How Obama's AfPak strategy benefits India


Regular Member
Feb 26, 2009
How Obama's AfPak strategy benefits India

in the last year since the Indian embassy in Kabul was bombed on July 7, allegedly by the Sirajuddin Haqqani faction of the Taliban [Images] based in Pakistan's North Waziristan province, India has well and truly joined in United States president Barack Obama's [Images] 'AfPak strategy' that is aimed at jointly looking at Afghanistan and Pakistan as the expanded theatre of war against the Al Qaeda [Images] and the Taliban.

The first manifestation of Obama's concession to India came when the US agreed to Delhi's [Images] demand that it not be made part of the 'AfPak' formulation, thereby rejecting Pakistan's desire that Kashmir be included in the triangulated regional strategy.

Then, in May, as the world saw Obama and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in Washington DC talk to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari [Images] and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai [Images] at the same table, persuading them to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on a bilateral trade and transit deal that should be concluded by the end of 2009, it began to emerge that one of the beneficiaries of this Pak-Afghan deal would be India.

While India is not mentioned anywhere in the pact, analysts in Pakistan believe that references to the "need to improve conditions for international and cross-border trade and transit" mean that Pakistan will now have to allow the Wagah border to be used for land trade between Afghanistan and India.

Officials in Kabul and in New Delhi confirmed that once the agreement became operational, Afghan trucks would be able to travel all the way to India, crossing both the Durand Line and the Wagah border, where they will offload their goods onto Indian trucks.

Indian goods, meanwhile, can be loaded on the same trucks back to Afghanistan, thereby avoiding expensive air freight, as well as the circuitous sea route to Bandar Abbas port in Iran, and thence onwards via road into Afghanistan.

As the region prepares for the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [Images] later this month, the Pak-Afghan trade and transit agreement is already being seen as yet another 'concession' to India by the Obama administration. At the same time, Pakistani analysts say, the US is tightening the noose around Pakistan to deliver on Al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents, who are using the tribal frontier areas of Pakistan as a safe haven, even as it promises a meager $1.5 billion in annual aid for the next five years.

Speaking on Pakistan's privately-owned Dunya TV soon after the MOU was signed in May, Pakistan's former foreign secretary Riaz Khokhar said: "This (trade) agreement has serious implications for Pakistan. A fire (is raging) in Balochistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, while things are getting a little hot even in (Pakistan's) Punjab [Images]. Giving India transit facilities means opening yourself to subversion�Hundreds of trucks will go across, arms will be carried�I am very surprised the government has agreed to this."

But western diplomats in Kabul also believed that India will, sooner than later, have to pay a price for Obama's generosity.

"A serious discussion on Kashmir with Pakistan will have to start," one western diplomat said.

"Pakistan, which is crucial in the fight against terror, should also feel that it is getting something out of this. Even though the world understands what India has gone through with the Mumbai terror attacks [Images], Delhi should also try and understand what Pakistan is going through internally, including on the terrorism front," the diplomat added.


Feb 19, 2009
do the western diplomats seriously believe india can be forced to a negotiation table on the kashmir issue.

it will happen only when india feels the need and presently with no stubborn head in the government at the highest level, india is ready to talk to pakistan or pakistan could have been on the sidelines forever on the issue.

holbroke's mandate was changed to afpak, now think of it this way, had the us included kashmir in his mandate, would the indians have talked to him, leave alone talking to him, he wouldnt have even been allowed to land on indian soil.

take the recent case as recent as a few days back when pakistan foreign minister had gone to press stating that next round of talks between foreign ministers and prime ministers of the two countries would include kashmir and now their foreign office says that they are ready for any talks with india which doesnot include kashmir, surprising how the sea change happened.

well world has woken to certain facts about a rising economic power house that india is and that is we are no more any pushovers and even in 90s when the pressure was most on india to include mediator on kashmir talks with pak even then no such mediator was allowed in, so no way will india talk on terms of others but at its will, and as it suits its interests.

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