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The functionality of Indian diplomatic pragmatism in Afghan political equation



India and Afghanistan are two oldest friends, and their friendly relationship touches the Bronze Age Civilization, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE. According to the historians, the Southeast Asian civilization under the auspices of Seleucid Empire came under attack by Alexander the great, who was able to conquer the region for a short time. The Seleucid Empire, which is known today as Afghanistan, gave up much of its controlled area to the Indian Mauryan Empire as part of an alliance treaty.  The Mauryans, who controlled the area south of the Hindu Kush, brought Buddhist religion to Afghanistan, and began to promote it. The Mauyans Empire eroded almost 60 year later, when Ashoka’s leadership collapsed. Afghanistan was partly Buddhist, spikily until 500 AC, which ended up with surrender to ancient Islamic forces, and Afghanistan was declared as a Muslim state.

Most importantly, Hindus and Muslims have been living side by side until today no matter, who has ruled the country, the nationalists, Seculars, Socialists, communists or Islamists. India and Afghanistan enjoyed almost good relations, but the relationship crumbled, when the British Empire invaded India in 1608.  Subsequently, the British-India Empire overrun Afghanistan in 18 39, which put the Indo-Afghan relationship under strain, and followed with Anglo-Afghan war. In 1919, when Afghanistan got its independence from British-Indian Empire, the relationship began to improve moderately. Delhi-Kabul relationship significantly improved, when India was declared as independent state in 1947. The Indo-Afghan bilateral relations was meaningfully flourished, when Sardar Dauod Khan renamed Afghanistan as Republic of Afghanistan, and he avowed himself as the president of the country in 1973. In addition, a number of high-level official visits took place between New Delhi and Kabul, to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

Nevertheless Indian diplomacy, interred in the most noteworthy phase, which is called pragmatic diplomacy. Delhi enjoyed very good relations with president Dauod, while promoting its ties with Afghan communist factions, who were counterbalancing Dauod’s presidency, while working as Hybrid Armed Actors with his government and against his leadership. India was the first country, which officially recognized PDPA presidency under Noor M. Tarakis’ leadership in1978. The country (India) is known for pragmatic diplomacy of which main elements are the preservation of National interests, comprehensiveness and confidence building, thru applicable communication in different situations.

 Delhi was one of the closest partner of Soviet Union and Soviet Union back Kabul regime, but the country provided CIA led campaign with Arms during the 80s to neutralize PDPA. One of CIA’s former contractor noticed that the Indians are only interested in lucrative business. He added the Indian knew the arms, which are sold to CIA would be applied to kill their Soviet and Afghan counterparts, but still Delhi agreed with Washington in order to make money.  Delhi endeavored to promote simultaneous relationships with the ruling parties and the insurrections in Afghanistan.  There are some unofficial reports that RAW operatives several times met the commanders and heads of insurrections in Afghanistan, following the collapse of PDPA in 1992, India had established good contacts with Jamyat Islami, which is part of International Muslim Brotherhood in Afghanistan.

Indian foreign office and RAW officials were able to meet Prof. Rabbani under the auspices of KGB in Moscow in 1991, while prof. Rabbani was on official visit in Moscow. Since then Delhi enjoyed significant relations with Jamyat Islami and its successor the Northern Alliance. From 1992 until 1996, Delhi backed Kabul regime in order to minimize Pakistan’s clout in the country. Meanwhile Islamabad sponsored Hizibe Islami another part of Muslim Brotherhood in Afghanistan led by Eng. Gulbudin Hakmatyar. Both India and Pakistan have striven to disqualify each other’s role in the country even in the form of proxy warfare.

From 1992-1996, India was able to marginalize Islamabad’s part in Afghanistan, however Pakistan did its best to bring Kabul under its Yoke. In 194, Islamabad brought a strategic shift in the country’s policy towards Afghanistan, following the origination of Taliban Movement as an alternative to expand Islamabad’s advantage in the Afghan political and security equation.

From 1996-2001, Islamabad kept anti-Delhi regime in power in its neighborhood and Delhi leverage eroded at most. Nonetheless, throughout Taliban rule, India sponsored antiestablishment forces to broaden Delhi’s role in the country. In the event of 9/11, India joined the anti-Taliban campaign. Since then, the country is the first biggest funding state in the region, and the fifth largest economic contributor globally. India has established very close ties with Kabul, offering economic and military aids to Afghanistan roughly 3 billion dollars. The country’s intelligence and counter intelligence networks closely work with their Afghan counterparts in order to curtail ISI part in Afghanistan.

Most notably, Delhi has learned from its past mistakes (1996-2001) that the country throughout Taliban era heavily invested on Northern Alliance. As a result, Delhi’s role was significantly sidelined. Therefore, India instantaneously promotes relationship with Taliban, while providing Kabul with billions of dollars in economic aid and military support. Some undeclared reports describe, Indian foreign office and RAW officials were able to meet heads of Taliban in Moscow, Tehran and Dubai to discuss Delhi’s engagement in the post American Afghanistan. To study Delhi’s involvement in the last 20 decades, India’s activities from 2003-2018 came under the scrutiny of Taliban and other Terrorist networks. According to the data collected by ICM&SATP, a bunch of assaults took place against the Indian installations and personnel across Afghanistan.


May 6, 2018: Six Indian staff members and one Afghan employee of KEC Company responsible for installing an electricity substation were abducted by Taliban militants in Bagh-e-Shamal village of the Pul-e-Khumri City (District) the capital of Baghlan Province. Baghlan governor Abdulhai Nemati confirmed that the Taliban group moved them to the Dand-e-Shahabuddin area of Pul-e-Khumri City.

January 15, 2018: A rocket landed in the premises of Indian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan has created a panic causing a minor damage to a structure belongs to the embassy; however no casualties in the incident were reported. The Charged’ Affaires informed that all staff members of the Indian embassy in Kabul are safe and no casualties has been caused in the incident, said a tweet released by the spokesperson of the MEA Raveesh Kumar. As of now, no terror outfit has claimed the responsibility, but Taliban and the Haqqani Network had carried out such attacks in the past.


June 6, 2017: Insurgent groups again targeted Indian interests in Kabul, with a rocket landing on the tennis court of Indian envoy Manpreet Vohra’s house. Sources in New Delhi said no injury had been reported in the rocket attack on ‘India House’, which occurred around 11.15 a. m. hours local time (12.15 IST) even as the authorities in the Afghan capital. Apart from the Indian Ambassador, other mission personnel also stay in the compound of the heavily guarded ‘India House’, which is close to several embassies and NATO’s ‘Resolute Support’ headquarters. The rocket attack coincided with the ‘Kabul Process’ meet in which representatives of nearly 25 countries, including India, participated. This is the first of its kind international meeting being held at the initiative of the Afghan President aimed at ending the prolonged conflict in Afghanistan.


June 20, 2016: Two Indians were killed in a blast in Afghanistan capital city Kabul, confirmed the MEA. “We have learnt that 2 Indian nationals, Ganesh Thapa & Govind Singh from Dehradun died tragically in the blast in Kabul today morning,” MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a tweet. Three separate blasts claimed 26 lives, including those of 2 suicide bombers and 14 Nepalese nationals, and injured more than 50 others in Afghanistan. According to details, in the first attack, a Taliban suicide bomber hit a minibus carrying Nepalese guards in Kabul along the main road to the eastern city of Jalalabad. The Taliban also claimed a second smaller blast in south Kabul. The third blast took place in a market in Kasham District of Badakhshan province. Islamic State (IS) and Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks.

June 9, 2016: Suspected militants abducted an Indian female aid worker, identified as Judith D’ Souza from Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, Indian and Afghan officials said. She was working as a senior technical advisor on gender with the Aga Khan Developmental Network in Kabul, sources in New Delhi said.

January 13, 2016: Three Afghan Policemen were killed and two others were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up 200 meters away from the Indian consulate in Jalalabad. Afghan SFs later exchanged fire with gunmen barricaded in a house near the Pakistan consulate nearby. All Indians are reported to be safe.

January 8, 2016: An explosives-laden vehicle was found near the Indian consulate in Herat and one person was arrested in this regard.

January 5, 2016: A huge blast was reported near the Indian consulate in Jalalabad city in Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. No casualty has been reported.

January 3, 2016: Militants attempted to storm the Indian diplomatic mission in Mazar-i-Sharif. The standoff had ended in the night of January 4 after all the four attackers who entered the building opposite the Indian Consulate were killed. One policeman also lost his life and nine others including three civilians were wounded in the incident.


December 21, 2015: Afghanistan’s intelligence service, the NDS, prevented a suicide-bomb assault on India’s consulate in the city of Jalalabad, along the border with Pakistan.The strike was to have taken place as PM Narendra Modi visits Kabul on December 25, sources said. Indian intelligence sources said NDS had identified the attacker as Qari Nasir, a religious studies student from Tagab District in province of Kapisa. In statements given to Afghan authorities, Nasir is alleged to have said he was trained in a camp across the border in Pakistan, and received final instructions at a Taliban facility in Peshawar (Pakistan).

May 13, 2015: There were four Indians among 14 persons killed in an attack carried out by militants at Park Palace guest house in Kabul’s Kolola Pushta area. Agencies believe India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha was the prime target of the attack. “It was known that the Indian envoy would be visiting the guesthouse on Wednesday evening… it appears the Taliban had accordingly planned the siege,” an unnamed senior intelligence officer stated.

February 22, 2015: Indian agencies have scripted a major success in securing the release of the abducted Christian priest, Father Alexis Premkumar Antonysamy from the captivity of the Taliban in Helmand, Afghanistan and the priest has now safely landed in India. Sources said officials had been monitoring the case, coordinating with Afghanistan officials and the Governor’s office in Herat. Top official sources said that the rescue was the result of a major operation by Indian intelligence and security agencies posted in that region.


September 14, 2014: A new Taliban group, Suicide Group of the Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, claimed that they had murdered Indian author Sushmita Banerjee in the Kharana area of Paktita Province in Afghanistan on September 4.

August 15, 2014: Three Indian nationals abducted by the Taliban in Afghanistan were rescued during a special military operation in Babos area of eastern Logar Province by Afghan troops though at least one more Indian continues to be held by the militants.

August 15, 2014: Indian MEA Spokesman Syed Akbaruddin confirmed in a tweet that three Indians abducted recently had been released from captivity. He further said that another Indian identified as Prem Kumar was “still in captivity”. It could not immediately be ascertained whether Kumar and the three other Indians were abducted at the same time. It was also not clear whether any more persons had been abducted.

August 13, 2014: the Taliban captured the three Indians, all engineers by profession, while they were travelling from Logar to Kabul, Afghanistan.

July 23, 2014: Two Indians were among five foreign guards killed by a Taliban suicide bomber riding a motorbike in an attack on Kabul Airport, the Indian MEA confirmed. MEA Spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said the two Indians, identified as Ponnappan V Kuttappan and Parambhat Ravindran from Kerala state were employed as security guards with an American security firm named Dyna Corporation in Kabul.

June 26, 2014: India has stressed that it will not “endorse” treating the Afghan government on par with elements of the Taliban, even as it reiterated that terrorism and not ethnicity is the greatest threat to peace in an Afghanistan on the verge of a historic transition. Ambassador Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi, the acting Permanent Representative of India to the UN said that India believes the reconciliation process must remain “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled” while respecting the “agreed red lines”. He also noted that the entire NAM member states had recently endorsed the “Afghan-controlled” process of reconciliation.

June 25, 2014: US State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf said that there is credible evidence that LeT was responsible for the terror attack on the Indian Consulate (May 23, 2014) in Afghanistan’s Herat Province.

June 15, 2014: IB termed the withdrawal of NATO and allied forces from Afghanistan as one of the biggest challenges to India’s counter-terrorism measures in its presentation to Union Minister of Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh.

June 11, 2014: According to intelligence sources, five warnings from the CIA helped authorities defeat the May 23 strike on the Indian Consulate in Herat Province of Afghanistan. The last operational input from the CIA was delivered to India’s intelligence services two hours after the assault began, and identified the assault team as operatives of the Pakistan-based LeT.

June 5, 2014: According to local Afghan Government officials, over 100 LeT militants have been deployed in Nuristan who are trying to set up training camps in Kamdish District. Provincial Governor, Hafiz Abdul Qayum confirmed the presence of LeT militants in Nuristan and said the group has also killed 11 Afghan Taliban militants for failing to disrupt the elections.

June 4, 2014: Afghan authorities arrested a man for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of Indian aid worker Alexis Prem Kumar from Herat Province.

June 3, 2014: A LeT hit squad was assigned to take hostages and lay siege on the Indian Consulate in Herat Province of Afghanistan, to coincide with the oath ceremony of PM Narendra Modi, security sources in the Indian establishment have now concluded after studying the pattern of attack and taking stock of the recovery from the operatives killed.

June 2-3, 2014: unknown gunmen in Afghanistan’s Herat Province abducted An Indian aid worker. The Indian aid worker, Alexis Prem Kumar who was abducted from Herat in Afghanistan by unidentified gunmen, remained in captivity for the second day with local authorities yet to get any “conclusive” clues in the case.

May 23-27, 2014: Gunmen armed with machine guns and RPGs attacked the Indian Consulate in Herat Province in Afghanistan. ITBP personnel and Afghan SFs in an encounter that lasted 10 hours killed all the four attackers. Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said that “According to information given to us by a Western intelligence agency, the perpetrators of the Herat attack belonged to the LeT. This was mentioned in writing in the report shared with us”. Afghanistan’s Ambassador ShaidaAbdali said that LeT militants wanted to take Indian officials hostage at the Herat consulate of Afghanistan, just before the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


September 14, 2013: A new Taliban group, Suicide Group of the Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, claimed that they had murdered Indian author Sushmita Banerjee in the Kharana area of Paktita Province in Afghanistan on September 4.

September 4, 2013: Indian author Sushmita Banerjee (49) was shot dead by the Taliban militants in the Kharana area of Paktita Province in Afghanistan.

August 3, 2013: In a suicide attack intended to target the Indian Consulate at Jalalabad, the capital of the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan, nine Afghans, including at least eight children, were killed, and another 24 were wounded. The three attackers were also killed. All Indian officials in the Consulate were safe. Nangarhar Province Police Chief General Sharifullah Amin confirmed that the consulate was the intended target of the blast.


May 10, 2011: Afghanistan National Intelligence Agency spokesperson Lutfullah Mashal said that Inter-Services ISI hired two persons, identified as Sher Zamin and Khan Zamin, to kill the Indian Consul General of Jalalabad province.


December 16, 2010: Indian embassy in Kabul and four consulates in Afghanistan have been put on high alert following intelligence inputs that the Taliban militants may be preparing for a strike at Indian establishments.

October 11, 2010: Two Indian nationals were killed in a missile attack launched by the Taliban militants on an Indian NGO’s office in Kunar province of Afghanistan. Qari Omar Haqqani, a spokesperson for the Afghan Taliban, told reporters from an undisclosed location that the militants had attacked the office of the Indian NGO with missiles in which three people, including two Indian workers, were killed. The nationality of the third person who died in the attack is yet to be ascertained.

February 26, 2010: The Taliban militants on carried out coordinated suicide attacks at two hotels in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, killing at least nine Indians, including two Major-rank Army officers. At least 10 others, including five Indian Army officers, were injured in the strike that killed eight others, including locals and nationals from other countries. The bombers, believed to be three in number, struck at the guest houses, particularly at Park Residence, rented out by the Indian Embassy for its staffers and those linked to India’s developmental work in Afghanistan.


October 8, 2009: Targeting the Indian embassy in Kabul for the second time, a Taliban suicide bomber blew up an explosives-laden car outside the mission, killing 17 persons and injuring over 80, including three Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) soldiers. The embassy staff, however, was unhurt. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and identified the bomber as Khalid, Al Jazeera TV channel said.

February 9, 2009: Simon Paramanathan, an Indian from Villupuram in Tamil Nadu held captive by militants in Afghanistan for nearly four months is dead, his family and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in New Delhi. Simon, employed in the Italian food chain Ciano International, was abducted in October 2008. The company had been negotiating with the captors belonging to an unnamed militant outfit, which had sought a ransom of USD 200000. However, the negotiations “to work out a reasonable ransom” reportedly failed to break the deadlock. An MEA official said in New Delhi that Afghanistan authorities informed that Simon died while in the custody of his abductors.


December 24, 2008: A 38-year-old man from Tamil Nadu working with a food store attached to Italian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan, has been kidnapped by Afghan militants in Herath province, police said, according to Rediff. A group calling itself Mujahideen on October 13, 2008 kidnapped Simon, who hails from Kalakurichi Village in Villupuram District, police said. Simon was working with an Italian food store supplying food to its soldiers in Afghanistan. He was kidnapped along with two other company employees while they were delivering food at the International Security Assistance Force camp in Bagram air base, the sources said.

July 7, 2008: A suicide attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul killed 66 persons. The killed included two senior diplomats, Political Counsellor V. Venkateswara Rao and Defence Adviser Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta, and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) staffers Ajai Pathaniya and Roop Singh.

June 5, 2008: An ITBP trooper was killed and four others injured in an attack by the Taliban in the south-west Province of Nimroz.

April 12, 2008: Two Indian nationals, M.P. Singh and C. Govindaswamy, personnel of the Indian Army’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO), were killed and seven persons, including five BRO personnel, sustained injuries in a suicide-bomb attack in the Nimroz Province.

January 3, 2008: In the first-ever suicide attack on Indians in the country, two ITBP soldiers were killed and five others injured in the Razai village of Nimroz Province.


December 15, 2007: Two bombs were lobbed into the Indian consulate in Jalalabad, capital of the Nangarhar province in Afghanistan. There was however, no casualty or damage.


May 7, 2006: An explosion occurred near the Indian Consulate in the fourth police district of the western Herat Province. There were no casualties.

April 28, 2006: An Indian telecommunications engineer working for a Bahrain based firm in the Zabul Province, K Suryanarayana was abducted and subsequently beheaded after two days.

February 7, 2006: the Taliban in the western province of Farah killed Bharat Kumar, an engineer working with a Turkish company, in a bomb attack.


November 19, 2005: Maniappan Kutty, a driver working with the BRO’s project of building the Zaranj-Delaram highway, was abducted and his decapitated body was found on a road between Zaranj, capital of Nimroz, and an area called Ghor Ghori, four days later.


December 9, 2003: Two Indian engineers – P Murali and G Vardharai working on a road project in Zabul province were abducted. Afghan tribal leaders released them on December 24 after intense negotiations with the Taliban militia, which was demanding the release of 50 imprisoned militants in return for the Indian engineers.

November 8, 2003: An Indian telecommunications engineer working for the Afghan Wireless Company was shot dead.

 Conclusion: the study implies since the beginning of 2019 the number and scope of assaults against Indians have been dramatically eroded, whereas the number of attacks against the Afghan governmental and civilian installations have been tripled. The recent developments indicate a deep involvement of Indian inter-service intelligence (RAW) in clandestine talks with Taliban. There are some unapproved reports, narrating that Indian intelligence networks offered Taliban millions of dollars in cash to halt their assaults on Indians in Afghanistan.

India plays the same card played during late 80s and beginning of 90s, whereby Delhi promoted diplomatic relations with communist led government and meantime the country-upheld cooperation with anti-communist rule. As of now, there are scores of options on the table namely interim government, broad-based government and even the forceful return of Taliban to the power.

India considers all alternatives to extend its multidimensional engagement in Afghanistan. India sends delegations on official visit to Afghanistan, and at the same time, the country’s foreign office and intelligence bureaucrats are engaged in secret talks with Taliban to counterweight Islamabad extensive advantage if Kabul government led by Ashraf Ghani collapses. To end with, Indian pragmatic diplomacy has really functioned in Afghanistan; therefore, a whole heap of credit goes to the institutions, which stimulate Delhi’s policies relating to Afghanistan.

Ajmal Sohail is Co-founder and Co-president of Counter Narco-terrorism Alliance Germany and he is National Security and counter terrorism analyst. He is active member of Christian Democratic Union (CDU)as well.

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Towards Increasingly Complex Multipolarity: Scenario for the Future



A “New World Order” (NWO) is emerging before everyone’s eyes, said Aleksandr Fomin, Russian Deputy Defense Minister, in an interview for RT earlier this month. He is quoted by the outlet as saying that:

“Today we are witnessing the formation of a new world order. We see a tendency for countries to be drawn into a new Cold War, the states being divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’, with ‘them’ unambiguously defined in doctrinal documents as adversaries. The existing system of international relations and the security framework is being systematically destroyed. The role of international organizations as instruments of collective decision-making in the field of security is being diminished. Fundamentally new types of weapons that radically change the balance of power in the modern world are emerging, with warfare getting into new areas – into space and cyberspace. This, of course, leads to a change in the principles and methods of war.”

He did not elaborate any further beyond that but it is still possible to make some reasonable conjectures about the NOW’s contours based on empirical evidence to speculate about possible implications.

Strategic Backdrop

The processes described by the Deputy Minister can be attributed to a combination of Trump’s US-Chinese trade war that provoked a new Cold War mostly between those two great powers—or “superpowers” according to some—and a World War C, the full-spectrum paradigm-changing processes catalyzed by the world’s uncoordinated attempts to contain COVID-19. The former resulted in purging the U.S. permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (the “deep state”) of any pragmatic Chinese-friendly influence as well as comprehensively redirecting the might of the American military more fully against the People’s Republic. This second-mentioned observation made it all but impossible for the supposedly Chinese-friendly Democrats to reverse Trump’s grand strategic designs following Biden’s inauguration, which is why they, too, have finally jumped onto the anti-Chinese bandwagon.

As for the World War C, it exacerbated the already intense global competition between the U.S. and China, thereby putting additional pressure on American policymakers to pioneer a strategic breakthrough designed to give them an edge over their top global rival. The specifics of their strategic calculations can only be speculated upon, but it is apparently the case that the previously Russophobic Democrats have recently engaged much more pragmatically with Russia over the past month. This is evidenced by the seemingly surprising de-escalation in Ukraine back in late April from the brink of what many thought would be an all-out war between the two, the U.S. equally surprising decision to impose mostly superficial sanctions on Nord Stream 2, the Pentagon spokesman’s unexpected declaration that Russia is not an “enemy” as well as the upcoming Putin-Biden Summit—despite the U.S. leader previously calling the Russian President a “killer”.

Strategic Designs of the “Deep State”

The Democrats—or rather the “deep state” forces behind them—evidently realized the strategic wisdom of Trump’s grand vision of repairing relations with Russia so that the U.S. can concentrate more fully on “containing” China. This is not due to any newfound appreciation of the Eurasian great power, which many of them still hate with a passion on account of its pragmatic dealings with Trump and implementation of conservative policies that contradict the much more liberal approach preferred by American elites, but due to simple pragmatism countering the geostrategic consequences of Trump’s previous four years of global disruptions. With the U.S. military-industrial complex (MIC) increasingly redirected towards “containing” China more than Russia, as is evident from the doctrines that were promulgated during Trump’s presidency and the subsequent shifts in policies, the “deep state” basically had no other choice but continue the course, no matter how begrudgingly.

This explains the expectation that Bidenэs EU trip will lead to a comparative improvement of relations with Russia, even if only resulting in each of their “deep states” regulating their comprehensive competition with one another more responsibly. Russia would receive a relative relief in pressure along its Western flank while the U.S. could redirect more of its military-strategic focus from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to the “Indo-Pacific”. The continuation of the Obama-era “Pivot to Asia” under the Trump and Biden Administrations is proven by both of their moves to reduce the U.S. military-strategic commitments in West Asia (Syria/Iraq) and Central-South Asia (Afghanistan). Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was rather unexpected, considering the Democrats’ prior opposition to any of Trump’s policies, but only speaks to how they have been compelled by the circumstances to revise their grand strategic outlook.

The Eurasian “Balancing” Act

The arguably emerging NWO will be characterized by plenty of “balancing”, especially as regards Russian, Turkish, Indian, and Chinese grand strategies in Eurasia:


The Eurasian great power will seek to optimize its Afro-Eurasian “balancing” act between West and East, the former comprising the U.S./EU while the latter encompassing China vis-a-vis BRI; India with respect to the possibility of jointly leading a New Non-Aligned Movement (Neo-NAM); Turkey insofar as managing their “friendly competition” especially in West Asia, the South Caucasus, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and perhaps soon in Central Asia as well; and Africa when it comes to scaling up the export of Moscow’s “democratic security” solutions to hybrid war-threatened states.


The West Asian great power will double down on its “Middle Corridor” to China via the South Caucasus, Caspian Sea and Central Asia (made all the more viable after its Azerbaijani ally’s victory in last year’s Karabakh War); expand the aforementioned to more closely connect with its Pakistani ally via a revival of the Lapis Lazuli Corridor; further entrench itself in Northern Syria; leverage its Muslim Brotherhood allies for the purpose of expanding its ideological influence throughout the international Muslim community; and continue making inroads in Africa and CEE (especially through arms sales).


The South Asian great power will attempt to use Russia and the U.S. as “balancing” partners for preventing disproportionate dependence on China (though probably moving closer to Moscow than Washington in response to the latter’s recent pressure upon it via S-400 sanctions threats, negative media coverage of its government, violation of its exclusive economic zone and continued failure to reach a free trade deal); explore a detente of sorts with China for the sake of pragmatism; and revive the joint Indo-Japanese Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) to attract more (mostly Western) stakeholders to its campaign to economically compete with China across the Global South.


The East Asian great power will pursue the formation of a Chinese-Muslim bloc in the Eurasian Heartland by leveraging its strategic partnerships and planned W-CPEC+ connectivity with Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey (which might extend as far as Syria and also facilitate the latter three’s incipient plans to create their own Muslim bloc); increasingly rely on S-CPEC+ to expand Chinese-African connectivity via Pakistan (thus importantly avoiding the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca); intensify trade relations with the RCEP states (especially the neighboring ASEAN); explore improving relations with India for pragmatic reasons (so as to avoid a US-provoked two-front war along their frontier and the South China Sea); and ultimately rally the entire Global South behind it via BRI.

Convergences & Contradictions

With the above insights in mind, it is important to point out some key convergences and contradictions:


  • All four great powers are interested in economic connectivity, though India is still reluctant to join BRI and will likely remain that way, hence its desire to revive the AAGC and possibly even incorporate Russia into this trans-continental trade framework (focusing on the Arctic, Far East, ASEAN, and Africa);
  • Neither of these primary players has any interest in provoking instability, though Turkey’s efforts to expand its influence across the Ummah via its Muslim Brotherhood allies could prolong instability in West Asia and North Africa;
  • Each of them is also actively expanding their influence through regional institutions such as Russia’s Eurasian Union, Turkey’s Turkic Council, India’s BIMSTEC, and China’s BRI-linked structures, all of which could better coordinate if Turkey ever joins the SCO (since it is the only of the four nations that is not a SCO member).


-China’s growing economic influence in Central and West Asia could eventually displace Russia’s traditional and newfound role in those two regions, compelling Moscow to increasingly “accommodate” Beijing to gradually cede its current and envisioned leadership there to the People’s Republic;

-Russia is becoming worried that Turkey’s expansion of influence in Moscow’s traditional “spheres of influence” (South Caucasus and Central Asia) might become “unmanageable”, with the worst-case scenario resulting not in “accommodation” like with China but a more intensified trans-regional competition there;

-India’s predicted revival of the AAGC (including with some role for Russia even if in the Arctic and Far East only, as well as a leading role for the U.S.) will heighten China’s threat perception of the South Asian state if it succeeds in expanding its economic influence across the “Global South” and especially along Beijing’s borders.

American Schemes

This forecasted state of strategic affairs will facilitate certain divide-and-rule schemes by the U.S., which might:

-Intensify its information warfare against BRI all across the Global South in order to provoke color revolutions against Chinese-friendly governments there so as to deprive Beijing of the resources and markets that it requires to sustain its planned growth while perhaps also replacing its lost investments there with AAGC ones;

-Refocus its strategic partnership with India on the economically-driven AAGC as opposed to the military-led Quad in order to provide the South Asian great power with financial, leadership and organizational assistance that it requires to compete with China across the Global South and exploit the U.S. planned hybrid war gains there;

-Consider co-opting Turkey sometime in the future in order to leverage its newfound influence in Russia’s traditional spheres of the South Caucasus and Central Asia, thus provoking the earlier mentioned worst-case scenario of intensified competition in the region.

Eurasian Solutions

These speculative schemes can be preempted through the following ways:

-China must successfully convince its targeted audience in the Global South that it is pioneering a truly new model of international relations that is much more beneficial for the majority of their people than that the U.S. seeks to retain (albeit through “Lead From Behind” reforms) even if it still takes time to materialize;

-China and India must seriously consider very difficult mutual compromises in order to restore the lost trust between them, especially in the economic-financial-tech spheres, in order to ensure that BRI and the AAGC converge rather than compete, heralding the best-case scenario of a “Renaissance 2.0”;

-Russia and Turkey must sustainably regulate their “friendly competition” through more than just the trust between their present leaders that has been responsible for managing this so far, necessitating some sort of institutionalized framework among them as well as the states within their overlapping “spheres of influence”.


The NWO that was described up until this point is disproportionately dependent on the following conditions:

-The U.S. and Russia successfully beginning a new era of relations, whereby they sincerely intend to regulate their comprehensive competition more responsibly, with an aim towards eventually clinching a “new détente” that would prospectively consist of a series of mutual compromises all across Eurasia;

-India and Turkey continuing to “balance” between the U.S. and Russia so as to ensure their rise as great powers in an increasingly complex world order, which will in turn improve their strategic leverage vis-a-vis China and enable them to expand their envisioned “spheres of influence” more sustainably;

-China continuing to formulate its grand strategy under the unofficial influence of the Mao-era “Three Worlds Theory” wherein the People’s Republic as the largest developing (“Third World”) nation aims to consolidate its leadership over the Global South through win-win BRI deals that lead to a Community of Common Destiny.

Concluding Thoughts

Nobody seems to know for sure what sort of the NWO exactly Russian Deputy Defense Minister A. Fomin envisioned when he shared his thoughts about this with RT earlier in the month, but the present analysis attempted to compellingly make the case that this emerging scenario will represent a much more complex version of multipolarity than the current one. Trump’s U.S.-Chinese trade war, which in turn provoked the new Cold War between these two great powers, combined with the black swan event of a World War C to inspire the U.S. “deep state” to pragmatically recalibrate America’s grand strategy away from its hitherto unsuccessful attempts to simultaneously “contain” both Russia and China. The resultant outcome could fundamentally transform the geostrategic situation in Eurasia, both by providing the U.S. with new opportunities to divide and rule the supercontinent but also by giving Russia and China a chance to finally stabilize it in a sustainable way.

From our partner RIAC

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UN: Revealing Taliban’s Strategic Ties with Al Qaeda and Central Asian Jihadists



Afghan peace mediators

As the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the deadline for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan draws near, the region has been witnessing sudden adjustments. The Taliban have not only intensified assaults against the Afghan government forces and captured new territories but also began to demonstrate their regional ambitions to reduce Washington’s influence in Central and South Asia. As the US military has completed more than half of its withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban believe that they defeated America after 20 years of grueling war. The Taliban leaders, who were driven by the latest military successes, began further setting their own conditions for the neighbors and stepping on the toes of Washington in order to prevent the establishment of a new US military base in Central Asia.

On May 26, the Taliban issued a statement warning Afghanistan’s neighbors not to allow the US to utilize their territory and airspace for any future military operations against them. The Sunni Islamist jihadi group cautioned that facilitating US military operations by neighboring countries in the future will be a “great historical mistake and a disgrace that shall forever be inscribed as a dark stain in history.” They further emphasized that the presence of foreign forces is “the root cause of insecurity and war in the region.” The insurgent group strictly warned without elaborating that “the people of Afghanistan will not remain idle in the face of such heinous and provocative acts”. At the end of the statement, they exerted political pressure on the Central Asian states, threatening that “if such a step is taken, then the responsibility for all the misfortunes and difficulties lies upon those who commit such mistakes.”

Given the past experience of US military presence in the region, the Taliban’s threatening appeal is most likely addressed to the governments of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.  After the 9/11 attacks the Kyrgyz, Tajik, and Uzbek governments hosted the American military to wage a campaign against the Taliban, Al Qaeda and their Salafi-Jihadi subsidiaries. But virtually every US military base in Central Asia was suddenly expelled when the personal interests of the regional authoritarian leaders have been infringed upon. Uzbekistan expelled the US base from Karshi-Khanabad amid strong political disagreements over a bloody 2005 crackdown on protesters in Andijan. The Dushanbe and Kulob airports in Tajikistan were used very briefly by the NATO forces. The US base at the Bishkek airport in Kyrgyzstan also was closed in 2014 under heavy Russian hands. It is no secret that following the expel of US military bases, some political leaders of Central Asia became skeptical of Washington, thus further perceiving it as an unreliable partner.

The Taliban’s warning to the Central Asian states is fully consistent with the strategic expectations of Al Qaeda, its loyal and faithful ideological partner in the global jihad, both of which jointly seek to push the US out not only from Afghanistan, but also from Central and Southeast Asia. Based on propaganda releases and the rhetoric on Telegram channels, the Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups which are linked to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, strongly supported the withdrawal of US forces from the region. Consequently, Uighur and Uzbek jihadists potentially see the Taliban and Al Qaeda as powerful parent organizations, whose resurgence in Afghanistan offers major advantages for their military and political strengthening. Unsurprisingly, Al Qaeda and Taliban aims to oust the US forces from the region, hence playing into the hands of Moscow and Beijing, considering that both unlikely to welcome an increased US military presence in their backyard.

Taliban leaders are well aware that the possible deployment of US military assets in Central Asia will impede their strategic goal in rebuilding the so-called Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Today Washington is actively working with nations surrounding Afghanistan on the deployment of its troops to support Afghan forces “over the horizon” after withdrawal from the country on September 11. The US air support for the Afghan military could thwart Taliban plans to quickly seize Kabul and force them to sit at the negotiating table with the Ashraf Ghani administration. The Taliban have consistently and clearly emphasized in their numerous public statements opposing the negotiation and power share with the Kabul regime. They consider themselves the only and undeniable military-political force that has the right to rule the country in accordance with Sharia law. The Taliban jihadists are determined to continue waging jihad until establishing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and their emir, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, becomes the country’s “lawful ruler”.

On June 6, 2021, the Taliban once again appealed to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan “to resolve their border issues through a dialogue” and “seeking a logical solution that would benefit both sides.” Recall, during the two-day border conflict between the armed forces of the two post-Soviet countries at the end of April, more than 50 people were killed, hundreds were injured and thousands were forced to leave their homes. In its statement, the Taliban, called on Tajik and Kyrgyz leaders to value “the peace and security of their respective nations.” According to the local analysts, Taliban’s “peace-aiming appeal” looks like a mockery of the Afghan people suffering from their bloody jihad.

Taliban’s “Soft Power” Under Construction

The question to be posed is what kind of leverage does the Taliban has with the Central Asian states to put pressure on them in preventing the possible deployment of new US military bases in the region?

The Taliban, an insurgent Islamist group that has yet to come to power, does not have any economic or political leverage over the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. But it is imperative to mention that the Taliban holds “soft power” tools, such as Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi terrorist groups affiliated with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. These groups challenged the region’s secular regimes, hence aiming to establish an Islamic Caliphate in the densely populated Fergana Valley, sandwiched between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

It is no secret that the Central Asian post-Soviet countries consider the Al Qaeda-linked Uzbek and Uighur Sunni Salafi-Jihadi groups hiding in Taliban-controlled Afghan soil as a threat to the security of the entire region. Recall, the first group of radical Islamists from Central Asia who found refuge in Afghanistan in the mid-90s was the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which had close and trusting ties with both Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Currently, Uighur fighters of Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) from China’s Xinjiang, Uzbek militant groups such as Katibat Imam al-Bukhari (KIB), Katibat Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ), the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) and Tajik militants of Jamaat Ansarullah (JA) wage jihad in Afghanistan under the Taliban’s umbrella.

The Taliban still strongly support Uzbek and Uighur jihadists despite the 2020 US-Taliban peace agreement that requires the Taliban to sever ties with Al Qaeda and all Central Asian terrorist groups.

In response to documentary evidence of the UN Security Council and the US Defense Intelligence Agency on the Taliban’s close-knit relationship with Al Qaeda and their failure to fulfill the obligation, the Taliban have adopted new tactics to publicly deny the presence of transnational terrorist groups in the country and their ties to them. The Taliban still insist that there are no foreign fighters in the country. But regular UN reports reveal the true face of the Taliban, who are trying to hide their deep network links with Al Qaeda and Central Asian Islamists — a decades-old relationship forged through common ideology and a history of joint jihad.

Thus, a recently released report by the UN Security Council’s Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Team confirms that there are “approximately between 8,000 and 10,000 foreign terrorist fighters from Central Asia, the North Caucasus and China’s Xinjiang in Afghanistan. Although the majority are affiliated foremost with the Taliban, many also support Al Qaeda.” The UN report stated that Uzbek and Uighur jihadists’ ties with the Taliban and Al Qaeda remain “strong and deep as a consequence of personal bonds of marriage and shared partnership in struggle, now cemented through second generational ties.” Further the UN monitoring team revealed Al Qaeda’s core strategy of “strategic patience,” according to which the group would wait for “a long period of time before it would seek to plan attacks against international targets again.”

According to the report, “several hundred Uighur jihadists of Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) located primarily in Badakhshan and neighboring Afghan provinces, whose strategic goal is to establish an Islamic Uighur state in Xinjiang, China.” To achieve its goal, TIP facilitates the movement of fighters from Afghanistan and Syria to China. Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, who is a member of Al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis, leads the Syrian and Afghan branches of TIP for more than two decades. According to the UN monitoring group, “Uighur militant Hajji Furqan, the TIP’s deputy emir, is also a deputy leader of Al Qaeda and responsible for the recruitment of foreign fighters.” Such mixed appointments of group leaders highlight the close and deep ties between the troika: Taliban-Al Qaeda-TIP.

The UN report found more evidence of close cooperation between Uzbek IMU jihadists and the Taliban. The report stated that the “IMU fighters are currently based in Faryab, Sar-e Pol and Jowzjan provinces, where they dependent on the Taliban for money and weapons”. The UN monitoring team also highlighted the activities of Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups such as KIB, IJU and Jundullah, which are waging jihad in the northern Afghan provinces of Faryab and Kunduz under Taliban shelter and control. “The Taliban has forbidden these groups from launching independent operations, resulting in a reduction of their income.” In conclusion, UN analysts noted that pressure on the Taliban to cut their ties with Al Qaeda and Central Asian Salafi groups has not succeeded. Thus, the UN report once again refuted the Taliban’s assertion that Al Qaeda and Central Asian jihadists are not present in Afghanistan.


Thus, it can be assumed that while US military pressure persists, the Taliban’s tactics will continue to publicly deny their trust relationships and close ties with Al Qaeda, Central Asian jihadists, and other transnational terrorist groups in the country. But as long as the Taliban’s perception of its own level of influence and control in Afghanistan remains high, insurgents will continue to insist that they are abiding by the accord with the US.

The Taliban’s strategy is to build the foundation of their “soft power” through the patronage and protection of Al Qaeda and Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups in Afghanistan. Thus, in this complex process, not only material interests, but also common religious roots originating in the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic theology and mutual sympathy for jihadist ideological visions might play a significant role.

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Cyber-attacks-Frequency a sign of Red Alert for India



The biggest target is in terms of transportations, nuclear power plants, Power system Operation Corporation Limited, V.O. Chidambaram Port Trust, Telangana State Load Dispatch Centre, logistic industries and research organisations which eventually can lead to destruction of the whole ecosystem. The confidentiality breach in the case of medical data leak as reported by a German cyber security firm –Greenbone Sustainable Resilience wherein Picture Archiving and Communication Servers were linked to public internet without any requisite protection is a point of concern. Then, there are certain individualistic attacks such as hacking email and financial crimes (banking), etc. In the last two years the attacks radar of focus has been defence, government accounts and the vaccine manufacturing companies.

Cyber Security – Individualistic awareness need of the hour

The target of the individual in a peculiar case which led to heinous crimes casted was due to opening of a document which was a bait to install Netwire- a malware. The bait was eventually delivered through a file and what prompted a person to open that link was a Drop box sent to him on his email was actually opening a Pandora Box of malicious command and control server. An emphasis to understand the technicality that Netwire stands for a malware which gives control of the infected system to an attacker. This in turn paves way for data stealing, logging keystrokes and compromise passwords. In the similar vein the Pegasus used the tactic to infiltrate the user’s phones in 2019.

Cyber Security – Attacking Power Distribution Systems

The intrusions by Chinese hacker groups in October, 2020 as brought out by Recorded Future was done through Shadow Pad which opens a secret path from target system to command and control servers. And, the main target is sectors such as transportation, telecommunication and energy .And , there are different tags that are being used by the Chinese Espionage Industry such as APT41, Wicked Spider and Wicked Panda , etc.

The institutions backing legitimisation

The Institutions which are at working under the cyber security surveillance are the National Security Council and National Information Board headed by National Security Adviser helping in framing India’s cyber security policy .Then, in 2014 there is the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre under the National Technical Research Organisation mandating the protection of critical information infrastructure. And, in 2015 the National Cyber Security Coordinator advises the Prime Minister on strategic cyber security issues. In the case of nodal entity , India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) is playing a crucial role under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MEITY).But, there is a requirement of clarity in National Cyber Security Policy of 2013 and the needed updates desired in it respectively.

A cohesive approach – Data Protection and Privacy Importance

The Data privacy i.e. the personal data protection bill is an important imperative in which services of private actors can be bridged through a concerned law which is missing link in that sense. The point of Data localisation falls squarely within this dimension of Section 40 and 41 of the draft bill where in the Indian stakeholders have the capacity to build their own data centres .In this contextualisation there also a need to understand certain technicalities involved in terms of edge computing which in a way is enabling the data to be analysed, processed, and transferred at the edge of a network. An elaboration to this is the data is analysed locally, closer to where it is stored, in real-time without delay. The Edge computing distributes processing, storage, and applications across a wide range of devices and data centres which make it difficult for any single disruption to take down the network. Since more data is being processed on local devices rather than transmitting it back to a central data centre, edge computing also reduces the amount of data actually at risk at any one time. Whereas on the other hand, there is insistence on data localisation has paved the way for companies such as Google Pay to adhere to the policy and synchronise their working with the United Payments Interface (UPI).

What do you understand by Data Share?

In the recent case of WhatsApp privacy issue and drawing in parallel other organisation a similar platform such as Facebook and Google shared the data to the third party with a lopsided agreement and with continuance of the data trade business industry. In 1996 the internet was free so was perceived as carte blanche , a safe harbour falling under the Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act in the United States but with the evolution of the circumstances the laws in that specifications are also required to change in that respect. In relations to the Indian law under the Information Technology Act, 2000 under the Section 69 the Indian government has the powers to monitor and decrypt any information that’s store in any computer resource but on certain conditions such as in regards to the sovereignty, defence and security of the country.

Cyber-attacks understanding on the International Forums

In terms of Lieber Code of Conduct of 1863 or be it Hague Convention of 1899 there is a need of updating the definitions and where in the cyber army falling under the categorisation  of civilians , not possessing any of the warfare weapons cause the main weapon that they possess is a malware which is invisible but can have deep repercussions leading to destruction of that particular economy altogether .So, in recent evolving circumstances there is an undue importance to for the target country to respond with equal force and having a right to self-defence in this manner regardless of the attack being from a non-state actor from a third country and masquerading under the civilian garb .Henceforth , there a thorough understanding of the complex environment that one is dealing with , there is undue emphasis to change and respectively update with the current world.

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