Monday, 9 April 2012

Afghanistan Diplomacy- impact on South Asia


The USA is leaving Afghanistan. Like every defeated state, it is trying to secure as many gains as are possible out of the exit scenario. Pak-India rapprochement is to be seen as a part of this exit scenario. The USA may try to achieve through Pak-India rapprochement what it has failed to achieve through Afghan war.
It would not be reasonable to believe that the USA’s objective behind   Afghan war was just to rein and destroy ‘Alqaida’; the massive scale of NATO Operations in Afghanistan does not warrant such an objective though this objective may make a tiny part of whole plan.  In fact USA and its allies wanted to crush Taliban’s Islamic government and install in its place such a pro- USA  government which would support  USA in its efforts to put a check, generally, on the regional states (CAS, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, China and Pak) from coming closer economically and politically, and, particularly, on China’s economic and political expansion in the region. The USA’s presence in Afghanistan could also be used to keep an eye on Iran and initiate a war against Iran, if required. But heroic and miraculous resistance put up by Afghans has foiled all nefarious designs of USA and its allies. Thanks to Afghan’s resistance, Afghanistan is not a safe land to be used against Iran nor is it conducive to be used to put a check on China’s political and economic expansion in the region; rather USA’s presence in Afghanistan has drawn Pakistan, Iran, China, Russia and  Central Asian states (CAS) closer to each other. Pak-Iran gas pipeline project, and recently reinvigorated relations between Pakistan and Russia are evidence in this connection. 
Having failed in Afghanistan to secure and  propagate USA’s regional  interests, the USA may find in Kashmir a new avenue to secure such interests; Kashmir issue may be manipulated by USA  to win over Pakistan’s support to achieve what USA has failed to gain in Afghanistan. Pakistan has to be very cautious about the terms and conditions of Pak-India rapprochement.  Such terms and conditions should not include a military role for India in Afghanistan. Any such role for India would mean that USA and India want to continue with efforts to make Afghanistan a hurdle in the way of regional states (Pak, Iran, Afghanistan Russia, China, CAS) coming closer economically and politically. Similarly such terms and conditions should not include option of independence of Kashmir under auspices of UN. Such an independent Kashmir state may be more likely to safeguard USA’s and India’s interests in the region than to be a part of regional states' (CAS, Pak, Iran, China, Russia and Afghanistan's) economic and political integration, because of kind of dependence such an independent state would have on India and UN. However whole regional scenario would be changed if India declines to be watchdog of USA’s regional interests and starts associating its interests with regional states instead with USA. But there is lesser chance of it because India needs western capital, technology and markets which may lead to kind of prosperity and development which cannot be offered to India by regional states like China, Pakistan, Iran, and Russia. Most probably India would maintain a balance between its pro-west and pro-east policies. Even in that case, an independent Kashmir given under UN's protection would be serious security threat for  regional states particularly Pakistan.

Similarly in any case, whether or not , India remains protector of USA’s regional interests, India’s military role in Afghanistan should be unacceptable to Pakistan because such a role would mean a hurdle in the economic and political integration at least between Pakistan, Iran, CAS, and Afghanistan, if these states opt to keep India out of this regional alliance.
Pakistan has sacrificed a lot in Afghan war, and now that USA is leaving Afghanistan, Pakistan should not help USA and India in achieving through rapprochement what they have failed to achieve through war.

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