The dust of Mi’s hovers around the deserted Kabul airport when the clouds of terror are looming over with a pale shine of smile which came as Laden dived his soul into the deep blue sea. Here comes the expected & most awaited regional dignitary equally important as the invaded partner of Obama administration struggles to find solution to future power vacuum after its withdrawal from the breeze of opium.
The visit to Afghanistan by Manmohan Singh was his first visit since 2005. He is the first Indian PM to be speaking in the Afghan parliament as no other neighbor countries have done before.
Mr. Singh’s visit to Afghanistan comes just over a week after Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US navy seals in Pakistan. Both Mr. Singh and Mr. Karzai feel that their opinion about Pakistan harboring militant groups was right as bin Laden was discovered there. Even though the visit had been planned before the operation, as Pakistan’s reputation is damaged, India may use this opportunity to tie a closer relationship with Afghanistan as both countries share the same concern over the troubled neighbor with its terrorist network groups operating. In his speech, the Indian PM told that “the Afghan MPs should be left to make decisions about their country’s future without outside interference.”
The two leaders also had discussions about the regional stability, counter terrorism and the India-Afghanistan strategic partnership that is also built on the shared conflict they have with Pakistan. Mr. Singh said; “We wish to see a peaceful, stable, democratic, pluralistic Afghanistan. We strongly support Afghan people’s quest for peace and reconciliation, and India supports firmly the unity, integrity and prosperity of Afghanistan.” Both countries did also issue a Declaration of Strategic Partnership and made sure to send out a message that India, unlike the US will stick around and several other support such as financial aid.
Financial aid and partnership
Mr. Singh promised $500m in aid to Afghanistan, which comes besides $1.5bn already promised. The money will be spent on various projects and initiatives such as agriculture, schools, roads, social sector, capacity building and other infrastructure projects. India is also building the new parliament in Kabul – at a cost of $19m.
1. India shows effort to rebuild Afghanistan as a stabile Afghanistan is good for them. Pakistan on the other hand feels uncomfortable with much Indian influence in the region, especially in Afghanistan as there is a power struggle going on.
2. Pakistan is rooted in the Afghan society by language, tradition, cast, and ideology. Without the Pakistani cooperation and coordination, peace can’t and never will be implanted in Afghanistan. This doesn’t mean that Afghanistan should choose their friends and supporters based on the Pakistani opinion as Afghanistan has the ultimate right to choose who they want to cooperate about strategic relations in the region with as they have their own sovereignty and rich history. The Afghans has never been occupied by other nations and has always shown strong resilience such as when they broke the legs of the Soviet Union and defeated the British several times in history.
3. India needs Afghanistan, no doubt about that. India with its many problems such as poverty, environmental problems as pollution of water and air, low wages and unemployment among youth, India is seen as a rising superpower with its economy. And what India needs is Afghanistan’s natural gas reserves and precious minerals. Historically, Afghanistan has been an important country because of its connection with the Silk Road and the geopolitical territory as it is bordering to 7 countries.
4. There is a power struggle going on in the region and the countries are competing over capitalism. Afghanistan’s diplomacy is not too strong but it is not that weak either. They want to maintain a balance between Pakistan and India as well as keeping a good relationship with India without outside interference.
5. The peace and reconciliation council (jirga) is necessary in today’s Afghanistan and a good step between the government and the Taliban function. But because the Taliban is in deep connection with Pakistan, the council will not be successful in its work for peace without the help of Pakistan.
6. As the Indian PM came on a visit to Afghanistan to tighten the relationship and partnership, the Pakistani President Mr. Zardari has chosen to pay a visit to China to strengthen the Pakistan-China relation and perhaps speak about some nuclear deal just to give US something to think about.
Since the fall of Taliban Afghanistan has remained a center of diplomacy & external affairs which are so important to the nations concerned that even a small hic can draw lines on political minds.
The strategic partnership proposed between the two nations must involve a serious public participation which should consider the communal & social values of the affected.
If India needs to safeguards his interests in Afghanistan then he should work on more ground realities through both political & investment channels.
Here are the following points which India should consider if he wants to play an important role in the building of Afghan nation.
1. India can send or post few units of his armed forces in order to fill the power vacuum there.
2. Provide training to the newly formed Afghan forces & police.
3. Encourage Indian corporates to set up shops there
4. Establish media network & partnership between both media & press outlets
5. Introduce free trade zone or area between the two countries for the tradable products.
6. Introduce educational framework to support & encourage Afghan children & society.
7. Encourage Afghan government to open more trade routes in order to make Afghanistan a better transit point & center for the South Asian countries to form a better trade network in the region ultimately benefiting Afghanistan as the trading administrator for the region.
With the increase in cooperation between the two the day is not far when these historically connected blood lines of people will again take shape to form a better future where there is only peace, harmony & prosperity will prevail & exist with no feeling of war & terrorism.