India, as a responsible regional power, should steer Afghanistan towards political stability, security through an inclusive government, economic growth, reconstruction and regional integration, which is what that country needs the most.
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’.
The question of Pakistan’s disintegrating domestic realm and the ramifications of this on national security calculi has not been factored in the post-withdrawal phase as the probability of military responsibilities to be undertaken by regional actors, including India, becomes real.
The year 2011 will stand out in history as the year of the Arab Spring, when people in Northern Africa and West Asia rose up against tyranny and revolted for political emancipation.
The elimination of Osama, though a great feat by the US special forces, will largely be a symbolic event – terrorism is unlikely to end and the situation in Af-Pak is not likely to improve.
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.
The US needs to take direct charge of the peace talks prong of strategy to meet the mid-2011 deadline of beginning its troops withdrawal as well as to enable NATO departure by 2014.
The current terrorist threat has reemphasised the importance of Europe, considered to be increasingly irrelevant in global security and strategic calculus.
Bangladesh is making an important effort domestically to weaken the affiliates of al-Qaeda and Taliban ideology, which is no less important than making contributions to ISAF.
India has been fairly successful in firewalling the radical blowback emanating from Pakistan in the past and need not be overly worried about the impending US withdrawal.