You are here

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • Udhayan C C asked: India had a border with Afghanistan which is now with PoK. Why can’t we reclaim it by force?

    Priyanka Singh replies: The Wakhan Corridor in the Badakhshan province separates Afghanistan from Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).The corridor is approximately140 miles long and between 10-40 miles wide. Besides PoK, it shares border with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan, China, Tajiskistan and is thus of immense strategic value.

    The strategic significance of PoK cannot be denied in the present context and it is absolutely justified that India should reclaim PoK, but probably not by force. India’s stance on PoK has not been very forthcoming in the past so many years. Compulsions at the international level coupled with a rather defensive approach at the domestic level have meant that claims over PoK have not been adequately highlighted as part of the overall Kashmir issue. Hence, before we start thinking in terms of reclaiming our territory by force, a lot needs to be done on the policy front. We need to reshape and strengthen our policy on PoK which supports our legitimate claim on PoK. There is need to create awareness regarding India’s claim over PoK, not only at the international level, but also to a certain extent at the domestic level. Resorting to use of force without exploring all other possibilities would be unwarranted.

    More importantly, India’s claim on PoK should not be confined solely to strategic interests in Afghanistan. True, PoK will give India unfettered access to Afghanistan and more importantly to Central Asian markets. However, the strategic dimension should be preceded by the legal claim, which is that PoK is an integral part of India currently under illegal occupation of Pakistan.

    The Bonn II Conference on Afghanistan: A Step Forward Amidst Uncertainty

    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.

    December 19, 2011

    Russia's Growing Afghan Re-Engagement

    The historical baggage weighing on the Russo-Afghan relationship is apparently in the process of being jettisoned. The two countries have been cautiously reaching out and engaging each other for quite some time now. Afghan President Hamid Karzai's state visit to Moscow on 20–21 January 2011 – the first by an Afghan head of state in more than two decades – could be perceived as a major step forward.

    July 2011

    The Evolving Politics of Taliban Reintegration and Reconciliation in Afghanistan

    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. Though often regarded as flawed, ill-timed, regressive, wobbly, dangerous and unworkable, the idea has nevertheless come to dominate the discourse on the Afghan war. However, principal Afghan opposition forces and networks operating from Pakistan continue to publicly rebuff and mock at the government's initiative.

    September 2011

    Istanbul Conference on Afghanistan: A Feeble Attempt at a Regional Solution

    It will not be fair to assess the success or failure of the Conference at this stage. The fact that there was an attempt to forge regional cooperation on Afghanistan was a positive but feeble step.

    November 04, 2011

    Rabbani Assassination: An Assertive Taliban and America’s Dilemmas

    With Burhanuddin Rabbani’s assassination, the reconciliation process with the Taliban is dead.

    September 22, 2011

    The Other South Asia

    Though Pakistan and Afghanistan still continue to be embroiled in religious and ethnic conflict, the rest of South Asia appears keen to check and go beyond such tendencies.

    June 20, 2011

    Afghanistan: An idea anticipating peace

    In a positive movement, ISAF’s peace enforcement operation over time will have to shift to peacekeeping. Thinking through the idea of UN-SAARC hybrid peacekeeping mission now could help catalyse the peace process eventually.

    June 06, 2011

    Raviteja asked: Is it right time to move out of Afghanistan in this crucial time for the US?

    Vishal Chandra: It is more about the US priorities at various levels as defined by the current administration. After the elimination of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by the American commandoes in Pakistan, it remains to be seen as to how the US deals with the Pakistani establishment in times to come. The prospect of the US further expanding its operations within Pakistan cannot be ruled out even if the NATO starts withdrawing its forces later this year. In my personal opinion, the US is not going to withdraw lock, stock and barrel from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. Even the process of withdrawal of forces will be a long-drawn affair taking at least four to five years. The pace of American withdrawal will depend also on the ground situation in Afghanistan; threat perceptions among the Western countries; and the preparedness of the Afghan National Security Forces.

    Raviteja asked: Was India getting enough recognition for her efforts in Afghanistan?

    Vishal Chandra replies: Yes, the Indian contribution to Afghan reconstruction has been appreciated and recognised by the Afghan people. India has been the only regional country carrying out development projects based on local community participation across the country. Indian projects are not confined to a particular region or to a relatively peaceful province in Afghanistan. They are not driven by commercial interests either. It would not have been possible for India to complete several of its projects thus far without the goodwill of the Afghan people and support from the Afghan government. Even in most adverse of circumstances and despite several constraints, India continues to assist in rebuilding Afghan capacities. In fact, Indian projects are a model when it comes to carrying out reconstruction activity in an in-conflict situation. It would be unfortunate if the situation deteriorates to a point where it may not be possible for India sustain its presence in Afghanistan.