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India cannot afford to lose Afghanistan & Bangladesh’s favor

16 0 0
13.12.2019

Opinion |

This had to happen: The friendliest and the closest neighbor that India ever had since its independence, Afghanistan, has cast aside diplomatic niceties and unmistakably conveyed its indignation and sense of hurt over the churlish imputation by the Indian leadership of alleged religious/racial persecution of minorities in that Muslim country on India’s northern tier.

The interview by the Afghan envoy Tahir Qadiry with India Today TV should come as an eyeopener for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah — and even External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar — namely, that India’s political relations with its three big ‘Muslim neighbors’ are running into headwinds.

The Afghan envoy has taken exception to the very notion of state persecution of the minority Sikh community in his country. As he put it, “In the last few years, since the fall of the Taliban Afghan people and government, especially this government, has been respecting the minorities, like the Sikh community, our great brothers and sisters as we have in Afghanistan. We have huge respect for them, we have seats for them in parliament, seats in the lower house as well, we also have their representative at the presidential palace.”

The point is, even small countries are entitled to self-esteem and national pride. We have wounded the Afghan and Bangladeshi national psyche and self-respect and there is going to be a price to pay

The point is, even small countries are entitled to self-esteem and national pride. We have wounded the Afghan and Bangladeshi national psyche and self-respect and there is going to be a price to pay

Qadiry’s remarks constitute a truthful statement of facts. Except for the abnormal five-year period under Taliban rule (1996-2001), the Afghan state has pursued a policy of pluralism allowing various faiths and sects to flourish.

The Sikh community was never persecuted in Afghanistan. In fact, it was well-rooted in........

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