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U.S.-Taliban Deal: India should Chalk-out a New Strategy

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24.04.2020

For India, it would be wise for the time-being to observe how things unfold after the USA-Taliban peace agreement, and then chalk-out a new strategy at an appropriate time. It would be premature, and perhaps wrong, to reach the conclusion that the agreement has left India with no hope in the Afghan equation.

[Manish Rai | Oped Column Magazine]

In a landmark development, the United States has agreed to reduce its force – from 13,000 soldiers to 8,600 – in Afghanistan in the coming three to four months, with the remaining forces withdrawing over the next 14 months.

This commitment comes under a deal struck in Doha between the USA and the Taliban “for bringing peace”. Under the same deal, the Taliban has agreed not to allow the use of Afghan soil as a base to plot attacks on the USA or its allies.

Many in New Delhi fear that the Taliban’s return to power may jeopardize India’s $3 billion worth of investments and strategic interests. What’s worse, it would be a nightmare for Indian geopolitical interests in the region if Pakistan’s influence increases drastically with the Taliban’s return to power.

Yet, India should pursue a ‘wait and watch’ approach at this point in time. After all, a lot has changed in Afghanistan’s political landscape since 2001.

During the Taliban rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban was a rag tag militia with no strategic thinking and,........

© Oped Column