By K S Tomar
Notwithstanding the element of rivalry coupled with the intentions of denigrating and creating hurdles for India and the United States, the China-Pakistan nexus seems to be hell-bent upon siding with the Taliban against the international community’s stand to not recognize the Taliban regime, which may prove counterproductive and isolate it in the world.
China has already faced the wrath of the majority of the nations for concealing the information about the outbreak of Covid-19 which has hit the entire world.
Analysts point out that China is using its ally Pakistan to influence the Taliban to keep them away from Uyghur Muslims, though it poses a real danger of spurt in Kashmir valley by some Pak-trained terrorist groups as they form a part of Taliban set up which is evident from the inclusion of Khalil Haqqani, of Haqqani network, an anti-India entity and co-founder of Taliban.
Experts feel that the inclusion of former president, Hamid Karzai, Addullah Abdullah, etc in the Taliban government is aimed at reassuring the world and people of Afghanistan about the intentions of the Taliban to deviate from the 1996 blunder of imposing unwarranted and unacceptable diktats.
Owing to the erosion of America’s authority and credibility after sudden departure from Afghanistan thereby leaving countrymen in the lurch, India may have its concerns about a shift in the geopolitical balance in the region which may gradually tilt in favor of the China, Russia, Pakistan, and Iran axis.
At this juncture, China seems to be poised to exploit any opportunity to draw Afghanistan into its Belt and Road Initiative and Pakistan replicating the 1990s scenario of diverting ‘jihadis’ from Afghanistan to help ISI efforts to step up violence in Kashmir.
China has got its own worry about some terror groups like Muslim Uyghurs trained in Al Qaeda camps in Pakistan hence monitoring the activities of the Islamic East Turkestan Movement (ETIM) which has been designated by Beijing as a terror organization.
India’s former Northern Army Commander Lt Gen BS Jaswal (retd) has cautioned New Delhi to be prepared for terror spillover from Afghanistan into Kashmir via Pakistan and that the contingency plan should be ready to give a befitting reply to the aggressor. Under chief of defense staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, India has made all preparations to teach a lesson to those insurgents who act at the behest of ISI and Pak army.
Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran feels that India should not hurry to decide on the posture towards the new dispensation in Kabul. Even Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc have not yet recognized and encouraged the Taliban as against what they did in 1996. Pakistan had entrapped the United States to mollify the Taliban and the Doha agreement was signed to pave the way for the withdrawal of the US army.
But Taliban did not honor it and misused it to gain control over a majority of regions in Afghanistan and now Pak foreign minister is in Kabul to assure the world community about the intentions of the Taliban to protect the dignity of women, respect human rights, behave like civilized rulers. This may be a far-fetched dream as they are not likely to change especially after establishing and settling their regime in Kabul.
In final assessment, India should utilize the goodwill of QUAD, which provides a platform to seek cooperation from like-minded nations like US, Japan and Australia on the new Taliban threat, which emanates from the active involvement of Pakistan which has got Kashmir phobia. It may contribute to nullify the possible attempt of the Taliban to check the unceremonious and belligerent activities of China also against India.
(The writer is a columnist and political analyst based in New Delhi)