U.S. Draws India Into The Afghan "War"
hindu.com/2008/12/25/stories … 130800.htm
The time has come to carefully assess the U.S. motivations in widening the gyre of the Afghan war, which commenced seven years ago.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States armed forces, Admiral Mike Mullen, has lent his voice to the incipient idea of a “regional” approach to the Afghanistan problem. He said the over-arching strategy for success in Afghanistan must be regional in focus and include not just Afghanistan but also Pakistan and India. The three South Asian countries, he stressed, must figure a way to reduce tensions among them, which involves addressing &# 8220;long-standing problems that increase instability in the region.”
Adm. Mullen then referred to Kashmir as one such problem to underline that if India-Pakistan tensions decreased, it “allowed the Pakistani leadership to focus on the west [border with Afghanistan].” He regretted that the terror attack in Mumbai raised India-Pakistan tensions, and “in the near term, that might force the Pakistani leadership to lose interest in the west,” apart from the likelihood of a nuclear flashpoint. Interestingly, he gave credit to the Pakistani top brass for its recent cooperation in the tribal areas which, he said, has had a “positive impact” on the anti-Taliban operations.
If Barack Obama genuinely wants to end the bloodshed and the suffering in Afghanistan, tackle terrorism effectively and enduringly, as well as stabilise Afghanistan and secure South Asia as a stable region, all he needs to do is to turn away from the great game, and instead seek an inclusive inter-Afghan settlement facilitated by a genuine regional peace process. The existential choice is whether he will break with the past U.S. policies out of principle. Surely, as Adm. Mullen’s statements underscore, Mr. Obama will run into the vested interests of the U.S. security establishment, the military-industrial complex, Big Oil and the influential corpus of cold warriors who are bent on pressing ahead. India must, therefore, take note that the war in the Hindu Kush enters a decisive phase for the New American Century project.
The need arises for India to revive close consultations with Russia and Iran with which we have profound shared concerns over the Afghan problem and regional security. We must steer an independent policy towards Iran as a factor of regional stability. It is not in the interests of Russia, Iran and India to abandon Afghanistan to the U.S.-U.K.-Pakistan-Saudi condominium. They must use their influence on Afghan groups to chisel a regional peace initiative. In a helpful departure, China also took a differentiated approach to the recent U.N. Security Council move regarding Pakistani militant outfits, which we must take note of and build on. Finally, of course, while there is a time for everything, India must eventually resume the arduous search to make Pakistan a stakeholder in good neighbourly relations. The U.S. factor complicates this search, which is best undertaken bilaterally.
The wheel has come full circle. Those who sold us the dream of a U.S.-India strategic partnership are nowhere to be seen.