Should India Reach out to the Taliban?

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by Poseidon, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Poseidon

    Poseidon Regular Member

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    India And The Taliban: Should New Delhi Reach Out To Mullah Omar? – Analysis.
    Written by: IPCS
    March 22, 2012

    By Aryaman Bhatnagar

    India continues to uphold its position of not talking to the Taliban inspite of both Afghanistan and the US reversing their position and attempting to engage with the militants. Should India also now try to reach out to Mullah Omar? Is it likely that he would reciprocate? What could be the implications of such a policy reversal?
    Talking to the Taliban

    The change in the international opinion about talking to the Taliban – the Mullah Omar-led Quetta Shura – is borne out of the realization that a military victory over them may not be possible. However, to prevent a negation of the achievements of the past decade, it is considered crucial to reach an agreement with the Taliban.
    Mullah Omar

    Mullah Omar

    This rationale is applicable to India as well, which seeks to increase and preserve its soft power arc in Afghanistan, use it as a springboard for expanding into Central Asia and undermine the influence of Pakistan in the region. In order to achieve these aims, it is important for India to maintain good – or at least moderate relations – with the key political elements in Afghanistan. Given the important, if not dominant role, the Taliban is likely to play in the country post-2014, maintaining a blanket ban on talking to them may not serve India’s interests. Opposing or snubbing the Taliban carries the danger of being marginalized in Afghanistan, as was the case in the 1990s due to India’s support of the Northern Alliance. Due to the complete absence of any diplomatic engagement with the Taliban regime, this was one of the worst periods in recent history as far as Indian influence in Afghanistan was concerned. Reaching a settlement with the Taliban may also guarantee some protection to the Indian investments in Afghanistan in the short-term.
    Will Mullah Omar talk?

    Significant to note here is that, it is the same group that has agreed to open a political office in Qatar to talk peace with the Americans. Although, these talks may have been suspended for the time being, the decision to engage with the US by Mullah Omar highlights the existence of realism in his political calculations. A settlement with the Americans may guarantee some respite from their military operations as well as long-term political concessions such as legitimacy and recognition. Such pragmatism may also shape his approach to any overture made by India.

    Cultivating relations with India may serve Mullah Omar’s objective of breaking away from the dependence on their Pakistani ‘patrons’. The links of the Quetta Shura with Pakistan are tenuous at best. Even when the Taliban was in power it maintained a high degree of independence from Pakistan and constantly resisted and resented Islamabad’s attempts to control them. Although, it is reliant on Pakistan’s hospitality for now, the Taliban would almost certainly want to break away from this dependence and have more avenues for external engagement. International isolation and reliance only on Pakistan is a mistake that they would not be keen to repeat. In this respect, India may be an option, especially, given the present popularity of India and ever present distrust of Pakistan. At the same time, the Taliban could leverage its ties with India into a better negotiating position vis-à-vis Pakistan.
    The Possible Implications

    Reaching out to the Quetta Shura also carries high risks for India. First, it can endanger the goodwill that India has won in Afghanistan since 2001, especially among the non-Pashtuns. India also stands to lose the support of its allies– the Northern Alliance – who would fear abandonment in the face of this policy reversal. Moreover, reports have emerged that Mullah Omar may not be in full control of his foot soldiers and the hawkish elements, who highly resent the peace process. Thus, one cannot rule out the possibility of a more fundamentalist leadership emerging within the Quetta Shura making it tougher to negotiate a political settlement. Thus, the possible failure of reaching out to the Quetta Shura would make things worse as India would not only lose out on its existing constituency but also fail to gain any new friends in the process.

    Second, there is no guarantee that the Quetta Shura will be the group that will emerge victorious in Afghanistan. In a scenario, where a different faction – like the Haqqani network – emerges victorious, India once again stands the risk of being marginalized having placed all its bets on the wrong horse, especially on account of the close relations between the Haqqani network and Pakistan.

    Finally, attempts to reach out to the Taliban without the blessing of Pakistan carry the risk of antagonizing Islamabad. In the past, Pakistan has arrested or assassinated militants, who have attempted to hold unilateral talks with the Karzai or the Americans and it is possible that Islamabad will once again act as a spoiler to the process, especially given their paranoia about India’s increasing clout in Afghanistan. It is also possible that Pakistan would increase its support to the Haqqani network – responsible for most of the attacks carried out against Indian targets in Afghanistan – to counterbalance the prospects of an alliance between New Delhi and Mullah Omar.

    While, the changing ground reality does dictate that India should rethink its approach to Mullah Omar, it would be unwise to do so without taking the larger implications into consideration.

    Aryaman Bhatnagar
    Research Officer, IPCS
    email: [email protected]

    India And The Taliban: Should New Delhi Reach Out To Mullah Omar? - Analysis
     
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  3. panduranghari

    panduranghari Senior Member Senior Member

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    Why not just keep helping in building up the infrastructure without meddling in the politics? Or talk to everyone, but play your own cards very close to your chest. We need a good strong political leadership to impose our rules. Unfortunately we have none.
     
  4. ashicjose

    ashicjose Regular Member

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    Its not a good idea to talk to OMAR like terror leaders ,they can not be trusted ,if we can not coexist peacefully with Pakistan how is it possible with a hard line Islamist who consider INDIA as no.2 or 3 enemy of their belief.
     
  5. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    If the Taliban was not a Paki stooge, we could have talked with them. They are not of the forgiving kind. We were against them in the civil war in Astan where we were supporting the Norther Alliance. We will be two timed.

    To solve the problem in Astan, either destroy Taliban or destroy its creator, the Pakis.
     
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  6. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Talking to Taliban is like talking to a brainless beast that is programmed only to harm you. The best option is either send it to a place from where it can never return or exterminate it.

    Taliban will die the day Pakistan collapses as a nation and as an entity.
     
  7. aerokan

    aerokan Regular Member

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    Why infuse life into some terrorist org like US when it will die a slow death over time? let all the enemies be together. Atleast we won't have the false sense of security. It's always better to have mindless beasts as enemies rather than friends. Let the pakis and taliban die it's natural death.
     
  8. Tronic

    Tronic Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    No, we should not talk to the Taliban. They are a Pakistani stooge, and are also enemies of the ideals of humanity and equality.
     
  9. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Should we talk to Taliban? No.

    Why not?
    • Because they are a stooge of Pakistan and will always swing to Pakistan's tune.
    • They were complicit with the Kandahar hijackers.
    • They have always been against us, and our allies, such as Mohammed Najibullah, Ahmad Shah Masood and Northern Alliance.
    • If we trust them, they will back-stab us, because, they are one of the last ones anyone should trust. Even Pakistan cannot trust them fully.
    • If we negotiate with them, we will lose the confidence of the Northern Alliance.
     
  10. aerokan

    aerokan Regular Member

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    The tactics of negotiation and peaceful reconcilation is always proposed by them when they are weak. Never give in to them.
     
  11. Poseidon

    Poseidon Regular Member

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    Actually the Taliban and GoI are not that averse to each other:
    The Himalayan Times : India backs Afghan aims to reconcile with Taliban - Detail News : Nepal News Portal

    Taliban say they can 'reconcile' with India - Times Of India

    In international relations there is nothing called Permanent enemies or permanent friends.Everybody knows that OBL was a CIA stooge in the 80's.
     
  12. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Taliban is not the one you want to trust anytime. Theyd just buy time pretending to be friend and then come back to bite you.

    The US was a "friend" of those who fought the soviets, an earlier avatar of the modern Talibunnies. They got a 9/11.
     
  13. Poseidon

    Poseidon Regular Member

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    I don't have any links now but it is said that Taliban has promised safety to Indian workers and diplomats in Helmand and Kandahar.
    But whatever relations we have with the Taliban are solely for our benefit.Taliban can be an useful ally against Pakistan.
     
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  14. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Ya sure we can reach out to them. We sure reach out to the Lankans, why not Taliban?:troll:
     
  15. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    What we can also reach out is Pukistan, LeT, ULFA, JKLF, Al-Qaeda. And several more. No problemo.
     
  16. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    You have no understanding of Taliban then. Taliban is a Paki protege.
     
  17. Poseidon

    Poseidon Regular Member

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    Taliban will be a stooge of whoever will pay them more.
    Remember in Afghanistan India's real enemy is the ISI supported Haqqani network not Taliban
     
  18. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Haqqani is another tool like Taliban and they are close to each other. If Taliban could have been bought, the US could have ages ago.
     
  19. Poseidon

    Poseidon Regular Member

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    Taliban has signed a vocal ceasefire with US.As a result attacks and violence has come down.The last attacks on Kabul were perpetrated by Haqqanis in agreement with their ISI masters.
    If you know anything about Afghan warlords you should now that they fight for whoever pays more.
     
  20. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The question is will the Taliban be amenable to the 'reaching out'.

    They are Pak operated and Pak's strategic assets basically aimed at India.
     
  21. Poseidon

    Poseidon Regular Member

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