Discussion on “Afghanistan: Emerging Strategic Re-Alignment”
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The VIF hosted an internal discussion on ‘Afghanistan: Emerging Realignment’ on 04 May 2017. The purpose was to consider Afghanistan’s dwindling security environment and imperatives for India to hedge its bets against a resurgent Taliban waiting to take over the reins of power in Kabul while the new US administration is yet to firm up its future Afghanistan strategy. Even as a complete pullout by the United States from Afghanistan is still being debated across the world, emergence of a new strategic alignment on the Afghan scene – a China-Russia-Pakistan nexus – threatens to put India’s strategic investments in Afghanistan in a jepoardy.

During the discussions, the panelists - Amb Satish Chandra, Amb Prabhat Shukla and Lt Gen Ravi Sawhney, among others - weighed in various options available to India. Here, the options ranged from supporting factions in Afghanistan opposed to the Taliban to equipping the Afghan armed forces with more lethal fire power. Veracity of the Durand Line, an imagined boundary that cuts through the Pasthun ethnicity tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, was also questioned during the session. While examining the underpinnings of China-Russia-Pakistan strategic alignment on Afghanistan, experts noted that countries which are pushing the Taliban to power neither have requisite finances nor political will to sustain long term constructive engagement with Afghanistan. They further added that countries which are coming together as replacement for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan are driven by their individual strategic aspirations and are most likely to act at cross purposes with each other. As for India, there was general consensus among experts that it needs to continue its constructive engagement with the government in power in Afghanistan.

Event Date 
May 4, 2017
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