Publisher: Pentagon Press
Price: Rs 795/-
This book is an attempt to examine the role, relevance and status of the armies in the ever dynamic socio-political milieu of the countries in India’s South Asian neighbourhood. The book deals with the national armies of seven South Asian countries bordering India, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The contributors to the volume also trace out the likely trajectory of the future role and position of the armies in the given or evolving national and geo-political settings.
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India’s policy in Afghanistan must be Afghan-centric and not be concerned about Pakistani efforts to gain strategic depth. In fact, by getting involved in Afghanistan, Pakistan is likely to endanger its own security and stability.
Where does Pakistan figure in ‘Afghan good enough’ if Pakistan’s centrality in the Western approach is taken into account? Not working towards a ‘Pakistan good enough’ would simply mean that ‘Afghan good enough’ is not ‘good enough’.
In times of back door diplomacy and brokerage of deals, Karzai’s political skill and experience in balancing the divergent interests of various stakeholders may assure him a role in fashioning Afghanistan’s new political arrangement.
The planned Western draw down over the next two years is threatening to once again plunge Afghanistan into greater chaos and anarchy, with Kabul as the centre stage.
Bonn II made it somewhat clear that there is at least an evolving discourse and a fleeting sense of realisation in Western capitals that Afghanistan cannot simply be abandoned once again.
The subject assumes significance in view of the politics evolving around the idea of negotiating peace, especially with the Taliban, as the West plans to withdraw bulk of their troops by 2014.
The underlying message of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit is to convey to Pakistan, the US and the others that India has strategic interests in Afghanistan.
Despite the talk about India having key strategic interests in Afghanistan, it neither has the necessary resources nor the clout to influence developments in Afghanistan.