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Did India stage the Pathankot attack drama in order to malign Pakistan?

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It is now plain that India is still eager to be seen as a strategic partner of super power USA by ruthlessly promoting terror operations on Indian soil (not only in Ajmer and Hyderabad Mecca Mosque, but even in Mumbai and Delhi) to continue to claim the dubious status of being a prominent terror victim.

Over years, India has successfully presented itself as a prominent ‘terror victim’ to the world, especially to USA and other big powers. The ‘terror’ strategy worked well for New Delhi in the comity of anti-Islamic nations whether or not that is terrorized.

Apparently terror attacks continue unabated in India because Indian regime deliberately wants them badly for claiming to be a prominent ‘terror victim’. Indian strategists wrongly think such false terror claims would enable India somehow entail a veto on the discredited UNSC.

Repeated terror attacks being perpetrated in India and Pakistan, following the Sept-11 hoax in New York in the most developed nation America with most modern intelligence-surveillance capabilities give the impression that there exists an Indo-Pak official terror link. India as well as Pakistan is eager to retain the nukes in its arms arsenals. It is a fact that the Sept-11 was engineered and executed very systematically by those forces that wanted to malign Islam as a terrorist religion – but the blame was conveniently placed on one Osama and his Al-Qaeda.

On 28 March, a report by Pakistani news channel Dunya News had said that Indian authorities showed “signs of reluctance” when the JIT asked them for information and evidence. “Sketches of the attackers, footage of the closed-circuit television, duty registers of the Border Security Force (BSF), details of the bank accounts, service records, post-mortem report of the driver who died in the car accident at the time of the incident and the FIR of that car’s snatching have not been given to the Pakistani investigation team,” a report in Pakistani newspaper Daily Times had said.

The report had further said that post-mortem and DNA reports of the terrorists involved and phone records and information about the commander of Pathankot airbase had not been given to the JIT. The Dunya News report had further claimed that the stances of the Indian government and BSF regarding the terror attack were contradicting each other.

Moreover, the report had said that while Indian authorities had said that terrorists had entered the Pathankot airbase after climbing ten-foot walls, no ropes were found as evidence. These claims by the Pakistani media had come just a day after it was found that Pakistan’s electronic media regulatory body (PEMRA) on Sunday had released a statement for the Pakistani media, asking them to be “professional” and “responsible” when reporting on the Lahore attacks, unlike the Indian media.

One has no clues as to why Pakistani investigators were allowed to enter the Indian air force base in Pathankot from narrow adjacent routes instead of the main entrance and the duration of the visit was just 55 minutes, enough to take a mere walk through the military facility. India claims that a Pakistani ‘terrorist’ attack took place at the Pathankot Air Force Station in January this year, in which four attackers and two security forces personnel were killed in the initial battle, with an additional security force member dying from injuries hours later.

The fight looks very similar to the fake encounters in the thick forests and reports are supplied to the press by the military establishment. The real happening might be kept in secrecy.

On Friday, the Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT) returned to Pakistan after their five-day visit to India during which all Indian evidence pertaining to the January 2016 attack was shared with them, including the DNA of four terrorists, their identities as well as call records showing involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). The JIT had examined 13 witnesses, including former Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh.

The JIT says the attack was a drama staged to malign Pakistan, according to a report in a Pakistani daily. It further said that the JIT report, which will be submitted to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the next few days, has even concluded that Indian authorities had prior information about the terrorists. The report also quoted a member of the JIT as saying that the NIA officer’s murder in Uttar Pradesh showed that “Indian establishment wants to keep the matter under wraps.”

Though just a few days after the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Pathankot terror attack India media announced that the four ‘terrorists’ who attacked the Pathankot Indian Air Force base could, according to JIT, be from Pakistan, the JIT has also insisted that the Pathankot attack had been staged by India.

The same source also told media that the JIT concluded that the standoff between the Indian army and “alleged” terrorists ended within hours after the attack, which apparently made it clear that the attack was a drama staged to malign Pakistan. “The Indian authorities made it a three-day drama to get maximum attention from the world community in order to malign Pakistan,” Pakistan Today quoted the JIT report as saying. The source also told Pakistan Today that no “major” damage was done to the base and that the perimeter lights at the airbase were not functional on the day of the attack, which apparently raises questions about whether India had prior information about the terrorists.

This is not the first time, though, that the Pakistani media and the JIT have made allegations of hiding evidence against India.

What is truly surprising about the Pakistani JIT report’s claim is that it comes just days after the same JIT admitted that the terrorists were from Pakistan. Reports had, in fact, also suggested that Pakistan had enough evidence to link them to extremist group Jaish-e-Mohammad. Moreover, during the beginning of the investigation, Indian investigators had said that the visiting officials did not “contradict” any of the evidence submitted by the NIA. “The fact that they did not contradict or made any adverse comment or observation is a positive sign,” sources had told IANS.

The fact that the JIT is now saying that Indian authorities did not provide evidence and is claiming something as absurd as India staging the Pathankot attack shows exactly how dark relations between India and Pakistan truly are. As this report in The Tribune had said, “Cricketers believe that if India and Pakistan were to play more games, it would help both countries to live in peace. They do not realize that at political and diplomatic levels too, both nations play games. This game is called one-upmanship, with surprise as an important element.”

Pakistan media reports that the Pathankot terror attack was “stage-managed” by India are seen here as “double-speak” by Pakistan’s security establishment. “The report in a Pakistan pro-government daily only shows that ISI and Pakistan Army were doing double-speak. India has provided irrefutable evidence to Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) during their visit here regarding the involvement of Pak-based terrorists,” a government source said.

The news report in a daily quoted an unnamed JIT member as saying that the attack was nothing but “vicious propaganda” against Pakistan as Indian authorities did not have any evidence to back their claims. “Within hours of the assault, all the attackers were shot dead by the Indian security forces. However, the Indian authorities made it a three-day drama to get maximum attention from the world community in order to malign Pakistan,” the report added. Rebutting the report, another government source said the evidence provided to JIT can stand international scrutiny and expressed surprise over media reports emerging that the NIA had not provided enough evidence to the visiting team. “The JIT was handed over whatever they asked for which included certified copies of statements of witnesses, DNA reports of four terrorists, memos of articles seized from them,” the source said.

Pakistan had made a request under section 188 of Criminal procedure Code of Pakistan for collecting the evidence from the NIA. The call data records of the two phones snatched from Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh and his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma which were used by the terrorists to call a number in Pakistan were also shared with the JIT, the source said.

India also shared the conversation recorded between Nasir Hussain, one of the four terrorists who carried out the attack on IAF base during the intervening night of January 1 and 2, with his mother Khayyam Babber. The NIA has asked for a DNA sample from Nasir’s family. The agency has also handed over call recordings of terrorists holed up inside the IAF base with their handlers including Kashif Jaan, who has since been missing.

The Pakistani JIT had asked NIA to hand over swabs of four terrorists identified as Nasir Hussain (Punjab province), Abu Bakar, (Gujranwala), Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum (both from Sindh). However, the NIA handed over to the visitors the DNA report of the terrorists and asked them to match those with their family members, the sources said.

The Pakistani JIT headed by Additional Inspector General of Police, Counter Terrorism Department, Muhammad Tahir Rai and also including ISI’s Lt Col Tanvir Ahmed, had recorded statements of 16 people. The list for recording the witnesses was submitted to the NIA by Pakistani team only.

The 16 witnesses questioned in all included Singh, Verma and cook Madan Gopal. The three were kidnapped by the Pathankot attack perpetrators belonging to the banned Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed on the intervening night of 31 December, 2015 and 1 January, 2016. The ‘terrorists’ had allegedly dumped Verma after slitting his throat and continued their journey with Singh and Gopal before jettisoning them a few kilometres away from the strategic air base at Pathankot.

The ‘terrorists’ entered the air base and mounted the brazen assault on the intervening night of 1 and 2 January. In the fierce encounter that ensued, seven security personnel besides four terrorists were killed.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on April 05 accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Government of indulging in dual standards by allowing Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the Pathankot terror attack, saying that on one hand the Centre preaches ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and on the other they allow ISI on Indian soil to verify facts and conduct investigation. BJP leaders say those who refuse to say ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ have no right to live in India but they are unable to control the ‘terror operators’. Kejriwal also trained guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked as to what was the deal between the latter and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. The Delhi Chief Minister tweeted: “On one hand they say ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and on the other they call ISI to visit India and back-stab ‘Bharat Mata’.” Modiji has betrayed the nation by inviting ISI. Don’t know what the deal between Modi ji and Nawaz is),” he said in another tweet.

Kejriwal ridiculed the double mindset of Modi, BJP and BJP government and they seem to hide the truth about the secret deals with Pakistan.

Indian objective in terror experiments has been multi-pronged: to maintain the claim of being a terror victim at par with USA and Russia, keep Pakistan permanently accused of ‘exporting terror’; force Kashmiris not to press for freedom or sovereignty form India; come closer to USA and Europe on the issue of ‘jointly fighting terror’,

The way Indian forces prolonged the ‘war’ for days in order to generate New York fire scenario at Mumbai Taj hotel fighting ‘terror ‘ makes the point pretty clear about Indian mindset to quickly blame Pakistan.

However, scorning all such fake Indian claims, USA has decided to sell all latest terror equipment to Pakistan ignoring India’s loudest protest against the sale. India would now buy even those latest military goods equipment from USA sooner than later, but that is a different story altogether.

It is high time India considered the limits of nukes as war equipment to be employed in order to retain Kashmir , now essentially under military control as Indian government gifted extra military draconian laws to the military command in Kashmir to deal ’freely’ with Kashmiris Muslims.

India needs to evolve and incorporate humane laws and generous mindset to free the Kashmiris from the military yoke.

Kashmiris need to get back their sovereignty lost to New Delhi soon after, ironically, India gained independence from Great Britain in 1947. India managed to get nuke technology from Russia to be to manufacture nukes and added them to its missile arms arsenals, targeting Pakistan and China, among other ‘enemy’ nations. But the reason for its nuclear ambition is Kashmir that now remains the flashpoint, terrorizing South Asia region. However, Pakistani counter nukes have not made tension in the region less intense.      

Once New Delhi allows sovereignty back to Kashmiris, world would respect India as a serious nation. India then won’t have to resort to terror techniques to be in the news.

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South Asia

Opposing Hindutava: US conference raises troubling questions

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Controversy over a recent ‘Dismantling Global Hindutava’ conference that targeted a politically charged expression of Hindu nationalism raises questions that go far beyond the anti-Muslim discriminatory policies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and ruling party.

The conference and responses to it highlight a debilitating deterioration in the past two decades, especially since 9/11, of the standards of civility and etiquette that jeopardize civil, intelligent, and constructive debate and allow expressions of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic attitudes to become mainstream.

Organizers of the conference that was co-sponsored by 53 American universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers, insisted that they distinguish between Hinduism and Hindutava, Mr. Modi’s notion of Hindu nationalism that enables discrimination against and attacks on India’s 200 million Muslims.

The distinction failed to impress critics who accused the organizers of Hinduphobia. Some critics charged that the framing of the conference demonstrated a pervasiveness of groupthink in academia and an unwillingness to tackle similar phenomena in other major religions, particularly Islam.

The campaign against the conference appeared to have been organized predominantly by organizations in the United States with links to militant right-wing Hindu nationalist groups in India, including some with a history of violence. The conference’s most militant critics threatened violence against conference speakers and their families, prompting some participants to withdraw from the event.

Opponents of political Islam noted that Western academia has not organized a similar conference about the politicization of the faith even though powerful states like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have lobbied Western capitals against the Muslim Brotherhood and its Turkish and Qatari supporters with notable successes in France, Austria, Belgium and Britain.

Academia was likely to have been hesitant to tackle political Islam because Islamophobia is far more prevalent than Hinduphobia.

Moreover, perceptions of political Islam, are far more complex and convoluted. Islam is frequently conflated with political expressions and interpretations of the faith run a gamut from supremacist and conservative to more liberal and tolerant. They also lump together groups that adhere and respect the election process and ones that advocate violent jihad.

Scholars and analysts declared an end to political Islam’s heyday with the military coup in Egypt in 2013 that toppled Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brother, who was elected president in Egypt’s first and only free and fair poll. Political Islam’s alleged swansong loomed even larger with this year’s setbacks for two of the most moderate Islamist political parties in Tunisia and Morocco as well as hints that Turkey may restrict activities of Islamists operating in exile from Istanbul.

A more fundamental criticism of the framing of the Hindutava conference is its failure to put Hindutava in a broader context.

That context involves the undermining of the social cohesion of societies made up of collections of diverse ethnic and religious communities since Osama bin Laden’s 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The attacks fueled the rise of ultra-nationalism and politicized expressions of religious ultra-conservatism not only in the Hindu world but also in the worlds of other major religions.

These include politicized ultra-conservative Islam, politicized Evangelism and Buddhist nationalism. Right-wing religious nationalism in Israel, unlike Islamism and politicized Evangelism, is shaped by ultra-nationalism rather than religious ultra-conservatism.

The worlds of religious ultra-nationalism and politicized expressions of religious ultra-conservatism are often mutually reinforcing.

Scholar Cynthia Miller-Idriss’s assessment of the impact of Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on the United States is equally true for India or Europe.

“In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the rise of violent jihadism reshaped American politics in ways that created fertile ground for right-wing extremism. The attacks were a gift to peddlers of xenophobia, white supremacism, and Christian nationalism: as dark-skinned Muslim foreigners bent on murdering Americans, Al-Qaeda terrorists and their ilk seemed to have stepped out of a far-right fever dream,” Ms. Miller-Idriss said.

“Almost overnight, the United States and European countries abounded with precisely the fears that the far-right had been trying to stoke for decades,” she added.

The comparison of politically charged militant nationalist and ultra-conservative expressions of diverse religions takes on added significance in a world that has seen the emergence of civilizationalist leaders.

Scholar Sumantra Bose attributes the rise of religious nationalism in non-Western states like Turkey and India to the fact that they never adopted the Western principle of separation of state and church.

Instead, they based their secularism on the principle of state intervention and regulation of the religious sphere. As a result, the rejection of secularism in Turkey and India fits a global trend that conflates a dominant religious identity with national identity.

Sarah Kamali, the author of a recently published book that compares militant white nationalists to militant Islamists in the United States, notes similar patterns while drawing parallels between far-right xenophobes and militant Islamists.

Militant Islamists’ “sense of victimhood […] is similar to that of their White nationalist counterparts in that [it] is constructed and exploited to justify their violence… Both mutually – and exclusively – target America for the purpose of claiming the nation as theirs and theirs alone, either as a White ethno-state or as part of a global caliphate,” Ms. Kamali writes.

Similarly, the Taliban defeat of a superpower energized militant Islamists, as well as proponents of Hindutava, with Islamophobic narratives spun by Mr. Modi’s followers gaining new fodder with the assertion that India was being encircled by Muslim states hosting religious extremists.

Modi is essentially helping the recruitment of…jihadist groups by taking such a hard, repressive line against the Islamic community in India, who are now being forced to see themselves being repressed,” said Douglas London, the CIA’s counter-terrorism chief for South and South-West Asia until 2019.

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Panjshir – the last stronghold of democracy in Afghanistan

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The Taliban’s rapid advance in Afghanistan has briefly stalled only in the face of strong resistance mounted by the people of the country’s recalcitrant mountainous province of Panjshir. Whoever controls the region’s passes controls the routes leading to China and Tajikistan, but to seize this mountain valley and, most importantly, to keep it permanently under control has always been a problem for all invaders. Eager to let the international community see for the first time in 40 years a united Afghanistan as a sign of their final victory, the radical Islamists were prepared to make any sacrifices, including filling the approaches to the Panjshir Valley up with dead bodies. Moreover, the Taliban’s longtime ally Pakistan, which, regardless of its status of an ally of the United States, has provided them with direct military support. In fact, Islamabad admitted its less than successful role when it proposed signing a truce to find and take out the bodies of its special Ops forces who had died during the attack on the valley. However, drones flown by Pakistani operators, professional commandos (possibly once trained by the Americans), air support and other pleasant gifts from the allies eventually bore fruit letting the Taliban be photographed in front of the mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Massoud Sr., the famous “Lion of Panjshir,” who controlled the valley from 1996 to 2001. The Islamists also took control of the province’s central city of Bazarak.

Having deprived the province much of its Internet access, the radicals, who control most of the Afghan territory, found it easier to wage an information war. Their claims of victories were now more difficult to contest, even though information about their retreat did reach the outside world. Reflective of the heavy losses suffered for the first time by the Taliban and their allies – the Haqqani Network and other remnants of al-Qaeda, as well as by the regular Pakistani army is the brief truce arranged by Islamabad. Looks like the mountain passes leading to Panjshir were literally filled up with corpses…

As for Massoud Jr., the young lion of Panjshir, and his supporters, they retreated to the mountains. In fact, they had nowhere to fall back to. The problem of Afghanistan is its ethnic diversity. Thus, the country is home to 23 percent of ethnic Tajiks, most of whom live in the Panjshir Valley. However, the Taliban rely mainly on the Pashtuns, who account for over 50 percent of the country’s population. As for the new masters of Afghanistan, they are ready to carry out ethnic cleansings and even commit outright genocide in order to bring the valley into submission. To make this happen they are going to resettle there their fellow Pashtun tribesmen. Local men aged between 12 and 50 are already being taken away and, according to the National Resistance Front, no one has seen them again. However, due to the information blockade, the Taliban will not hesitate to refute such facts. One thing is clear: Massoud’s Tajik fighters and the government troops that joined them are fighting for their lives, and there will be no honorable surrender!

The main question now is whether the young lion of Panjshir will receive the same support as his father once did, or will find himself without ammunition and food. After all, the Taliban leaders have reached certain agreements with the United States. Suffice it to mention the numerous remarks made, among others, by President Biden himself about the Taliban now being different from what they were 20 years ago.

But no, the Taliban`s remain the same – they have only hired new PR people. Meanwhile, hating to admit their defeat, Brussels and Washington will have to engage in a dialogue with those who are responsible for the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and for the numerous terrorist attacks in Europe. The Taliban are pretending to make minor cosmetic concessions. Minor indeed, since they are still depriving women of the opportunity to work and study, destroying higher and secondary education and brutally clamping down on people who simply do not want to live according to religious norms.

The United States is actually helping the “new-look” Taliban. Their potential opponents, including the famous Marshal Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, left the country under various guarantees, and Washington is trying to keep them from any further participation in the conflict. Democratic politicians naively believe that by creating an Islamic state and ending the protracted civil war in Afghanistan the Taliban will ensure stability in the region and will not move any further. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan do not think so and are strengthening their borders and preparing to protect their Afghan compatriots, because they know full well that the Taliban`s are not a national political party; they are a radical Islamist ideology.

It knows no borders and spreads like a cancerous tumor, destroying all pockets of Western culture. It can only be stopped by force. However, the two decades of US military presence in Afghanistan showed that Washington, which quickly took control of the country in 2001, simply had no strategy to keep it. The Afghans were given nothing that would appear to them more attractive than the ideas of radical Islam. As a result, the few Afghans who embrace European values are fleeing the country, and those who, like Massoud Jr., decided to fight for their freedom, now risk being left to face their enemy all by themselves.

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Misjudgements in India’s Afghan policy

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India’s Afghan policy has always been obsessed with the desire to deny Pakistan the “strategic depth” that Pakistan, according to India’s perception, yearns. If India had a pragmatic policy, it would not have found itself whimpering and whining like a rueful baby over spilt milk.

India supported the invasion of Afghanistan by both the former Soviet Union and the USA, both losers. President Trump mocked Modi for having built a library for the Afghan people. Trump expected India to contribute foot soldiers, and by corollary, body packs to the Afghan crisis. India played all the tricks up its sleeves to convince the USA to make India a party to the US-Taliban talks. But the USA ditched not only Modi but also Ashraf Ghani to sign the Doha peace deal with the Taliban.

India’s external affairs minister still calls the Taliban government “a dispensation”. Interestingly, the USA has reluctantly accepted that the Taliban government is a de facto government.

Humanitarian crisis

The United Nations’ Development Programme has portrayed a bleak situation in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is faced with multifarious challenges. These include prolonged drought and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, upheaval caused by the current political transition: frozen foreign reserves, and rising poverty.

About 47 per cent of its people live below the dollar-a-day poverty line. If the poverty line is pushed to $2 a day, 90 per cent of Afghans would be poor. About 55 per cent of Afghans are illiterate.

Ninety seven percent of the population is at risk of sinking below the poverty line, As such, Afghanistan teeters on the brink of universal poverty. Half of the population is already in need of humanitarian support. The UNDP has proposed to access the most vulnerable nine million people by focusing on essential services, local livelihoods, basic income and small infrastructure.

Currently, the gross national product of Afghanistan is around $190 billion, just a little more than the $160 billion economy of Dhaka city. The country’s legal exports of goods and services every year account for $1 billion. It imports$6 billion worth of goods and services every year.

About 80 per cent of world production of opium comes from Afghanistan. Every year, Afghanistan produces nearly 10,000 tons of opium and the revenue generated from it amounts to $7 billion approximately. About 87 per cent of the income of opium producing farmers comes exclusively from this single product. The illicit opium export by Afghanistan is worth $2 billion every year. The role of opium is significant.

About 80 per cent of public expenditure in this country is funded by grants. Since 2002, the World Bank has provided Afghanistan with a total of $5.3 billion as development and emergency relief assistance. The IMF earmarked for Afghanistan $400 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) for combating the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

The United States has frozen about $10 billion worth of Afghan assets held at various banks in Afghanistan. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has withdrawn the $400 million worth of SDRs allocated earlier to Afghanistan for addressing the Covid-19 crisis. The World Bank has not said anything as of yet, but it may also put restrictions on its funding to Afghanistan.

India’s lip service to Afghanistan

India provided around $3 billion in aid to fallen U.S.-backed Afghan government.  It trained the Afghan army and police. But now it is not willing to pay or pledge a penny to the Taliban government. Look at the following Times of India report:

“India did not pledge any money to the Taliban ruled Afghanistan probably for the first time in 20 years. That it has not done so as Jaishanker declared … (At UN, India offers support to Afghanistan but does not pledge money. The Times of India September 14, 2021).The Hindu, September 11, 2021

India’s tirade against Afghanistan

Indian policymakers and experts say they see no guarantees that Afghanistan won’t become a haven for militants. “Afghanistan may be poised to become a bottomless hole for all shades of radical, extremist and jihadi outfits somewhat similar to Iraq and Syria, only closer to India,” said Gautam Mukhopadhaya, who was India’s ambassador in Kabul between 2010 to 2013.  He added that the Taliban victory could have an “inspirational effect” not only for Kashmir’s rebels but wherever religiously-driven groups operate in the broader region… Lt. Gen Deependra Singh Hooda, former military commander for northern India between 2014-2016, said militant groups based across the border in Pakistan would “certainly try and push men” into Kashmir, following the Taliban victory in Afghanistan  (With Taliban’s rise, India sees renewed threat in Kashmir, Star Tribune September 14, 2021). “Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh conveyed to Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton that the rise of the Taliban raises serious security concerns for India and the region. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed for an injection of cash into Afghanistan to avoid an economic meltdown that would spark a “catastrophic” situation for the Afghan people and be a “gift for terrorist groups.”). Afghan economic meltdown would be ‘gift for terrorists,’ says U.N. chief” (The Hindu, September 11, 2021)

 India’s former envoy to Kabul, Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhyay is skeptical of the conciliatory statements by the taliban government. He advises: “We should welcome recent statements by Stanekzai and Anas Haqqani that suggest some independence from the ISI. But we should also ask some hard questions and judge them by their actions and words, and not let down our guard, both with regard to our multiple security concerns such as whether they can protect us from the Ias and ISI, sever ties with other terror groups, especially those supported by the ISI against India, deny Pakistan strategic depth, and preserve and build on our historic P2P and trade ties; and a genuinely inclusive govt in Afghanistan that accommodates the majority of Afghans who want the rights and freedoms enshrined in the 2004 Afghan Constitution or at least acceptable to the Afghan people.” (Taliban move to form govt, Naya Afghanistan brings new challenge for India, September 2, 2021).

Concluding remarks

India wants a “central role’ to be given to the UN in Afghanistan. India’s mumbo jumbo implies that Afghanistan should be made a UN protectorate. Indian media is never tired of calling the Afghan government a bunch of terrorists. They have even launched video games about it.

India needs to rethink how it can mend fences with Afghanistan that it regards a hothouse of terrorists.

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