels, both in the bilateral field and in the international arena.

2. The Strategic Partnership between the Sides is based upon the principles of sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of States, non-interference in their internal affairs, mutual respect and mutual benefit.

3. The Strategic Partnership between the Sides is not directed against any other State or group of States.

POLITICAL & SECURITY COOPERATION

1. The Sides agree to engage in close political cooperation and, in this respect, establish a mechanism for regular bilateral political and Foreign Office Consultations. Political consultations will be led by Foreign Ministries of both countries and include summit level consultations convened at least once a year.

2. The Sides agree to consult and cooperate at the United Nations and other international, regional and multilateral fora. Such cooperation is to be aimed at influencing decision-making in these fora in the interest of both countries. Cooperation at the UN and multilateral fora would include:

(a) Joint initiatives on key regional and international issues;

(b) Support for the reform and expansion of the United Nations Security Council, including a permanent seat for India in the Council.

3. The Sides agree to establish a Strategic Dialogue to provide a framework for cooperation in the area of national security. The Dialogue will be led by NSAs and involve regular consultations with the aim of intensifying mutual efforts towards strengthening regional peace and security.

4. Security cooperation between the Sides is intended to help enhance their respective and mutual efforts in the fight against international terrorism, organized crime, illegal trafficking in narcotics, money laundering and so on.

5. India agrees to assist, as mutually determined, in the training, equipping and capacity building programmes for Afghan National Security Forces.

TRADE & ECONOMIC COOPERATION

1. The Sides commit to strengthening trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation, as well as cooperation between other bodies of business and industry representatives, with a view to expanding trade and economic relations.

2. In the interest of Afghanistan's sustainable development, and furthering economic interdependence between the two countries, the Sides commit to deepening and diversifying cooperation in sectors such as agriculture, rural development, mining, industry, energy, information technology, communications, transport, including civil aviation, and any other areas that the Sides may agree on.

3. The Sides agree to take effective measures to create a favourable environment to promote trade and investment. The measures shall include, among others:

(a) Enhancing investment protection;
(b) Simplifying customs and other procedures and promoting the removal of non-tariff barriers, and gradually lowering tariff barriers;
(c) Working towards the creation of air-cargo facilities for promotion of commercial exchanges;
(d) Cooperating in the areas of banking and finance, and improving credit and insurance facilities and;
(e) Enhancing cooperation and coordination at international trade, economic and financial bodies.

4. To achieve a sustained expansion of bilateral trade and economic ties with a long term perspective, the Sides will establish effective mechanisms for interaction between Indian and Afghan entities. Specific measures will include:

(a) Encouraging contacts between regions/provinces in both countries with a view to promoting trade, economic and cultural cooperation;
(b) Mandating the relevant bodies of both countries to jointly explore the possibilities of regional trading arrangements with third countries;
(c) Further enhancing the quality and international competitiveness of their goods by promoting cooperation between the institutions of quality assurance and standardization, and on new technologies; and
(d) Encouraging greater cooperation between the Chambers of Commerce and Industries of both countries.

5. Recognizing that regional economic cooperation is vital to the future economic prosperity of individual nations, the Sides agree to cooperate, both bilaterally and through regional organizations in promoting regional economic cooperation. Regional economic cooperation shall:

(a) Envisage assisting Afghanistan emerge as a trade, transportation and energy hub connecting Central and South Asia and enabling free and more unfettered transport and transit linkages;
(b) Focus on development of regional infrastructure projects;
(c) Help facilitate the integration of the Afghan economy within the South Asian and global economies by opening markets for Afghan and Indian products for mutual benefit; and
(d) Strengthen regional cooperation under SAARC, of which both sides are members.

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION

1. In the interest of Afghanistan's long-term, sustainable development, and building on the existing generous aid programme offered by India to Afghanistan, India commits to continue its assistance to the development and capacity building efforts in Afghanistan.

(a) Cooperation will, among other areas of focus, concentrate on the agriculture, mining and health sectors, reflecting Afghanistan's priorities; and
(b) India further commits to expand ongoing Small Development Projects (SDPs) for grass-root level development in the remote and rural areas.

2. The Sides agree to establish institutional linkages between their respective governments by encouraging cooperation between Ministries/agencies of the two sides. India offers the experience of its own institutional, administrative, political and economic systems as references that Afghanistan can study and benefit from in the light of its own needs and realities.

3. As part of its highly successful annual scholarship programme, and the broader strategy of support to higher education for Afghanistan, India will continue to expand education and training opportunities in India through the ICCR and ITEC scholarships, and multilateral-funded programmes.

(a) Responding to the requirements of Afghanistan, India will explore avenues to expand scholarships in medical, engineering and management institutes of India; and
(b) The Sides will also encourage and facilitate annual student exchange programmes at the school and university levels.

4. As part of its capacity building support for the Afghan government, India will continue and expand technical, training and other capacity building support to the various departments in the three branches of government, including the Executive, Judiciary and the Parliament.

5. In response to Afghanistan's need to strengthen its administration and governance at national and sub-national levels, India offers its experience of governance at the national, state, district and local body levels, and technical assistance in setting up a permanent, career-based civil service suitable for Afghan realities.

SOCIAL, CULTURAL, CIVIL SOCIETY & PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE RELATIONS

1. In pursuit of further expanding the existing people-to-people bonds that exist between the two countries, the Sides envisage greater exchanges between parliament, media, women, youth, sports, academic, cultural, intellectual and religious figures and bodies.

2. Through the India-Afghanistan Foundation, the Sides will seek to promote social and cultural ties, with a focus on arts, literature, poetry and so on, and further expand the exposure to each others' cultural heritage and achievements.

3. The Sides will encourage and promote greater exchanges between media organizations in their respective countries, within the framework of an independent and free media.

4. Both Sides will work for the upliftment of women, their education and rights, and also for the poorer or weaker sections of their societies.

5. To encourage and expand interaction and legitimate movement of people between the two countries, the Sides agree to simplifying rules and procedures for travel by citizens of both countries. The Sides intend to:

(a) Promote tourist exchanges and cooperation between tourist organizations in both countries; and
(b) Encourage sister-city agreements between the cities/provinces/states of the two countries.

6. To facilitate legal cases involving nationals of one country in the other, the Sides will work towards agreements on mutual legal assistance in civil and criminal matters.

7. To promote relations between civil societies and, in particular, enable intellectual exchanges, the Sides intend to establish India-Afghanistan Round Table consisting of eminent persons representing different fields.

8. Both Sides agree to promote cooperation and exchanges in the field of sports.

9. Both sides agree to share and learn from each others' experience of the values and institutions of democracy, including the sharing, distribution and devolution of powers, relations between the Centre and States/Provinces, electoral reforms etc.

10. The Sides agree to establish parliament-to-parliament exchanges between the two countries by organizing visits of parliamentary delegations and establishing parliamentary friendship groups in the two countries.

IMPLEMENTATION MECHANISM

1. This Strategic Partnership would be implemented under the framework of a Partnership Council, which will be headed by the Foreign Ministers of both countries. The Council will convene annual meetings.

2. The Council will consist of separate Joint Working Groups on Political & Security Consultations, Trade and Economic Cooperation, Capacity Development & Education, and Social, Cultural and Civil Society, involving high level representatives from concerned Ministries/Authorities.

3. The existing dialogue mechanisms between the two sides will become part of the Council.

CONCLUSION

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of India go forward in this partnership, re-asserting the fundamental and lasting spirit of the Treaty of Friendship between the Government of India and the Royal Government of Afghanistan of 04 January 1950, which states: "There shall be everlasting peace and friendship between the two Governments who will further strive to maintain and strengthen the cordial relations existing between the people of their respective countries."

Signed on the 4th October 2011 at New Delhi in four originals, each in Hindi, Pashto, Dari and English languages. However, in case of any discrepancy in the text or difference in interpretation, the English text shall prevail.

(Manmohan Singh)
Prime Minister of the Republic of India

(Hamid Karzai)
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby ramana » 05 Oct 2011 02:58

Lets see how this develops.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Pranay » 05 Oct 2011 03:02

http://outlookindia.com/article.aspx?278536

'India Will Stand By The People Of Afghanistan...'
'... as they prepare to assume the responsibility for their governance and security after the withdrawal of international forces in 2014,' says the PM.
MANMOHAN SINGH

Prime minister's statement to the press during the visit of Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai to New Delhi

His Excellency Mr. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,

Distinguished members of the media

I am delighted to welcome His Excellency the President of Afghanistan, Mr. Hamid Karzai to India.

President Karzai’s visit takes place soon after my own visit to Afghanistan in May. This reflects the tradition of regular high level exchanges that so happily exists between our two countries.

My discussions today with President Karzai have once again underlined the importance of a strong and broad based partnership between India and Afghanistan.

Our cooperation with Afghanistan is an open book. We have civilizational links, and we are both here to stay. We have to live and work together in times both good and bad.

Based on intensive consultations and deliberations, we have finalized an Agreement on a Strategic Partnership between India and Afghanistan which the President and I have signed today. The Agreement creates an institutional framework for our future cooperation in the fields of political and security cooperation, trade and economic cooperation, capacity building and education, and social, cultural, civil society and people-to-people relations.

We have also concluded two Memoranda of Understanding for cooperation in Mining and Hydrocarbons. These will add a new dimension to our economic relations.

We both agree that Afghanistan’s economic integration with the Indian economy and South Asia as a whole is in the national interest of the people of Afghanistan, and one of the ways to achieve this is to promote closer trade, investment and transit links.


I reiterated to the President that India stands by the people of Afghanistan in their journey towards capacity building, reconstruction, development and peace. We will do all that is within our means to help Afghanistan.

We had detailed and frank discussions on the issue of terrorism. This threatens our entire region, and no country can remain immune to its lethal effects.

I conveyed our sympathy and condolences to the government and people of Afghanistan on the acts of terrorism that have taken place in Afghanistan recently, particularly the tragic assassination of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani. Professor Rabbani was our guest in India in July and we were greatly encouraged by his vision. His brutal assassination should serve as an occasion for all of us to strengthen our resolve to jointly confront the menace of terrorism that threatens to undermine the security and stability of our region.

The people of Afghanistan have suffered enough. They deserve to live in peace and decide their future themselves, without outside interference, coercion and intimidation.

It is in this context that India will participate in the forthcoming conferences in Istanbul and Bonn to contribute to international and regional initiatives to support Afghanistan’s efforts at nation building. The greatest need today is for the Afghan people to have peace and stability. All countries of the region must work to facilitate this.

India will stand by the people of Afghanistan as they prepare to assume the responsibility for their governance and security after the withdrawal of international forces in 2014.

I pay tribute to the sagacious leadership of President Karzai in seeking solutions that are inclusive and led by the Afghan people themselves. He has shown great courage in very difficult circumstances.

I look forward to working with President Karzai and his Government in the period ahead to further advance our relations across a wide spectrum.

Thank you.

New Delhi
October 4, 2011

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Pranay » 05 Oct 2011 03:21

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-15161776

As the BBC sees it...

Afghanistan and India sign 'strategic partnership'

Mr Karzai is in India at a time of tension with Pakistan

The leaders of Afghanistan and India have signed a strategic partnership agreement during a visit by President Hamid Karzai to Delhi.

Mr Karzai met Indian PM Manmohan Singh, who said violence in Afghanistan was undermining security in South Asia.

He also said that India would "stand by Afghanistan" when foreign troops withdraw from the country in 2014.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Pranay » 05 Oct 2011 03:28

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/05/world ... ml?_r=1&hp

As reported by the N.Y. Times...

Afghanistan Curries Favor With India and Denigrates Pakistan
By JACK HEALY and ALISSA J. RUBIN
Published: October 4, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — Fuming over what they have called the Pakistani role in exporting terrorism across the border, Afghanistan officials signaled on Tuesday they had little interest, for now, in healing a rift with Pakistan, their eastern neighbor.

Two developments set the tone: In New Delhi, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan signed a wide-ranging strategic partnership with India, which Pakistan regards as its principal adversary. Mr. Karzai’s visit also underscored the growing economic and security ties between India and Afghanistan.

And here in Kabul, intelligence officials investigating the assassination of the head of Afghanistan’s peace process said that Pakistan was refusing to cooperate with their inquiry and had failed to crack down on Taliban leaders who, the Afghans say, planned the killing from inside Pakistan.

Both moves were all but certain to draw further ire from Pakistan.

The strategic agreement signed Tuesday by Mr. Karzai and the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, had been in the making for more than five months.

Perhaps most provocatively for the Pakistanis, it paves the way for India to train and equip Afghan security forces to fill what the Afghanistan government fears will be critical gaps as NATO troops leave in the years ahead. Pakistan and India, nuclear-armed neighbors, have long suspected each other’s motives in Afghanistan.


There is evidence that Pakistan’s spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Service Intelligence, has used militant groups as proxy fighters in Afghanistan, and may have been behind the bombing of the Indian embassy here in 2009. Pakistan has denied such accusations. But it has long questioned why India opened three consulates around the country — in Mazar-e-Sharif, Kandahar and Jalalabad — in addition to its embassy in Kabul, suggesting that they are surveillance posts.

Over the past 10 years India has spent nearly $2 billion in aid to Afghanistan, mainly on reconstruction, road building, health clinics and an array of small development projects. India also runs a scholarship program for Afghan students, not unlike the American Fulbright program.

Wealthy Afghans often travel to India for medical treatment. The number of flights weekly from the Afghan capital to New Delhi has risen steadily over the past several years as young professionals journey there for training programs and trade.

Although Mr. Karzai’s trip had long been scheduled in advance, it fell at a particularly strained moment for relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, coming two weeks after a suicide bomber assassinated the head of the Afghan High Peace Council, former President Burhanuddin Rabbani.

His killing threw the peace process into disarray and stirred angry tirades against Pakistan, as officials in Parliament and Afghans in the dusty streets of the capital accused their neighbor of fostering insurgent groups suspected of orchestrating the assassination.

Earlier this summer, militants from the Pakistan-based Haqqani network launched a brazen attack against the American Embassy in Kabul, transforming the capital into a battle zone for 20 hours. Adm. Mike Mullen, the just-departed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Pakistan’s spy agency had supported the attack.

Afghan investigators say the plot to kill Mr. Rabbani was hatched in the Pakistani border town of Quetta, a stronghold of Taliban leadership. Some Afghan officials have publicly accused Pakistan’s spy agency of complicity in the killing — charges that Pakistan has rejected as baseless.

On Tuesday, intelligence officials in Kabul jabbed yet another accusatory finger toward Pakistan. They said Pakistani officials had scuttled a meeting to discuss Mr. Rabbani’s assassination and would not cooperate in the investigation.

At a news conference, intelligence officials showed satellite images of Quetta, highlighting three houses with yellow circles. Those, officials said, were the homes of so-called shadow governors of the Taliban and other officials whom Pakistani security forces had not arrested.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to the latest complaints, but in a statement released a day earlier, the ministry cast doubt on “the so-called evidence” tying Pakistan’s spy agency to Mr. Rabbani’s killing.

“Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani was a great friend of Pakistan and widely respected in this country,” the statement said.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Rudradev » 05 Oct 2011 03:45

^^^

The tone of the NY Times article is very revealing.

Every single aspect of the newly formalized strategic partnership between India and Afghanistan is analysed in exactly ONE light: "Porkis will :(( , Porkis will :(( , Porkis will :(( "

It's as if India-Afghanistan partnership has no intrinsic value or dimension, other than an ulterior motive by Afghanistan to poke a finger in the eye of Pakistan in the immediate context.

The underlying narrative on the region is 400% Pakistan-centric, tunnel-visioned to exclude ALL other historical, cultural, political and economic areas where interests converge between India and Afghanistan.

And these are the people who tell us it's not a zero-sum game!

*Added Later*

When the next 26/11 comes, expect the unbiased reporters of the Western Media to mention this "provocation" by India (i.e. daring to sign an agreement of strategic partnership with Afghanistan) as an implicit justification. In addition to the old list of 700,000 troops in "Mostly Muslim Kashmir", Gujarat riots, Babri Masjid etc. etc. etc.

The unspoken, underlying assumption is that only Pakistan has the right to claim the mantle of subcontinental Muslim leadership. India signing a strategic partnership with Afghanistan (a Muslim country!) must somehow be an act of devious anti-Muslim subterfuge if it displeases Pakistan... and Pakistan has the (unspoken, underlying) right to respond to this "injustice against Muslims" with terrorism.

Very instructive regarding what Western thoughts, plans, hopes and dreams for Pakistan have been all along. "Pakistan=Islam and Islam=Pakistan" was a lesson whispered into the ears of infant Pakistan by its Western parents at birth.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby ramana » 05 Oct 2011 04:39

If 26/11 reoccurs IAF will fly from Bagram as Valkyries!

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby VinodTK » 05 Oct 2011 05:20

Karzai Sets Closer Ties With India on Visit
:
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed the agreement in the Indian capital on Tuesday, the first day of Mr. Karzai's two-day visit to India, a trip meant to showcase an increasingly close relationship between the two nations at a time of increased strain in Kabul's ties with Pakistan, India's neighbor and historical rival.

Mr. Karzai told reporters that regional powers, and India in particular, are key to helping his country pursue peace. He praised India as a "steadfast friend and supporter" of his country.
:

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby VinodTK » 05 Oct 2011 05:23

Deal for larger role in Kabul
:
The declaration of intent to expand the military-to-military relationship is being seen as a response to Pakistan’s effort to use Afghanistan as its strategic backyard.

The formalisation through an agreement — in the works for some time — is also a signal that America may now be amenable to a larger role for New Delhi in Kabul after 2014 when the US-led forces are scheduled to leave Afghanistan.
:

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Pranay » 05 Oct 2011 05:36

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asi ... story.html

As reported in The Washington Post...

India and Afghanistan sign security and trade pact

By Rama Lakshmi, Tuesday, October 4, 2:56 PM

NEW DELHI — India signed a significant partnership pact with Afghanistan on Tuesday, agreeing to step up cooperation in counterterrorism operations, training of security forces and trade in a move that has the potential to antagonize Pakistan at a critical juncture in the Afghanistan war.

The agreement, which Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed at the start of a two-day visit to India, also includes measures to boost political and cultural engagement. In addition, India pledged its help in stabilizing Afghanistan as the country battles rising extremist violence and prepares for the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops in 2014.

The pact coincides with a souring of relations between Kabul and Islamabad since Afghan officials bluntly accused Pakistan of supporting recent high-profile attacks in their country. The agreement with Pakistan’s arch-rival in the midst of those recriminations has the potential to further strain relations.

Karzai and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held detailed discussions on the rise of terrorism in the region, Singh said, but neither leader mentioned Pakistan in their statements, which were read at a news conference.

“Our cooperation with Afghanistan is an open book. We have civilizational links, and we are both here to stay,” Singh said in his statement, adding that the agreement creates “an institutional framework” for future ties. “India will stand by the people of Afghanistan as they prepare to assume the responsibility for their governance and security after the withdrawal of international forces in 2014.”

Karzai, who is making his second visit to the Indian capital this year, said Afghanistan appreciated New Delhi’s “understanding of its difficulties” and added that he was “grateful” for India’s help. The strategic agreement is the first such partnership Kabul has entered into with any country.

“Afghanistan recognizes the danger this region is facing through terrorism and the radicalism that is being used as an instrument of policy against civilians and innocent citizens of our country,” Karzai said.

India and Afghanistan share a mutual suspicion of Pakistan’s role in fomenting recent violence in Afghanistan. The new partnership comes just two weeks after the assassination of former Afghan president and peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani. On Sunday, Karzai’s office said the assassin was a Pakistani citizen. Pakistan has rejected the allegation that its intelligence agencies were involved in the killing.

India is the largest regional donor to Afghanistan, having invested more than $2 billion in development and infrastructure projects there. In the past decade, it has conducted limited training of Afghanistan’s police, senior army officers and bureaucrats in Indian institutions. But now it appears to want a greater role in shaping Afghanistan’s security.

“This does not mean that India is going to rush its troops to Afghanistan or ship military equipment,” said Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian diplomat. “It just means that India has entered the sphere so far denied to it. For many years, Western nations wanted India to stay away from Afghanistan because they did not want to upset Pakistan. But that has changed in the last year, since President Barack Obama visited India. They are now openly suggesting that India should be more active. With today’s agreement, India is saying that it will be a guarantor of Afghanistan’s stability after 2014.”

There was no immediate official reaction from Islamabad, but some observers said Karzai appeared intent on thumbing his nose at Pakistan at a particularly low point in their relations.

“I think he is going: ‘Look, I am in trouble. Pakistan is at my throat. I need help. The Americans are not going to stay. . . . How can you help us against Pakistan?’ ” said Rasul Bakhsh Rais, a political science professor at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. Still, he noted, “positive things” are happening on the India-Pakistan front, including unexpectedly warm talks in July.


Karzai and Singh also announced commercial ties in mining, mineral exploration and development of hydrocarbons, including oil and natural gas, and Singh said he will work to improve Afghanistan’s economic integration with India and with South Asia as a whole. Last year, Pakistan and Afghanistan signed a transit-trade agreement that would allow agricultural products from Afghanistan to cross Pakistan into India. But the agreement has yet to yield major changes in trade patterns across the region.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby VinodTK » 05 Oct 2011 05:44

Karzai inks security pact with India that may irk Pakistan further
In a deal that may complicate the ongoing U.S. tussle with Pakistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai inked a security pact with India in New Delhi on Tuesday that will boost the military links between the two nations.

The proposal to train the Afghan National Security Forces was included in the first-ever Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) signed on Tuesday by Mr. Karzai and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their third extensive meeting this year, India's
:

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby ManuT » 05 Oct 2011 08:03

Just my 2 cents.
This is first bit of positive news in a very long time from GOI.

From what couple of sound bites I heard on TV: India will provide Battalion level training and also equip these forces.
If accurate, India is finally taking steps to call TSP's bluff of intimidation. With a reduction of TSP's influence in, its concept of strategic depth gets a further hammering.

Also, for India to now have acted, the timing of it, one can possibly assume that US is now more agreeable to India's version of things (to show some movement on its withdrawal) and something fundamental has “really” changed between US and TSP.

As some of us (I am assuming here) guess, US special forces will remain to keep a check on TSP while, Afghan Army is ramped up, (nothing new there), but with Indians training the Afghan Army there is a reasonable chance of it succeeding.

If India wants to be a power to reckon with it should not hesitate in acting in its interests even if it has to take a few blows (which it is getting anyways). Hence I support it.

As TSP's options for war are removed, hopefully only options for peace will remain.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Varoon Shekhar » 05 Oct 2011 08:40

"It's as if India-Afghanistan partnership has no intrinsic value or dimension, other than an ulterior motive by Afghanistan to poke a finger in the eye of Pakistan in the immediate context.

The underlying narrative on the region is 400% Pakistan-centric, tunnel-visioned to exclude ALL other historical, cultural, political and economic areas where interests converge between India and Afghanistan."

Very nicely said, Rudradev. India has an historic connection with Afghanistan that goes back 3000 years or more; the very names Afghanistan, Kabul and Kandahar are of Indian origin. Also, even disregarding the 3000 years and etymology, India has a modern history in Afghanistan dating back to 1950. Many of the things that India is doing now, were being done in the 60's and 70's- training, education and of course, trade and commerce. What's the NY Times' problem?

It's almost as if they are acting as a mental proxy of sorts for the Pakistani military, intelligence and fundamentalists/terrorists, and the Pakistani people who support these entities.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Muppalla » 05 Oct 2011 08:51

ManuT wrote:Just my 2 cents.
This is first bit of positive news in a very long time from GOI


++1

Let us see how it plays out. We can expect some dhamaka by the abduls across.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Altair » 05 Oct 2011 08:57

This is going to be a bloody Diwali but it is going to be worth it.Just sit tight

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Pratyush » 05 Oct 2011 10:43

The signing of the strategic accord with Afghanistan govt is a welcome but symbolic development. It shows that the GOI is committed to an Afghanistan that is free from the clutches of the foreign domination. It also questions the “Legitimate Rights” of TSP to seek a “Strategic Depth” in Afghanistan. Over and above the objections of a free Afghanistan.

In that it an excellent development. Predictably the TSP will raise the temperature against India and it developmental activities in Afghanistan. The GOI must start planning effective contingency measures to deal with the such an out come.

The other cause of concern will be the supporting Indian presence in Afghanistan in the face of open and overt TSP hostility. The main question is, for how long will Iran play ball with us?

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Rudradev » 05 Oct 2011 11:05

Pratyush wrote:
The other cause of concern will be the supporting Indian presence in Afghanistan in the face of open and overt TSP hostility. The main question is, for how long will Iran play ball with us?


India will have to show a willingness to cooperate with Iran on a number of its regional interests, if we want them to cooperate with ours.

We will have to triangulate with Iran against Turkey and against Saudi Arabia. Turkey is Iran's rival for the mantle of predominant West Asian Muslim power, and has problems with Kurdish separatist groups that may be backed by Iran. Ankara is also now baring its teeth against the Assad regime in Syria, a key ally of Iran and an important cornerstone of the Shi'a bloc. Saudi Arabia competes with Iran for influence in the Arabian Peninsula, such as in Bahrain and Yemen. In both cases there is a Shi'a-Sunni dynamic that would also come into play with respect to Pakistan-Iran relations. Pakistan, as an ally of both Saudi Arabia and Turkey will not find it easy to win Iran's confidence; this is the angle we must work.

It would be a tremendous coup if we could be instrumental in "bringing Iran in from the cold" and revitalizing their relations with Washington in the same way as China-US relations were reset in 1971.

This will involve a lot of deft diplomatic footwork for India, but I have to say, the new Afghanistan accord gives me a measure of confidence in South Block that I didn't have before.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Pranay » 05 Oct 2011 17:06

Trying to smooth ruffled feathers in Pakistan, but, this is not going to be enough. Pakistan as is it's legacy will demand it's pound of flesh in Afghanistan and India.

A rise in infiltration into Kashmir and Pakistan stirring up the Kashmir cauldron could well be the outcome. Another possibility is the strengthening of the Pakistan - Saudi - China axis.

Spectacular attacks on Indian targets in Afghanistan and targeted killings of Pro- India figures in Afghanistan to discourage others cannot be ruled out.

A Pakistani response is a given - let's see what form it takes.

http://news.outlookindia.com/item.aspx?737321

Pakistan is a "twin brother" and India a "great friend", Afghan President Hamid Karzai said today in an obvious attempt to reassure Pakistan that the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed here yesterday was not targeted against it.

Winding up his two-day visit here, he said there was "nothing new" in the agreement and India and Afghanistan had only "put in words what we have been doing all these years".

He said neither India nor Afghanistan intended the strategic partnership to go beyond the two countries.

"Pakistan is a twin brother, India is a great friend. The agreement that we signed yesterday with our friend will not affect our brother," Karzai said during an interaction after delivering the Third R K Mishra Memorial lecture organised by the Observer Research Foundation here.

"The signing of the strategic partnership with India is not directed against any country. It is not directed against any other entity," he said, adding this was for Afghanistan to benefit from the strength of India.

In his address, he said India and Afghanistan have been engaged for past few years during which India has offered over 2000 scholarships for Afghan students, built roads and the Zaranj-Delaram Highway, raised power transmission lines from North Afghanistan to Kabul and built the Parliament building.

"This is all strategic. Yesterday, we only put in words what we have been doing all these years," Karzai said.

Under the first such pact between the two countries, India will train Afghan army and other security personnel.

Noting that India has never said "no" to anything that his country wanted, Karzai said, "Afghanistan will not only not forget this but remain grateful to India forever."


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/world ... &ref=world

A day after signing agreements to step up security cooperation with India, Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, sought to reassure Pakistan that warming ties with India, Pakistan’s archrival, would not sour their relationship.

“Pakistan is a twin brother, India is a great friend,” Mr. Karzai said in a speech Wednesday at a research organization here on the second day of his visit to India. “The agreement that we signed yesterday with our friend will not affect our brother.”

The agreement signed on Tuesday opens the door to India arming and training Afghanistan’s security forces in anticipation of the withdrawal of American forces. Pakistan and India have long been mutually suspicious of each other’s intentions in Afghanistan.
Last edited by Pranay on 05 Oct 2011 17:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Lisa » 05 Oct 2011 17:15

X-Post,

From the BBC

pukistan has given Afghanistan $330 Million in aid, hogwash yes?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-15181095

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Pranay » 05 Oct 2011 17:39

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2011/10/ ... ?ref=world

Well well well, a Pakistani response didn't take long...the "twin brother" doing what it does best!

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's intelligence agency said on Wednesday it had thwarted a plot to assassinate President Hamid Karzai after arresting a bodyguard and five people with links to the Haqqani network and al Qaeda.

The National Directorate of Security told a news conference the plotters had recruited one of Karzai's bodyguards in order to kill him.


It said those arrested were linked to the Haqqani network. The Haqqanis are one of three Taliban-allied insurgent factions fighting in Afghanistan and perhaps the most feared.

(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby ramana » 05 Oct 2011 18:28

The murder of Rabbani was the straw that broke the camel's (GOAT's) back. Now US has little room to thwart Indian moves in Afghanistan. Till now India was on backfoot while US claimed to be keeping TSP in check by mollyfying it. Rabbani murder is clear indication of TSP's plan of action to remove any chance of peaceful settlement in Afghanistan by bringing back the antediliuvian Taliban. This clearly convinced the progressive minded Afghans that they have to take action to secure themselves as US is unwilling and incapable of doing that by taking action on TSP for whatever strategic goals they have. Afghans dont want to be victims of US strategic goals and compulsions. Hence they decided to sign the pact which was on table for quite sometime. So this pact which might have been on backburner got advanced to before US drawdown. Eventually if the pact succeeds the US can withdraw.

Another way of looking at this new move between India and Afghanistan is its the start of the "Chain Store" paradox with cooperation form India. We already have cooperation from SL and BD. The rest have a choice now :cooperate with India or be losers in the economic and strategic rise of India. Gujral Doctrine comes into its full bloom.

Meaanwhile two reports from Nightwatch,



3 October 2011

India: Air Chief Marshal Browne, the Chief of Air Staff, told Indo-Asian News Service that India's responsibility extends outside the Indian Ocean region and India's armed forces were building capabilities to meet security challenges beyond 2022.

Comment: Indian excursions outside the Indian Ocean, such as those to East Asia, plus its involvement in anti-piracy operations in the western Indian Ocean are measured steps that prepare India for a larger international role. The significance of Air Chief Marshal Browne's statement is that it identifies India's target time period for emergence as a world leader in international security affairs. That means the strategic confrontation with China over leadership in Asia will take place after 2022.

ACM Browne is a graduate of the USAF Air Command and Staff College. He assumed his present position on 31 July 2011. He is a fighter pilot and former Defence Attache to Israel.


4 Oct 2011



India-Afghanistan: India and Afghanistan will sign a strategic partnership after Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 4 October, according to Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna. Krishna said the recent assassinations of Karzai's half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, and Afghan High Peace Council chief Burhanuddin Rabbani demonstrated the need for strengthened regional anti-terrorism efforts.


Comment: Karzai evidently has concluded that he needs the help of a nation that can actually handle Pakistan - India -in order to improve his security situation. This move is consistent with Karzai's statement that he will not negotiate peace with the Taliban. Instead he will negotiate with Pakistan to rein in its proxies.


Pakistan: For the record. The government in Islamabad will not cooperate with the investigation into the assassination of Afghan High Peace Council chief Burhanuddin Rabbani, an Afghan National Directorate of Security spokesman said. The Pakistan Embassy in Kabul told Afghan intelligence officials it considers the case important and Rabbani a great personality, but that it cannot help due to information Afghanistan shared with the media, :rotfl: the spokesman said. Pakistan denied the accusation


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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Dilbu » 05 Oct 2011 18:33

Karzai's statement that he will not negotiate peace with the Taliban. Instead he will negotiate with Pakistan to rein in its proxies.

Yes. The Afghans have figured out what US failed to understand. TSP is head of the snake and Taliban is only its tail. There is hope.

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Re: Terrorist Islamic Republic of Pakistan (TSP): Sep 22, 20

Postby ramana » 05 Oct 2011 18:49

SSridhar wrote:The 'strategic partnership' between India and Afghanistan means there will be a massive terror strike against India in both India and Kabul very soon from ISI/LeT/Haqqani. Make no mistake about that.



SSridhar it will be South Indian against strategic assets and might have unkil's passive blessings too as it will make India inward focussed in these uncertain times and reassure PRC of unkils help in becoming master of Asia. So expect an IM commandu raid on ISRO or BARC with plenty of balckberrys from TSP.

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Re: Terrorist Islamic Republic of Pakistan (TSP): Sep 22, 20

Postby ramana » 05 Oct 2011 18:55

Altair wrote:
SSridhar wrote:The 'strategic partnership' between India and Afghanistan means there will be a massive terror strike against India in both India and Kabul very soon from ISI/LeT/Haqqani. Make no mistake about that.

SS
I would guess MMS and other folks in GoI might have come to a similar conclusion as youself. They still went ahead with the declaration. I do not want to sound like a leech but I think there is an American blessing to this declared partnership between India and Afghanistan.
A timid and weak Congress would not have risked another major terrorist attack on India UNLESS there is an assurance from US.
JMT
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Altair, Recall the US envoy to Iraq giving mixed signals to Saddam?

For once GOI has acted in national interests and let the chips fall wherever they may. Already MMS did say and US acknowledges in many fora that another 26/11 will not be tolerated. So lets not undermine national relosve by saying GOI acted with someone else's blessings.

Especially someone who was moving heaven and earth to undermine Indian resolve thru various proxies like the IIT basher genre.

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Re: Terrorist Islamic Republic of Pakistan (TSP): Sep 22, 20

Postby SSridhar » 05 Oct 2011 19:35

ramana wrote:For once GOI has acted in national interests . . .

Absolutely agreed. If we do not act, we might have a bigger problem on hand in three years' time. We cannot let Afghanistan slip back into a situation where we have no role to play.

Somehow, I feel that the US has played a significant role behind the scene to nudge a hesitant India to take on a greater responsibility in 'military' terms. The economic investment had already been there anyway. This agreement has the blessing of the GotUS.

Was the 'military' aspect sewed up after Rabbani's killing with the US & Afghanistan concluding that the Pakistani leopard was not going to change its spots and play ball for a smooth exit of the ISAF and transition of power ?

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Re: Terrorist Islamic Republic of Pakistan (TSP): Sep 22, 20

Postby Dilbu » 05 Oct 2011 19:39

It is absolutely essential for India to have clear cut goals if it is to venture into something like this. What we do not want is India becoming just another card on the table played by unkil. Things have to move at our pace and it should be our call.

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Re: Terrorist Islamic Republic of Pakistan (TSP): Sep 22, 20

Postby shivajisisodia » 05 Oct 2011 19:42

^^^^^

A hand that giveth can just as easily take it away. And I say that as not someone who is not obsessed with demonizing the West or the US.

I would consider GOI acting in genuine national interests, when we observe that it is taking a strong stand in Afgan including starting to heavily arming a militia, whether it be Northern Alliance or any other or several militias at once, with or without GOTUS blessings. In my view, this is the opportune time, and the GOI should start arming and preparing these groups now. If GOI reaches an understanding with the Iranians now on this, despite US presence, it should not be too difficult to infiltrate arms into Afgan and to the militias via the Iran route.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby ramana » 05 Oct 2011 19:46

Dilbu, The way to deal with TSP is make it fear. US was dealing with it by appeasing it. They forgot that only appeasement leads to more intransigent behavior. All their Uneven Cohen, Unfair tribe must be ruminating now.

Karzai had enough of it when Rabbani got killed. (It really started with Mullah Barader's arrest. US was too gullible at the TSP move to arrest a good Taliban and pass him off as bad Taliban. Blame the gullible Pak supporters in US)

Things moved fast after that. Karzai called of all neogtiations with good or bad Taliban and announced his visit. See the SMK statement above that Afghans need security.

What it means is the Durranis and other non Pastun Afghans want security above all else and see it in restraining TSP. If this succeeds the Ghilazai Pashtuns and their ilk will take over the K-P and settle down in TSP. This is kind of coralling the Taliban in TSP lands. TSP was using the free pass from US to take over Afghanistan with their bad Taliban minions. Now they will have to swallow the bad Taliban who might join up with TTP!

Taking your TSP is a snake analogy further, MMS made the TSP swallow a toad (which is poisonous and not a frog). Hats off for pulling this off. Now to see it implemented.

Lets see what MKB whines now.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Dilbu » 05 Oct 2011 20:07

Ramanaji I whole heartedly welcome the step taken by India. In fact I had posted this on 27/09/11
Dilbu wrote:Whichever way it goes things are not looking very good for India in Af-Pak. Unless we decide to actively participate and mould things in our favour we will have to sit on the side and prepare ourselves for the outcome of a deadly game in which we are not participants.

I was only trying to say that if we are doing something we should be prepared to walk the full length and take it to its logical end. A half hearted effort will not help us in any way. Hopefully this time it looks like there is some determination in South Block.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby devesh » 05 Oct 2011 20:08

the proliferation of threads continues. as it is there are so many threads. a single piece of news is "relevant" to at least 4 or 5 threads depending on the topic. now, this thread is even more redundancy. there is already an Af-Pak thread. just change the name to "Af-Pak-India" and that will do. i don't think there's any need for a new thread. IMVHO, BRF increasingly leads to attention dissipation. the redundancy creates cognitive dissonance b/c of the thread titles.

just my opinion...

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby ramana » 05 Oct 2011 20:14

Dilbu,
How about listing all the things that can go wrong and right and we can see what the future holds?

Devesh, Thanks. The thread will stand or fall on its own merits. All other threads have their purpose.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby kasthuri » 05 Oct 2011 20:39

India to train Afghan forces

In a major development, India has agreed to mentor the Afghan security forces as they gear up to deal with the drawdown of foreign forces by 2014.

The proposal has been on the drawing board for six years since Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai first suggested it, but was not implemented as Pakistan was uncomfortable with the idea of India-trained forces on both its flanks.

The proposal to train the Afghan National Security Forces was included in the first-ever Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) signed on Tuesday by Mr. Karzai and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their third extensive meeting this year.

India has started stepping up its exposure to the security scenario in Afghanistan by operationalising an airbase in Tajikistan, which has since been used to strike at the top leadership of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. It has also sought permission to reopen a hospital at Farkhor on the Afghan border.

The two sides would also cooperate more closely at the United Nations, one of the objectives being to help India gain a permanent seat on the Security Council.

In addition to dealing with political and security cooperation aspects, the SPA spells out trade and economic cooperation in much greater detail, covering aspects ranging from assisting Afghanistan in developing trading routes to exploring for hydrocarbons and mineral ores the country is abundantly endowed with.

This means both countries will try to operationalise their trilateral MoU signed with Iran to end Afghanistan's landlocked isolation and dependence on Pakistan to reach the sea. It brightens India's chances of bagging a lucrative mining contract for Hajigak, said to be the region's largest untapped reserve of iron ore, and provides an opportunity to hunt for oil in northern Afghanistan. Two MoUs — one in the field of mineral exploration and the other for the development of hydrocarbons — reflected the interest of both sides in these areas.

...

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Agnimitra » 05 Oct 2011 20:43

Indo-Afghan strategic relationship also has an important Iran angle.

X-posting from Af-Pak thread:

Alright folks, its MKB time...
India promises to prop up Karzai
If India has decided to take the plunge and stand overtly behind Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the axis of power that is taking shape in Kabul, it is in part because of Delhi's deep disillusionment over United States policies. {:rotfl: ...sigh} The stage is getting set for a vicious eruption of Pakistan-India animosities.

India, however, will not get away unchallenged in its newfound "pro-activism" and how the ensuing regional rivalries will play out in the coming period remains far from clear. The cloudy horizons may have got just a bit darker as Karzai's presidential jet takes off from the Indian capital on Wednesday.

[...]

The leadership in Kabul has traditionally reached out to India as a counterweight to Pakistan. Karzai's visit to Delhi (his second visit in seven months) falls within that classic mould, but what gives added dimension to his mission is that his principal political allies at home - groups belonging to the erstwhile Northern Alliance (NA) - also happen to be forces closely associated with India for the past several years.

His two vice presidents, Mohammed Fahim and Karim Khalili, were leading figures in the anti-Taliban resistance, which India promoted, and Fahim, in particular, is the inheritor of the war machine of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud who was substantially supported by the Indian security establishment during the anti-Taliban resistance of the late 1990s.

[...]

Just as Indian pundits concluded that the recent rift in US-Pakistan ties was far too advanced to lend itself to repair, Washington has once again kissed and made up with Islamabad. New details have begun emerging that the US Central Intelligence Agency might have taken the help of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence in contacting the Haqqani network and that the US would have offered the Haqqanis a place in the Afghan government.

The fact that the US and Pakistan may be working together to finesse the Haqqani network (which India holds responsible for the two murderous attacks on its embassy in Kabul) and bring it into the peace process horrifies Delhi and it runs contrary to repeated American assurances to Indian officials.

Besides, Delhi is convinced that Pakistan masterminded the assassination of the head of the Afghan High Peace Council, Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was close to India, as part of a calculated plan to systematically remove from the political chessboard all figures who may challenge Taliban supremacy in the coming period, especially as the drawdown of US troops accelerates.

[...]

Three-pronged strategy
Within the framework of the dialogue with Pakistan, the Indian leadership had somewhat exercised self-restraint in robustly advancing its interests in Afghanistan in the recent period, but the Indian security establishment seems to have concluded that Islamabad is pushing the envelope nonetheless, aimed at exterminating all Indian influence in Kabul in a future set-up dominated by its Taliban proxies.

Equally, Delhi is not convinced about the efficacy of the troop drawdown plan of President Barack Obama. Ironically, India shares the skepticism recently voiced by Pakistani army chief Pervez Kiani as to whether the 2014 timeline to hand over responsibility to the Afghan security forces is realistic under the prevailing circumstances.

[...]

The concrete outcome of Karzai's visit to India is three-fold and it reveals the range of Indian thinking. First, India is poised to step in for the first time in the post-Taliban era to fulfill a role that it used to perform before the mujahideen takeover in 1992 when Afghanistan was under the communist regime - namely, a commitment to be a mentor of the Afghan security forces.

Second, Delhi is making a strong pitch for a major role in the exploitation of the multi-trillion dollar mineral resources in Afghanistan. Third, India and Afghanistan have decided to work on their respective bilateral cooperation grids with Iran with a view to developing a trade and transit route through Iranian territory, bypassing Pakistan.

[...]

Delhi doesn't rule out the possibility of another outbreak of civil war in Afghanistan. It is reviving its interest in "operationalizing" an airstrip it built in Tajikistan out of its own funds and has sought permission from Dushanbe to reopen a military hospital it built in the late 1990s at Farkhor on the Afghan border to provide medical treatment to the NA warriors fighting the Taliban.

[...]

Pakistan is sure to perceive the forthcoming Indian role as mentor of the Afghan forces and Delhi's decision to resuscitate its infrastructure in Tajikistan that used to provide underpinnings for the erstwhile NA's militia as moves directed against its "legitimate interests" in Afghanistan. The stage is getting set for a rather vicious eruption of Pakistan-India animosities. Pakistan's "asymmetrical" response in the past typically took the form of terrorist strikes at targeted Indian interests.

Indian restraint was commendable in the past when faced with the challenge of terrorism :roll: , but there is a school of thinking in the Indian strategic community that it is about time that India calls the Pakistani bluff {alhamdullilah}. At any rate, India seems to anticipate troubled times ahead and has just begun a massive two-month military exercise on its desert border with Pakistan in Rajasthan sector, involving some 20,000 troops belonging to its strike corps and its air force, with an ambitious agenda to test its offensive plans to capture and hold enemy territory deep inside.

[...]

Second, Delhi is encouraging Indian business to invest in Afghanistan's mineral resources by way of emerging as a "stakeholder" in that country. Delhi is currently pushing a policy of acquiring strategic "assets" abroad and Afghanistan's vast mineral resources offer big scope for Indian investment.

Indian corporate giants are getting interested in the proposition, too. An Indian consortium is preparing to participate in the tender for the Hajigak iron ores in Afghanistan, which is estimated to hold reserves of 1.8 billion tonnes. The two memoranda of understanding signed during Karzai's visit to Delhi - relating to the field of mineral exploitation and the development of hydrocarbon - signal the shared interest of the two countries in facilitating large-scale Indian investments in Afghanistan.

To be sure, India's moves in this regard will be keenly watched by other countries, especially China and the US, which are already neck-deep in the scramble for resources in Central Asia. For the first time in the post-Soviet era, India is spreading its wings in the region and is scouting for "assets". While it lags far behind China, it seems to estimate that the game is far from over.

[...]

Third, India's main challenge with regard to a trade and transit route to Afghanistan needs to be addressed in priority terms and Karzai's visit provided a timely opportunity to have consultations. Delhi has vaguely spoken for over a decade regarding the importance of a Silk Route via Iran, but a new criticality has arisen. The point is, India cannot hope to have an effective Central Asia policy in the absence of a viable and dependable access route to the region.

Delhi views Iran as the obvious choice as a partner in this regard.
Despite the improved climate in India-Pakistan relations and notwithstanding the stirrings of a more relaxed trade regime between the two countries, no one in his senses in Delhi quite expects that Islamabad would facilitate an access route for India's trade and investment ties with Afghanistan where the two countries are locked in rivalry.

Pakistan is dragging its feet with regard to the implementation of the trade and transit treaty it signed with Afghanistan under sustained American prodding. India does not see any prospect of Pakistan agreeing to include it in this treaty, as propagated by US officials.

Equally, India is far from optimistic about the US's grandiose Silk Road project connecting the Central Asian and South Asian regions, which is likely to be presented as a major regional initiative at a forthcoming conference in Istanbul on November 2.

Iran gets two suitors
Thus, finally, after some five years of neglect, Delhi has begun dusting up the framework of India-Iran strategic cooperation. This is no easy task, as Tehran harbors a deep sense of hurt that Delhi succumbed to US (and Israeli) pressures to atrophy India's ties with Tehran. But a beginning has been made in a dramatic manner recently with Delhi seeking a bilateral meeting with Tehran at the highest level of leadership and the latter promptly agreeing.

The fact that last month's meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad took place in New York - on American soil - was in itself invested with great political symbolism. Clearly, Delhi was preparing the ground for Karzai's forthcoming visit.

At any rate, Manmohan seems to have taken a personal interest in breathing life into the India-Iran strategic partnership, which many hold him as responsible for stifling in recent years in deference to American wishes.


India's rapprochement with Iran coincides with an upswing in the latter's ties with Pakistan. Iran is going to be assiduously courted by the two South Asian rivals. Pakistan's efforts will be to forge a matrix of commonality of interests with Iran over the Afghan situation and India's attempt will also be orientated in the same direction. How Iran balances its multiple choices will form an absorbing template of regional politics.

[...]

This curious turn to regional politics gives Iran much strategic space to maneuver vis-a-vis the US. Washington's "containment" strategy toward Iran will be virtually rendered ineffectual if India and Pakistan ignore it and forge strategic links with Tehran.

[...]

The US will inevitably come to view Indian "proactivism" in Afghanistan with a sense of disquiet, just as it hopes to work with Pakistan to reconcile the Taliban and to bring on board the intransigent Haqqanis. Again, India is identifying itself as, arguably, the strongest supporter of Karzai in the region at a time when the US is patently disillusioned with the Afghan leader and is counting on the remaining part of his second term in office to somehow get over so that by 2014 a new leadership can take over in Kabul.

[...]

Again, the US will have misgivings about the decision by Afghanistan and India to rev up a trade and transit route via Iran. The very purpose of the US's Silk Road project with Afghanistan as a regional hub, which it is pushing with its European allies, aims at sidelining Iran (and Russia) in the "new great game". Whereas, Delhi now is showing preference to Iran for providing it with an access route that connects it with Central Asia (and Russia).

In overall terms, Washington is not going to be enthused by these Indian moves in Afghanistan, even if it doesn't pour cold water on Delhi's high enthusiasm for the Karzai regime. The US special representative on Afghanistan, Marc Grossman, is scheduled to visit India this week and will patiently search for rational explanations by his Indian interlocutors, while keeping his counsel to himself.

[...]

The Indian elites are not inclined to allow any serious contradiction to arise in the US-India strategic partnership in relation to the region - although they view with extreme distaste Washington's overtures to Beijing to step in as a provider of security for Afghanistan and as a "stakeholder" in the regional stability of South Asia.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Dilbu » 05 Oct 2011 20:43

Political stability in Afghanistan will be a huge worry in the immediate future. For example Karzai getting assassinated will be a huge blow to any long term plans. India will have to depend on Unkil in this arena as long as we don't have the leverage of our own to create and support a govt in Afghanistan. A healthy cooperation with a stable Afghanistan will solve the TSP problem pretty fast IMO.

Out there in the dark TSP won't be alone in waiting with the dagger. We will have to be wary about a tarrel and deepel friend also.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby ramana » 05 Oct 2011 21:06

Not really. Fahim will takeover and that means the gloves will be off as Northern Alliance which really won the war against the Taliban will be in power so they wont hesitate to go after the Taliban good and bad.

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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby devesh » 05 Oct 2011 21:06

there are multiple aspects here. first off, this can begin the process of India realizing that Afghanistan is a single piece in the Iran-CA-India triangle. since transit routes and control of strategic land have come to the fore, Indian thinking will have to explore multiple avenues. for now, Iran is possible. but there must be alternatives like Balochistan, Kashmir/NA, etc. so, if the involvement in Afghanistan finally opens up Indian minds to the complex game in the region, it will be welcome, and about time.

secondly, as the strategic considerations become clear, the tactical side has to be taken care of. almost inevitably, a covert Indian presence must be there in all these countries to feel the pulse. to understand the society, thinking, cultural aspects, and political headwinds, all of this becomes necessary. so a renewed surge into he region *must* happen. one of the indicators of how serious Indian leadership is will be most evident in the "tactical" arena. if they back away from this, then it means that the media glitz is just that: glitz. if they don't, then it means they understand the nature of the game and also have the mature understanding that is required of the leadership of India.

I consider Russia a good benchmark in this. the speed and effectiveness with which Russia neutralized Western planted "color" revolutions is a good example of how a nation's covert presence can be used to secure the periphery and project power. eventually, India must achieve a similar capability.

but in the short term, India's goals will be:
1. make the Afghan security forces strong enough to sustain Taliban assaults.
2. keep Talibani Jihad from finding a foothold in Afghanistan.
3. the new leadership from 2014 must be pro-India.

ramana
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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby ramana » 05 Oct 2011 21:07

"Singh is King!!!"

Haresh
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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Haresh » 05 Oct 2011 21:10

one of pakistans and fanatical islams best friends in the UK has an opinion.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oc ... fghanistan

ramana
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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby ramana » 05 Oct 2011 21:14

Haresh post excerpts where he wrans what TSP can do. Then it can be counter argued.

"Insurgent wrath" my foot. More like TSP pique. If they are pi**ed they know where the toilet is. Wait they are already there.

With experts like this no wonder the US got lost in Af-pak.

Pranay
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Re: India / Afghanistan - A New Strategic Relationship

Postby Pranay » 05 Oct 2011 21:34

http://live.indiatimes.com/default.cms?timesnow=1

India/Afghanistan Strategic Ties discussion - Live on Times Now with Arnab Goswami


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