Relevance – In February, 2020 the US and the Taliban signed an “agreement for bringing peace” to Afghanistan. This deal follows after almost 18 years of armed conflict in Afghanistan. As per the deal, the US and Nato allies have agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months if the militants uphold the deal. The deal is also called the ‘Doha Deal’.
- What are the issues with the deal –
- The deal does not take the current political leadership into confidence. The deal should have followed an intra-Afghan dialogue between President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
- The deal legitimises the Taliban as the primary actor in deciding the future of Afghanistan.
- Now intra-Afghanistan dialogue seems improbable as the Taliban does not recognise the current elected government in Kabul.
- Where India stands – India has been generally kept out of the regional negotiations is Afghanistan because India does not share an undisputed land border with Afghanistan, however, the actual reason is that India never announced its support for the U.S.-Taliban peace process. India’s position that only an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled process can be allowed is a principled one, but has no takers.
- Concerns raised by India –
- India has raised concerns over the future of democracy, human rights, women’s rights and other achievements made in Afghanistan since 2001, when the Taliban regime was last defeated. These issues were not addressed in the agreement between the U.S. and Taliban.
- India’s presence in Afghanistan is being threatened by terror groups such as the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP).
- Confidence building measures by India in Afghanistan – Assistance in infrastructure projects, health care, education, trade and food security, and also in the liberal access to Afghans to study, train and work in India; assistance of more than $3 billion in projects, trade of about $1 billion, a $20 billion projected development expenditure of an alternate route through Chabahar, as well as its support to the Afghan National Army, bureaucrats, doctors and other professionals for training in India; Three major projects: the Afghan Parliament, the Zaranj-Delaram Highway, and the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam (Salma dam), along with hundreds of small development projects (of schools, hospitals and water projects).
- Way ahead:
- Ensure broad based aid and assistance to Afghanistan (even if some lie in areas held by the Taliban).
- Fulfil its role in the peace efforts in Afghanistan, starting with efforts to bridge the Ghani-Abdullah divide and bring together other major leaders with whom India has built ties for decades.
- India can also mediate between the US and Iran on the Afghanistan issue as it did on the Chabahar port matter.
- Consider the appointment of a special envoy, as it has been done in the past, to deal with its efforts in Afghanistan.
Practice Question: The newly signed ‘Doha Deal’ between Taliban and USA proposes a fresh set of challenges to Indian confidence building measures in Afghanistan. Elucidate. – 250 words.
Source: The Hindu
Categories: POINT IAS