Pakistan is the country. That is now under threat, not India

24th Aug,2021

Pakistan is the country. That is now under threat, not India



Afghanistan's post-1947 history and diplomacy have always been heavily influenced by the India-Pakistan rivalry. From Zahir Shah to the current Taliban government, Afghanistan's rulers have either been stifled in their regional politics by this rivalry or have been able to exploit it by pitting one against the other.However, these are geopolitical games in which every country has the right to participate and ensure that its interests are protected. The Indian subcontinent's volatility makes it all the more important for all of the countries here to continue improving their diplomacy and reconsidering their positions on various issues. However, it appears that, with the latest developments in Afghanistan, India has reached a point of no return in terms of defining its foreign policy.We have always taken pride in refusing to recognise or validate the Taliban government, as was the case from 1996 to 2001. The hijacking of IC-814, on the other hand, was a big lesson for us in terms of keeping at least some communication channels open and maintaining, if not much, a nominal presence. In the absence of these institutional engagements, underground networks should be able to compensate.Though today's India is vastly different from that of the 1990s, it remains to be seen how far our foreign policy has progressed while dealing with a nearly identical situation in Afghanistan. While the 1990s were marred by a struggling economy, the peak of Pakistan-sponsored militancy in J&K, governments crippled and falling on a regular basis, and a bleak international position, today we have a government in its second term with an absolute majority and a country that has achieved phenomenal growth in economy and defence, with India regarded as a major global player and stakeholder. The Taliban is well aware of it as well.Celebrations in Pakistan over the Taliban's takeover, ranging from statements by their Prime Minister to poems recited by young girls praising the Taliban in Islamabad's Lal Masjid, are an overt display of possessiveness by an insecure Pakistan. The Taliban will soon become an enigmatic entity, with governments all over the world grappling with how to deal with them or engage in diplomatic issues. Pakistan wants to exert that influence over the Taliban after assisting them in achieving this blitzkrieg victory, signalling to the rest of the world that we have the upper hand! Pakistan is attempting to serve as a gateway to Afghanistan and a facilitator.In its arrogance, Pakistan has created a much criticised and mocked ‘Strategic Depth' and control over a larger area, opening the door to a monster it has no ability to control. And this is one area where neither the United States nor China will assist it. It is time for India to sit back and watch, and despite decades of criticism that we did not do enough in Afghanistan, now is the time to do nothing. ‘Wait and see' is sometimes the best policy.