Two back-to-back terror incidents, a hotel attack and a car bombing, have left Afghanistan shattered and shocked. Afghanistan is on fire, and the entire region is under the constant threat of blowing up.
These are the manifestations of the sinister designs of the Pakistani establishment that is reluctant to let go of its “strategic” depth and control over the region. It’s evident that the threats and criticism of its erstwhile ally USA have not brought about the intended changes. Moreover, the Pakistani establishment appears to be trying to create a “Russia-China-Pak” nexus to dominate the entire Central Asian scenario.
For India, this is a recipe for disaster. It will be a huge blunder if things are allowed to continue to like this. We have been involved in many constructive activities in Afghanistan and have a lot of stake in its stability. But unlike the USA we have a good image among the people there too. Our “soft” power like that of Bollywood has much appeal there.What we need is an imaginative strategy to achieve optimal results in the region.
We already have the Chabahar port that lends us access to Afghanistan via Iran. We should now push persuasively for a larger scheme of trade and cultural flow in the area by integrating Central Asian countries and Russia. We already are jointly exploring oil and gas resources of Russia with Russia, and the Central Asian markets have a lot of potential in terms of trade and investment. We supply grains to Afghanistan via air, and this along with a capable navy can be expanded into a robust grand scheme. By playing this strategic “masterstroke”, we can fulfil our energy security demands, strategic priorities and at the same time make Afghanistan the pivot of an economically and culturally symbiotic relationship. This will bring prosperity and stability to the region.
India is a regional and aspiring global superpower. It should learn to solve regional issues creatively rather than toeing the line of some other nation.