India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

vics
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Re: India to send 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby vics » 09 Feb 2009 21:53

somnath wrote:This is more than fantasy, its ludicrous! For India to maintain any meaningful number of troops in Afghanistan (forget 100,000 -thats 10% of the Amry for God's sake!), the most important "ally" has to be Pakistan! Suffice to say that the moment India puts in even a word of its intention, Pakistan is going to pull the logistics plug off the Americans. So how is any force going to maintain itself? Through Iran - which will kindly agree to help the US in Afghanistan? Or through Central Asia? What is the incremental cost of that? And we would be sending our troops in harms way knowing fully well that even the shortest air supply route is overflying Pakistan!

america has a credibility problem in Afghanistan, in a society that is deeeply fundamentalist (in no small measure due to America!). While it needs more boots on the ground, it really doesnt help if those boots are not "muslim boots". Any fresh non-muslim boots will only maintain the current level of problems there.

And from our selfish perspective, it is not even good psyops! Night dreams is probably a better word for this..


That makes me think it could be a good move as if Pakis pull the plug on Americans then Americans pull the finance that Pakis survive on Saudis and Chinkis have already said no.

The next logical step is carving out of Balochistan so the route to Afghanistan is secured. Americans will have to fix the Pakis nukes or maybe that is the first thing to do.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 10 Feb 2009 01:00

And, if I may add (if it has not been added earlier), when Karzai says Taliban has a place at the Afghan table he means the Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand line have a place. His power play is to get back the land that belongs to the Afghans without triggering a fight with the Pakis.

The Pakis on their side want to retain the line and have a proxy in Kabool - the good old times.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Johann » 10 Feb 2009 01:28

To suggest that Russia in the 1990s was not serious about Afghanistan is entirely wrong.

Yeltsin moved decisively to intervene in the Tajik civil war against the Islamists (pouring in from Afghanistan), and maintained a large contingent of both Russian border guards, as well as the 201st Motor Rifle Division. The Russians were very clear that the Northern Alliance was their first line of defence in Central Asia. In fact there are fewer Russian troops in the area under Putin, not more.

Iran similarly was *very* active in Afghanistan, particularly Herat, and the Shia Hazara areas like Bamiyan, as well as supporting the Northern Alliance.

The Americans also periodically gave the Northern Alliance periodic cash injections in exchange for intelligence cooperation on Al Qaeda.

The difference between now and the 1990s is not will, its finances - the average (inflation adjusted) price of oil remains higher than it was in the 1990s, and the Indian economy is stronger.

Before the US intervention that helped topple the Taliban the *fundamental* problem in supporting the Northern Alliance was that of logistics. There was just no way to give the Northern Alliance the kind of support it needed for the amounts of money being spent, and a lot of that money got eaten up in things like air transport over the hump. The Pakistanis on the other hand were relatively cheaply able to funnel much larger quantities of support to the Taliban thanks to the all weather connectivity between Afghanistan and Pakistan, particularly in the south. The result was Taliban advance, and Northern Alliance retreat. The superiority of the southern route is a geographical fact, one that drew the Americans in that way in the first place in 2001.

That is the strategic rationale behind India's support for road building between southern Iran and south-western Afghanistan. The Obama administration's more realpolitik view of Iran means that they are keen to re-establish the tacit US-Iranian cooperation on Afghanistan that existed in 2001, and waned 2002-03.

Iran can not of course replace Pakistan entirely for NATO, not unless there is some geopolitical earthquake, but in combination with logistical agreements with Russia and the Central Asian states it can reduce the degree of dependence.

The real debate in the US is over whether expanding the US military presence is the right option, given all the logistical challenges, given the long term commitment, given the sheer size of the area, etc.

The way that the debate will be settled I suspect is that Obama will approve several different efforts/initiatives, and come back and re-evaluate progress after 12-18 months, and focus on those that are delivering better results.
- Afghan related engagement with Iran and Russia
- A mini-surge of conventional forces in Afghanistan
- Efforts to accelarate the development of the Afghan National Army and central government institutions
- support for tribal militias to provide manpower
- attempts to shift the focus of the US role from conventional operations to Special Forces/CIA/USAID/DEA/DoS support to provincial governers and friendly local tribal and village leaders
- concessions as well as threats to Pakistan to force it in to a more cooperative stance
- greater focus on counter-drug efforts
- attempts to get particular commanders who joined the Taliban for convenience to quit with their followers in exchange for US support.

In particular right now Karzai wants heavy weapons - combat aircraft, artillery and armour. The Americans are reluctant to give this stuff until the ANA gets bigger and masters the basics of light infantry operations. Karzai wants the deterrent that it represents - in fact the Karzai is using negotiations with the Russians on the subject to pressure the Americans in to changing their line.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RajeshA » 10 Feb 2009 02:27

Johann wrote:To suggest that Russia in the 1990s was not serious about Afghanistan is entirely wrong.

Yeltsin moved decisively to intervene in the Tajik civil war against the Islamists (pouring in from Afghanistan), and maintained a large contingent of both Russian border guards, as well as the 201st Motor Rifle Division. The Russians were very clear that the Northern Alliance was their first line of defence in Central Asia. In fact there are fewer Russian troops in the area under Putin, not more.

Iran similarly was *very* active in Afghanistan, particularly Herat, and the Shia Hazara areas like Bamiyan, as well as supporting the Northern Alliance.

The Americans also periodically gave the Northern Alliance periodic cash injections in exchange for intelligence cooperation on Al Qaeda.

The difference between now and the 1990s is not will, its finances - the average (inflation adjusted) price of oil remains higher than it was in the 1990s, and the Indian economy is stronger.


Johann, thanks for the other perspective.

It is true, that Russia intervened in Tajikistan. It is true, that Iran showed support for the Shia Hazaras in Afghanistan. It is true, that the Northern Alliance also received some support from both.

Perhaps, one can look upon it as relative. Some would consider, the above contribution by Russia and Iran to be sufficient as proof of their will. Others would say, that if they were serious, they would have found the necessary finances. In the end, they allowed an avowed enemy, the Taliban, to take over Afghanistan. It is a moot argument.

I hope, that this time India, Iran and Russia will be more generous with support.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Sanjay M » 10 Feb 2009 02:49

Howsoever serious the rest of the Russians were, Yeltsin was an idiot, and pre-9/11 West saw Islamist militancy as a golden opportunity to penetrate into Russia's 'Near Abroad' (which is the same reason that some in the West are still even now trying to disengage from conflict with the Islamists)

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Johann » 10 Feb 2009 05:54

Hi Rajesh,

Again, its not just generosity, or a question of strategic priority that's the key here. Its a matter of logistic throughput, and getting the best bang for the buck.

You can spend billions and still lose if dont identify the critical elements, and even after you identify the critical elements you need time and space to address them.

To my eyes the Indo-Iranian cooperation on roadbuilding (which the Americans did not seriously interfere with) addresses some of the fundamental weakness and lessons learned of pre-911 American/Russian/Indian/Iranian support to the Northern Alliance - maintaining a flow of supplies that can compete with what the Pakistanis can maintain across the Durand Line.

Similarly, the Americans have been investing since 2001 in improving overland links between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and northern Afghanistan. The Iranians have also been involved in some similar projects in Tajikistan.

All of these infrastructure projects address many of the bottlenecks that led to the Northern Alliance's near collapse 1999-2001. But they are not complete, not by a long shot.

Even if they were, the security of non-Pashtun areas while necessary is not sufficient - there is still the bigger question of how best to deny the Pashtun areas to Pakistani, Arab etc jihadi groups.

Sanjay,

Err you mean Yeltsin the idiot who fought a war and saved Tajikistan from Islamists, who kept troops and intervened in Transdniestria, who intervened in Abkhazia and North Ossetia, who refused to let Chechnya go, who refused to return territory seized from the Japanese in 1945, who sent paratroopers racing to Kosovo ahead of NATO, who disarmed Ukraine and Kazakhstan of their nuclear weapons, retained bases in Georgia and Ukraine, etc?

It is such a cliche to call Yeltsin an idiot - yet he handpicked and groomed Putin for leadership, as well as other Russian nationalists like Primakov. Yeltsin was anti-Soviet, he was a drunk, he had a circle of corrupt cronies like his daughter and Berezovsky whom he allowed to run rampant. But he was also a smart and tough Russian nationalist who was able to bamboozle the West in to supporting him and hold things together despite record low oil prices - remember that volatility in oil prices helped destroy the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Russia and the US had no clash of interests over Afghanistan between 1998 and 2001. For that matter Putin was in power from December 1999 onwards. None of that prevented the Northern Alliance from sustaining defeat after defeat.

It took a lot of very well focussed firepower to overcome the inherent logistical advantage of the Taliban-Pakistan combination. When the airpower went away, and anti-Taliban Pashtuns failed to fill the vacuum the advantages of Pakistan's geography reasserted itself.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Sanjay M » 10 Feb 2009 06:13

You may be a Yeltsin fan, but I'm not. That guy was an idiot. Whatever cleverness or patriotism you see in him, I don't agree with. He was a stupid man who spent most of his time in a drunken stupor. Putin is way the hell smarter than Yeltsin ever was.

There are people in India who eulogize Nehru or Manmohan in the same way. Such corrupt sycophants can be found everywhere. There are people who feel Clinton was the ultimate in piety.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Rudradev » 10 Feb 2009 07:29

Johann wrote:In particular right now Karzai wants heavy weapons - combat aircraft, artillery and armour. The Americans are reluctant to give this stuff until the ANA gets bigger and masters the basics of light infantry operations. Karzai wants the deterrent that it represents - in fact the Karzai is using negotiations with the Russians on the subject to pressure the Americans in to changing their line.


Right. The Americans are "reluctant to give the ANA" weapons that would be a deterrent against Paki invasion because it is benevolently concerned with the ANA's "mastery of the basics" :roll:

Sophistry aside, there is exactly one reason why the West will not arm the Afghans with the weapons necessary to prevent another subjugation of their country by the Pakistanis. That's because they recognize Afghan "strategic depth" as a legitimate Pakistani aspiration, and view Afghanistan coming under the Pakistani sphere of influence as a potentially desirable outcome of the present circumstances. Her Travesty's Government, as we know, is the most outspoken advocate of such an outcome.

A significant faction of Western strategists... particularly the UQ... is more than ready to sell Afghanistan down the river to the Pakistanis once again, as and when it suits them. When the sale happens, they don't want the Afghans to have the capacity to do anything about it. So they pressure the Americans not to give the Afghans any such capacity.

Meanwhile, NATO finds it convenient to deploy the ANA in "light infantry operations" i.e. as cannon fodder against the Taliban... just so long as the ANA never acquires the necessary equipment to fight off their real enemy.

I hope Putin seizes the opportunity presented by Karzai's overture. In an alliance with Kabul, he may claim for the Russian homeland that very southern buffer that Brezhnev and his successors fought for a decade to conquer.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Sanjay M » 10 Feb 2009 09:12

I don't think Putin's foolish enough to extend his ambitions into Pakistan. But he is smart enough to want to keep the Americans out of CentralAsia, and understands how precariously overextended and vulnerable they are right now.

He doesn't mind having the US Army do his dirty work for him against Taliban, since he doesn't want these latter to start running amok in his 'Near Abroad'.
But he just wants the US to understand that this all has to happen on his terms.

It's interesting to see how this is slowly drifting the Americans towards Iran, with the Islamophilic Europeans leading the way in that direction.
While Manmohan/Sonia/Congress may have damaged India's standing with Iran by voting against its nuclear hobbies at the UN, a return of BJP to the Centre could repair some of this. India could then likewise make better use of the Iranian bridgehead into Afghanistan to keep Pak at bay - including the supply of heavier weapons to Kabul.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 10 Feb 2009 09:21

RajeshA wrote:
Secondly, after the Karzai came to power, Afghanistan has been able to build upon its security services, the Army, which can also be useful.
One of Karzai's biggest issues was that although, he was the figurehead Pashtun leading the government, the real levers of power, were with the members of the Nothern Alliance, with the key powers of defense in the hands of General Fahim. General Fahim has ensured that the Tajik's are over represented in the ANA, with especially the officer cadre dominated by the Tajiks (70%). This is very different from the years, when Afghanistan did have a national army, dominated by the Pashtuns. The ANA does not have a single battalion capable of operating with independent command that can take on the job of securing Afghanistan. Most of their operations are led by foreign forces. The few that are led by ANA, have embedded trainers. Many of their engagements seem to be with the support of NATO air power. The ANA as such is a long way off, from being a capable professional army with the ability to defend and hold its own. This is not Iraq.

Thirdly, in those days the relationship between TSP and Taliban was very clear-cut. Now Taliban has become a tiger, which does not like the likes of Pakjabi and Mohajir 'vermin' to be riding it.
TSP's continuous policy has been to use Islam as a political ideology, using it as a cement to bind disparate ethnicities. Taliban was and is a product of this policy.

Fourthly Taliban is insistent and persistent in getting control over all Pushtun lands in Pakistan also, bringing it into a direct confrontation with the TSPA, unless TSPA waives the white flags in the beginning itself. (Many BRFites do not make the distinction, I do).
As ramana ji said, Islamism is the Pashtun way of asserting its nationalist moorings. My personal view is this infusion of Wahabi Islam, sowed in the 80's and watered by TSP in the 90's, is growing and if not checked, this tree will grow strong, whose fruits will be eaten by TSP, unless checked.

Fifthly, even if the Americans leave Pakistan and Afghanistan, it does not mean America is willing to fully disassociate with the region, as the area remains the 'Terror Central". So there would be some control over Pakistani involvement in Afghanistan.
What does it matter to what degree America will or not disassociate. At the end of the day, the American government will act on in its view, its best interests. It is up to India to act in its own. If India does not then there is no point in crying foul. My view again is, a failure to act in Afghanistan today, will be one of those Himalayan blunders at the same levels of India's approach to the UN over Kashmir in 1948 or misreading the Chinese in 1962, that will bite us for decades to come.

Sixthly, the Afghans, the Pushtuns themselves are not very convinced about a renewed Taliban takeover. The Taliban get some resonance simply because of the drug and Arab money in it, and because there are foreign forces 'occupying' Pushtun areas.
True a majority of the Pashtuns do not like the Taliban, never did but if there is no other alternative then the biggest goondas automatically rule.

Seventhly, the Taliban are going to be more busy extending their control over Pakistani Pushtun areas, than fighting the Tajiks and Hazaras in the North.
Pashtuns on both sides of the border to not recognize the Durand line. There is no "ethnic" divide between the artificial borders. Someone will lead the Pashtuns. If there is no counter force to the TSP sponsored Taliban then Afghanistan is destined to be the backyard of TSP.

It would be helpful to consider Northern Afghanistan and Pushtunistan separately.
[/quote]This train of thought baffles me on all aspects. Demographically the combined Pashtun population dominates the other minorities of Afghanistan. Even if somehow, one can manage to make viable states out of these entities, It is critical that India gets the support of the Pashtuns for it is through the Pashtuns the strategic interests of India are served.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby kasthuri » 10 Feb 2009 10:14

X-posting from another thread (Afghan thread, in particular).

Iran may give India access to Afghanistan

Iran may give India access to Afghanistan

Special Correspondent

Wants to work for IPI gas pipeline

Link will give Iran all-weather access to Afghanistan

Gas pipeline project will help establish security in the region

NEW DELHI: Iran on Monday said India could soon have a sea-cum-land route that would give Indian goods access to Afghanistan and further on to Central Asian countries, bypassing Pakistan.

Tehran also said that as a friend of both Pakistan and India, it would “have to play a role” in reducing tensions between the two countries and ensure that differences over the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline are overcome.

Speaking to journalists here, Iran’s Ambassador in India Syed Mahdi Nabizadeh said Iran was attempting to make its Chabar port viable by declaring it a free trade zone and improving the logistical infrastructure. A road or rail line from the port could take Indian goods to the Afghan border.

From there, a 217-km India-built road from the Afghan border town of Zaranj will provide the last-mile connectivity to Delaram located on the “garland highway” of Afghanistan which connects most of its major cities, including Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kunduz. Some of the offshoots of this road, also called the North-South corridor, go into Central Asia.

The link would also give Iran an all-weather access into Afghanistan . As the Iranian Ambassador noted, “Both India and Iran have tried to help in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. However, elements in Afghanistan tried to deny Iran a role in the reconstruction. But we were able to provide useful help in the construction of infrastructure and other important facilities. Our help in the form of manpower and construction material was also instrumental in the construction of the Zaranj-Delaram road.”

Observing that neighbours should tolerate each other, Mr. Nabizadeh said Iran held the view that the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan would not be able to establish peace and security in the country.

On the IPI gas pipeline, he felt the project would materialise. “Though there is the issue of security in between, we believe it can be removed by trilateral agreements and dialogue.” Iran’s agreement with Pakistan has been framed in such a way that India could join it in future. “But we hope the delay will not be so long that there is no room for India. We believe the implementation of the project will help in the establishment of security in the region.”

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Johann » 10 Feb 2009 12:01

Rudradev,

This has nothing to do with the UK. Nor is it a clash of perceptions unique to Afghanistan - the Americans dont want to provide heavy weaponry or aircraft to the Iraqi Army either.

The ANA as cannon fodder? They dont go anywhere without the Americans right now, either embedded as advisors, or paired with US units. The ANA cant be clobbered without the Americans getting clobbered.

The Afghan Army, like the Iraqi Army depends on US airpower when it needs backup or airlift.

Karzai very much needs the weaponry most of all to combat the *impression* of total vulnerability to shifts in NATO policy - that undermines his standing with the provincial governors, the ex-warlords who all have their own forces. It means that outside powers, whether Iran, or NATO, or Russia, or Pakistan are tempted to work with the Northern Alliance, or Pashtun tribal leaders or whatever.

Karzai is willing to play the Russian card to get NATO to take him seriously, instead of bypassing him and working with the provincial and village notables. Afghanistan's central government's grip has always been weak - unless all foreign powers go through them, they will shrink steadily in power and influence.

*All* the major players since the fall of Kabul have failed at various times to support a strong central government and instead gone to their favourite people. While the central government will not be strong enough to beat the Taliban singlehandedly, it does have to be strong enough to persuade all the various provincial and village gun-toters that it is in their best interests to work with Kabul against the insurgents. Getting impatient with Karzai for the corruption of his government, or his American ties, etc and cutting him out is a bad idea. Iran for example has been far smarter in Iraq than Afghanistan, ultimately giving up the idea of undermining the central government, and instead chosing to support it.

Nothing has stopped any non-NATO power from making large, serious offers of military aid to Karzai's government that dwarf what the Americans, etc have done so far. Its just that no one bothered to. Maybe that will change. On the whole that would be good - the job of security capacity building in Afghanistan is too big for any one power or bloc to handle entirely on their own.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RajeshA » 10 Feb 2009 13:19

ShauryaT wrote:
RajeshA wrote:It would be helpful to consider Northern Afghanistan and Pushtunistan separately.
This train of thought baffles me on all aspects. Demographically the combined Pashtun population dominates the other minorities of Afghanistan. Even if somehow, one can manage to make viable states out of these entities, It is critical that India gets the support of the Pashtuns for it is through the Pashtuns the strategic interests of India are served.


The dynamics of national thinking are relevant. Only if Northern Afghanistan and Pushtunistan are considered separately, can the Pushtuns start looking upon themselves, not as Afghans, who were willing/forced to accept per forma the state of Pakistan in its current borders, but as Pushtuns, who deserve a country of their own, with its own internationally recognized borders. Cutting off Northern Afghanistan politically from Pushtunistan ensures, that the Taliban Movement would and could return to its Pushtun Nationalism roots, even as the political system there becomes Islamofascist for some time. This dynamic is necessary for the break up of TSP.

A Pushtunistan coming up next to TSP, in fact through the break-up of TSP, could also accentuate a siege mentality on the Pakjabis, and force them to retaliate. As Pakistanis they could retaliate in Peshawar, trying to hold Pakistan together, or as Pakjabis, as they come into confrontation with Taliban as the Taliban reach deeper into Pakjab Proper. I am pretty sure of this impending conflict. A conflict, which is necessary for India and ultimately for the Kemalization of Pakjab.

ShauryaT,

I am not advocating relations with Pushtuns, which are less than fruitful and friendly.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 10 Feb 2009 20:24

RajeshA wrote:The dynamics of national thinking are relevant. Only if Northern Afghanistan and Pushtunistan are considered separately, can the Pushtuns start looking upon themselves, not as Afghans, who were willing/forced to accept per forma the state of Pakistan in its current borders, but as Pushtuns, who deserve a country of their own, with its own internationally recognized borders. Cutting off Northern Afghanistan politically from Pushtunistan ensures, that the Taliban Movement would and could return to its Pushtun Nationalism roots, even as the political system there becomes Islamofascist for some time. This dynamic is necessary for the break up of TSP.
RajeshA: I have very few examples of political boundaries being redrawn without the force of arms. TSP is not going to redraw its boundaries peacefully. Even today, the largest Pashtun force is part of the Pakistani military! The US of A is not going to oblige India, by breaking TSP into four parts and then another 12 parts of the remaining part for Afghanistan! How do the Pashtuns manage to secede without outside support and why and who will support such a secession. How does a breakup of Afghanistan serve US interests or Indian interests continues to baffle me.

A Pushtunistan coming up next to TSP, in fact through the break-up of TSP, could also accentuate a siege mentality on the Pakjabis, and force them to retaliate. As Pakistanis they could retaliate in Peshawar, trying to hold Pakistan together, or as Pakjabis, as they come into confrontation with Taliban as the Taliban reach deeper into Pakjab Proper. I am pretty sure of this impending conflict. A conflict, which is necessary for India and ultimately for the Kemalization of Pakjab.
Please do check on ANY socio-economic or military factors, and gauge how such a future envisioned conflict is likely to go, even if your scenario comes true. The difference in capabilities are worse that Paskistan against India.

ShauryaT,

I am not advocating relations with Pushtuns, which are less than fruitful and friendly.
Then you ensure the use of Pushtuns against India by TSP. Taliban is the most recent name.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RajeshA » 10 Feb 2009 21:00

ShauryaT wrote:
RajeshA wrote:The dynamics of national thinking are relevant. Only if Northern Afghanistan and Pushtunistan are considered separately, can the Pushtuns start looking upon themselves, not as Afghans, who were willing/forced to accept per forma the state of Pakistan in its current borders, but as Pushtuns, who deserve a country of their own, with its own internationally recognized borders. Cutting off Northern Afghanistan politically from Pushtunistan ensures, that the Taliban Movement would and could return to its Pushtun Nationalism roots, even as the political system there becomes Islamofascist for some time. This dynamic is necessary for the break up of TSP.
RajeshA: I have very few examples of political boundaries being redrawn without the force of arms. TSP is not going to redraw its boundaries peacefully. Even today, the largest Pashtun force is part of the Pakistani military! The US of A is not going to oblige India, by breaking TSP into four parts and then another 12 parts of the remaining part for Afghanistan! How do the Pashtuns manage to secede without outside support and why and who will support such a secession. How does a breakup of Afghanistan serve US interests or Indian interests continues to baffle me.

But the political boundaries of Pakistan are being redrawn through the use of force. The daily death toll in Pakistan is a reminder of that war. The TTP is in fact gaining ground by the hour. Everyday less and less Pakistanis are convinced that their state can protect them.
USA has also been obliging India into breaking up Pakistan, willingly or unwillingly. The War on Terror being played out in Afghanistan and the drone strikes into FATA, have given the Taliban forces the cover for their militancy, and at the same time obfuscated the nature of the war for the Abduls in Pakistan. They are still asking, whether it is their war or are they fighting America's war in Pakistan.
The break-up of Afghanistan into North non-Pushtun and South Pushtun pushes the Pushtun people to consolidate their nation southwards into Pakistan.
A Pushtunistan coming up next to TSP, in fact through the break-up of TSP, could also accentuate a siege mentality on the Pakjabis, and force them to retaliate. As Pakistanis they could retaliate in Peshawar, trying to hold Pakistan together, or as Pakjabis, as they come into confrontation with Taliban as the Taliban reach deeper into Pakjab Proper. I am pretty sure of this impending conflict. A conflict, which is necessary for India and ultimately for the Kemalization of Pakjab.
Please do check on ANY socio-economic or military factors, and gauge how such a future envisioned conflict is likely to go, even if your scenario comes true. The difference in capabilities are worse that Paskistan against India.

The difference in capabilities is not going to be the decisive factor. Had it been a factor, the Pakistani forces would not have been downward skiing in every fight in Bajaur, Swat, Mohmand or elsewhere. Likewise, had the Pushtuns been fighting under the Pushtun flag, the Pakistani Army would not have dithered for so long in crushing them. However going into this war under the banner of Islam and Taliban, allows the Pushtuns to put the Pakistani Army in a very uncomfortable situation. The Pakistani Army is being asked to fight against a fellow Islamic Army which claims to be even more Sunni and purer than them. This is not what the Army people signed up for. They wanted to do Jihad against a Hindu Army but are being forced to confront an Army fighting under a flag of an even darker green. So the present policy remains one that of conflict avoidance and appeasement, which cannot be sustained for long.


ShauryaT,

I am not advocating relations with Pushtuns, which are less than fruitful and friendly.
Then you ensure the use of Pushtuns against India by TSP. Taliban is the most recent name.


Taliban and India's skirmishes have been limited to Afghanistan. Taliban's major fights have been with the Pakjabis, Mohajirs in Karachi and with USA and NATO in Afghanistan.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Rahul Shukla » 11 Feb 2009 08:17

Iran may give India access to Afghanistan (Hindu)

Speaking to journalists here, Iran’s Ambassador in India Syed Mahdi Nabizadeh said Iran was attempting to make its Chabar port viable by declaring it a free trade zone and improving the logistical infrastructure. A road or rail line from the port could take Indian goods to the Afghan border. From there, a 217-km India-built road from the Afghan border town of Zaranj will provide the last-mile connectivity to Delaram located on the “garland highway” of Afghanistan which connects most of its major cities, including Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kunduz. Some of the offshoots of this road, also called the North-South corridor, go into Central Asia.

The link would also give Iran an all-weather access into Afghanistan . As the Iranian Ambassador noted, “Both India and Iran have tried to help in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. However, elements in Afghanistan tried to deny Iran a role in the reconstruction. But we were able to provide useful help in the construction of infrastructure and other important facilities. Our help in the form of manpower and construction material was also instrumental in the construction of the Zaranj-Delaram road.”

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Rudradev » 11 Feb 2009 11:23

Anybody being paying attention to this guy Syed Jamaluddin?

A public advocate of the disintegration of Pakistan and the self-determination of Pakhtoonkhwa!

Please visit his Youtube channel,

http://www.youtube.com/user/dividepakistan

Please give him high ratings and comment favorably on his videos to raise their profile. I cannot emphasize this enough... the medium of internet video is the arena in which the propaganda wars of today and tomorrow are going to be fought!

Also visit his blog to support and raise its profile:

http://www.dividepakistan.blogspot.com/

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Satya_anveshi » 11 Feb 2009 22:02

Rudradev wrote:A public advocate of the disintegration of Pakistan and the self-determination of Pakhtoonkhwa!
Please visit his Youtube channel,
http://www.youtube.com/user/dividepakistan

Good find. NaPakistanNoMore has visited it and will spread it around.

ramana
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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 11 Feb 2009 22:39

RajeshA said

Taliban and India's skirmishes have been limited to Afghanistan. Taliban's major fights have been with the Pakjabis, Mohajirs in Karachi and with USA and NATO in Afghanistan.


Correction. Indian encounters with terrorists are purel TSP controlled ones. They are not Taliban in pure sense. They are outsourced(by TSPA/ISI) Talibani jihadis. os it not same thing.

I will make a statement now:

If Pashtunistan happens it will be because India supports it. It wont happen otherwise. No other country or force can bring about Pashtunistan without Indian agreement.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby anjali » 12 Feb 2009 02:20

Please visit his Youtube channel,

http://www.youtube.com/user/dividepakistan

Please give him high ratings and comment favorably on his videos to raise their profile. I cannot emphasize this enough... the medium of internet video is the arena in which the propaganda wars of today and tomorrow are going to be fought!

Also visit his blog to support and raise its profile:

http://www.dividepakistan.blogspot.com


Great discovery, I am definitely going to be a staunch patron of this guy...He deserves an award for doing this
Also, I really think most of us BRFites should buy this book (lets make this guy rich :-)
Thanks

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Chinmayanand » 12 Feb 2009 02:27

ramana wrote:If Pashtunistan happens it will be because India supports it. It wont happen otherwise. No other country or force can bring about Pashtunistan without Indian agreement.

Ramanaji, can you throw some light on this?Why is Indian role so important and what leverage does India have in this regard?

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RajeshA » 12 Feb 2009 02:31

ramana wrote:RajeshA said

Taliban and India's skirmishes have been limited to Afghanistan. Taliban's major fights have been with the Pakjabis, Mohajirs in Karachi and with USA and NATO in Afghanistan.


Correction. Indian encounters with terrorists are purel TSP controlled ones. They are not Taliban in pure sense. They are outsourced(by TSPA/ISI) Talibani jihadis. os it not same thing.


True. Which of course, brings us to a fact, that there have been no skirmishes between India and Taliban, which were either Taliban-initiated or Taliban-sponsored. It does not mean, India should not bring those who committed the barbarities to justice. It just mean we are talking about justice to the contractors, and not for the masterminds in this case, who sit in Rawalpindi.

ramana wrote:I will make a statement now:

If Pashtunistan happens it will be because India supports it. It wont happen otherwise. No other country or force can bring about Pashtunistan without Indian agreement.


India should show no compunctions in giving support to Pushtunistan for its independence, in whatever way possible, be it moral, political, diplomatic, logistical, financial, military, strategic ....

It is however also true, that the Pushtunistan, which will be de-facto established would be established by the Taliban, as they are the only Pushtun force capable of dislocating TSPA (and even NATO) from control over the Pushtun areas. Moreover the Taliban would retain their alliance with Al Qaida for the forseeable future. This is at the moment the only realistic outcome.

The question that arises is, should India give support to the establishment of a state, Pushtunistan, as well as recognition to it, which is controlled by Taliban allied with Al Qaida.

I would say, we should do it, but only partial and conditional support.

Partial in the sense of
- diplomatic interaction
- logistics
- transit
- limited financial

Conditional in the sense of
- strong Northern Afghanistan political setup
- Kemalized Pakjab
- independent (or preferably aligned with India) Baluchistan
- Taliban retreat from Karachi
- assurances of non-aggression against India
- dependence on imports from India (much like NoKo dependence on China in this case)
Added Later:
- no nuclear weapons under Taliban control
- no capacity for developing ABC Weapons (all Talibanized scientists willing to help Taliban/Al Qaida will be promoted upwards)

We should consider Taliban control over Pushtunistan as positive and temporary.

Positive in the sense, that
- it helps unravel Pakistan

Temporary in the sense, that
- we can be sure, that the Pushtun will not accept such a totalitarian regime for long
- we can help nurture, an alternative Pushtun leadership and Pushtun forces in the mean time which can be done in Baluchistan, which would be aligned with India; Northern Areas, which would be in Indian control; or in Northern Afghanistan.
Last edited by RajeshA on 12 Feb 2009 14:01, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 12 Feb 2009 02:44

RajeshA has provided my reasoning.
Thanks.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Prem » 12 Feb 2009 03:22

Regarding Pashtuns , BR is arriving back at the same conclusion which was drawn 3,4 years ago . :)
As long as Pakshtoonistan is allied with India , GOI should allocate budget for their development and security considering it far part of ancient India . Let Pashtuns even nominate 2 representatives in both houses of Indian Parliament to voice their opinion and elaborate their concerns.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 14 Feb 2009 03:43


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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 14 Feb 2009 09:09

ramana wrote:If Pashtunistan happens it will be because India supports it. It wont happen otherwise. No other country or force can bring about Pashtunistan without Indian agreement.
Let us also understand the full scope of the above. India will have to force such an agreement in the region. The agreement cannot be reached without India using its forces.

Let us also understand, what will happen, if India does not use force. It means, other parties will be in the region and Indian Interests will suffer. Worse case scenario is TSP again gets to use the people and regions of Afghanistan to play its games and the rental value of TSP remains high.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby AnimeshP » 14 Feb 2009 11:15

OK guys .... here's a different thought .... feel free to trash it ... i want us to think how India can make a real difference in Afghanistan ..... You know bringing in peace and stability and economic growth which ... while making work for private Indian entities to develop Afghanistan and making sure that Indian citizens are getting a good deal for the work that they will be putting in ....

So ... I think India should take over the security of one of the small regions in Afgahistan for a period of 5 years ... India should commit about 300,000 personnel to that region on the condition that US & NATO foot some of the bill .... at the same time India should also send in some Police or BSF battalions ... some administration staff ... and create some local service based economy .... that means development & re-building using local labor but being sub-contracted to Indian companies .... this economy need not be very hi-fi or perfect but should at least be function for the most part .... i guess it will be an improvement over their current scenario ... at the same time the administrative services and Police services will work with local afghans to set up some sort of administrative structure ... which is compatible to general local culture ...

now for the personnel who are going to afghanistan or for that matter any Indian citizen going to Afghanistan during this 5 year period .... the govt will give the guy some huge allowance every month over and above what their salary is as per 6th Pay commission or his local salary in India ...

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RajeshA » 14 Feb 2009 13:39

g.kacha,

300,000 personnel will be too much, but around 50,000 security personnel and around 5,000 technical and administrative personnel will be affordable, though such an estimation from a non-expert like me is more or less ungrounded.

I would suggest the provinces of Badakhshan, adjoining province to Tajikistan, and Nurestan, an adjoining province of Badakhshan, as the region, whose security and administration may be taken over. These provinces are also close to the Northern Areas in Pakistan's control, and Chitral in NWFP. These areas may be away from the obvious supply route over Iran, but one could procure some supplies locally and in Tajikistan. The rest of the supplies would have to be transported over long distances, possible over the Northern Ring Road. India could also help in the development of those roads in the North too.

Badakhshan and Nurestan are possibly the only two provinces in Afghanistan which can be of direct strategic interest, when it comes to securing our interests in, i.e. liberating, Northern Areas and I would include Chitral and Kohistan districts in NWFP to such an effort. Moreover Badakhshan and Nurestan are ethnically quite interesting and may make an Indian presence there somewhat less hostile. It will also be advisable for India to concentrate on building up the native provincial security forces in these two provinces as a priority.

THAT SAID, I am very sceptic when it comes to putting boots on the ground in Afghanistan, and my doubts will be lessened only if such a deployment takes place with a firm strategic partnership with Iran, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and NATO. We should make it clear, that we are not there to carry NATO's burden or pull US's coals out of the fire.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RayC » 14 Feb 2009 14:46

In so far as India supporting the Northern Alliance, it was strategically necessary since they alone were capable of neutralising the Pakistan backed Taliban. True, Pakistan’s geographical mass is in between and a serious logistical impediment, yet, prudence demanded that Pakistan be counter balanced and kept occupied in Afghanistan, so as to relieve pressure in Kashmir, where there was a sudden surge of out of work Afghan terrorist veterans.

The highway India has possibly been built with a long term strategic perspective. It is connected to the India assistance to build the Chabahar port in Iran.

The Chabahar-Melak-Zaranj-Dilaram route from Iran to Afghanistan with Indian aid upgrading the Chabahar-Melak road with a bridge on the route to Zaranj. India's BRO has laid the 213-kilometer Zaranj-Dilaram road. It is a part of its USD 750 million aid package to Afghanistan.

India, Iran and Afghanistan have signed an agreement to give Indian goods, heading for Central Asia and Afghanistan, preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Chabahar.

The significance of Chabahar and the Highway in Afghanistan is that it also keeps open the strategic partnership between India, Iran and Russia with the establishment of a multi-modal transport link connecting Mumbai with St. Petersburg via the CAR.

Thus, as the US is keeping all its options open by equations with India as well with Pakistan, India is keeping its options open with Iran, the CAR, Afghanistan and Russia. How things are going to pan out in the future, one really cannot predict.

One could surmise, though not conclusively that the Indian effort in these said regions is bearing fruit and hence the Al Queda recently warned India that “there will be many more Mumbais”.

Further, India has to neutralise China’s strategy of a string of pearls. Thus Chabahar is the reply to Gwadar. The long term perspective could be to have an independent Balochistan and Chabahar and the Highway is probably the safe entries for the ‘foreign hand’ assisting the Balochis to achieve their aim. It would not be surprising if the US is in the game since they, too, are not particularly amused with the Chinese at Gwadar, monitoring the western activities with their surveillance equipment positioned there. An independent Balochistan will be the end of the Chinese plan to build an oil pipeline from Gwadar to Tibet and thence to China!

In so far as Indian troops being sent to Afghanistan, it all depends on whether the US requires them or not. Even if the Indian troops are required, the US will not ask them to be deployed along the Durand Line, owing to political requirements. They will form the internal forces to suppress the Taliban already within. The strength would obviously depend on the Mission statement.

Just a thought!


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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 15 Feb 2009 06:21

RayC,

Iran electing a more moderate leader would go a long way in resolving a lot of these issues. There are other regional dynamics that will play into this picture.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RayC » 15 Feb 2009 11:40

NRao wrote:RayC,

Iran electing a more moderate leader would go a long way in resolving a lot of these issues. There are other regional dynamics that will play into this picture.


That is true.

How the worm shall turn is anyone's guess. Obama in dialogue with Iran instead of a confrontationist attitude may work or the Iranians themselves force a change!

That is why I stated that one cannot predict what the future holds.

With Russia keen to have a finger in the pie and the US requiring an alternate route through the North, Afghanistan is getting to be an interesting area of world politics.

China already has contracts in Afghanistan (copper) and is keen that the Taliban is reined in. The Taliban has trained the Uighurs of Sinkiang and believes that if fundamentalist Islam is reined in, they would be able to handle the Uighurs.

Quite a pot that is simmering with nowhere to go!

If Pakistan comes, can India be far behind?

It is also interesting to note that according to some estimates there are 30 million Pashtuns in Pakistan while 12.5 million in Afghanistan. Over 60% of all Pashtuns live in Pakistan, this includes Pakistani Pashtuns and about three to four million Pashtun refugees from Afghanistan.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby kasthuri » 15 Feb 2009 20:51

This news is interesting. Already Karzai, when he was India, was requesting IA to take part in Afghanistan. Assuming Kabul has some say in this reviewed US strategy, he is likely to push this idea. But, I assume such things already would have been discussed between India-US, if not, it will definitely prop up during this Holbrooke visit.

Afghanistan to take part in US strategic review

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 16 Feb 2009 04:55

RayC wrote:That is why I stated that one cannot predict what the future holds.
True, and the only possibility for the future to be the way one would like it to go, is for capable entities to act and work to make the future they desire a reality.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby shynee » 16 Feb 2009 21:16

Nice find Shaurya.

Some of the footage really gruesome.


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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RajeshA » 16 Feb 2009 21:53

shynee wrote:Nice find Shaurya.

Some of the footage really gruesome.



Part Four is 'The Challenge Just Over the Border', i.e. FATA

Basically my stand has been, that it would not be a very good idea to send Indian troops over to Afghanistan. Watching this reportage, I do feel a confirmation of my strong reservations.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ashish raval » 16 Feb 2009 22:49

The problem in afghanistan is not about winning. It can be won. It is plainly about number of boots on the ground and that is what all the speakers were repeatedly saying in the PBS documentry. Using 33,000 troops to control a territory of size more than Iraq will simply not work. The only way out is a huge increase in the number of troops on the Afghan side and Pakistan side. If Taliban can be squeezed from both sides by Pakistani army and International force only then they could be defeated. Otherwise there is no way out. The other problem lies with the numbers of Talibans here too. A person who is running a shop in the daytime could be a fighter in the night, hence the real number of Talibs and Al-keeda cannot be known. I guess unless Taliban ideology is separated from the Pashtun identity of people, it could be a lost war. International community needs to try number of options simultaneously to defeat Talibans like if the number of bullets available to militants dry up, they will be forced to get bogged down. If their finances dry up, people will be less willing to join taliban, If the number of spies on the ground is dramatically increased it could well help target the taliban leaders. Most importantly if Bin-Laden is bombed, the rats will start fleeing. Everything is fair in this war because talibans are guerilla rats they dont have the courage to fight like real warriors and to kill rats International force needs a different strategy. Deception and lies to assimilate rats at one place and then bombing them holds the key here. If International force thinks that taliban is getting money from poppy trade, why dont they just blanket spray the crops with anti-poppy drugs to ruin the crops which surely funds taliban.
What is important here is the Pakistan's lack of willingness/ability to deal with Talibans which is really painful. A few idiotic paki generals think that they will be able to contain talibans at their will at a future date and they are living in a fools paradise. I think India needs to increase its army by half a million and introduce a compulsory military training to all the kids in the school like Greece, Turkey and Israel. No one knows when will needs huge number on the ground in the future.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby John Snow » 17 Feb 2009 07:22

Admins I apologize these Q&A by MKN should be in Serious Humor thread, but do note the answer about sending Troops to Afghanistan and the very same MKN shoots his mouth in talks with Lt Gen Durrani the TSPaki NSA during his october 2008 visit to India and I quote " Why we can even send India troops to Afghanistan..." which leads to Nov 26 Mumbai massacre!

read on

http://www.straitstimes.com/STI/STIMEDIA/pdf/20080811/Q&A%20by%20Ravi.pdf

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 17 Feb 2009 07:30

From acorn.nationalinterest.in

India shouldn’t expect that it can defeat Pakistani terrorism on the cheap

So little do people expect out of Pakistan that when it did admit that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai came from Pakistan, it was seen as major step in a good direction. That step, we are told, was due to pressure from the United States. It’s possibly true—but in the Islamabad scheme of things, it is still better to be seen as caving in to the United States (unpopularity rank #2) than to India (unpopularity rank #1). Just like July 1999, when it was President Clinton—no, not the Indian armed forces—who got Pakistan to climb down from Kargil.

India’s diplomatic success in getting Pakistan to concede its role in cross-border terrorism and take nominal action is in line with the logic of containment that C Raja Mohan wrote about: “using external pressure to secure internal change in Pakistan.” Beyond the game of diplomatic cut-and-thrust, what is the strategic score?

In the December 2008 issue of Pragati, I wrote: “India must not only seek to deliver exemplary punishment on the terrorist organisations and their Pakistani sponsors, but also make it prohibitively expensive for anyone to use terrorism as a political strategy.” While the Zardari government has moved against some mid-level jihadi leaders, the top leadership and infrastructure of the Lashkar-e-Taiba remains intact. Hafiz Mohammed Saeed has merely gone under the purdah, to use Sumit Ganguly’s apt description of the kind of “custody” that the Pakistani government places its surrogates under when there is too much heat on them. Can we expect Pakistan to really punish any of the alleged culprits? Going by its record, the answer is no. And as long as the military-jihadi complex remains intact, terrorism remains an affordable instrument for Pakistan.

In other words, the strategic score remains where it was on November 29th, 2008. In the absence of any strategic move by India, how can it not be?

That strategic move has been out there for some time now. We have argued that India’s “strategic response must be to engage the jihadi adversary in Afghanistan.” Richard Holbrooke’s statement in New Delhi today indicates that the United States is open to the idea. India should offer.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 17 Feb 2009 07:35

I again see in the MKN interview that Indian policy is to send troops abroad, only under the aegis of the UN. Raja Ram also said that VP Singh made this policy but I think Raja Ram also said that there was a parliamentary act to the effect, but I could not find such an act.

Can this issue be clarified, was this confined to just one PM or is it a parliamentary act, which would mean that sending troops to battle abroad is not an executive decision anymore. Find it hard to believe, as it does not make sense, structurally.


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