Context:- United States’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is now in process, New Delhi has decided to ramp down its civilian presence in the war torn country, bracing for a full blown civil war. India has ‘temporarily’ closed its consulate and other civilian infrastructure in Kandahar and evacuated its diplomats. India must begin ‘open talks’ with the Taliban for its own national interest because a time for hesitant, half embarrassed backchannel parleys is over.
Why New Delhi is talking indirectly with Taliban:-
- If New Delhi chooses to engage the Taliban directly then Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani will be uneasy.
- We also faced a dilemma of who to talk to within the Taliban given that it is hardly a monolith and at the same time we may have little access to the members of the Quetta Shura or the fighters on the ground in Afghanistan.
- Because of the earlier terror of the Taliban and the lack of evidence about whether the outfit is a changed lot today, India might not want to court the Taliban so soon.
- There is a possibility of Pakistan acting out against India in Kashmir if India were to establish deeper links with the Taliban.
Why India should directly engage with Taliban:-
- The Taliban is going to be part of the political scheme of things in Afghanistan.
- Making peace with the fait accompli is not always a bad and especially in the absence of better alternatives.
- The Taliban today is looking for regional and global partners for recognition and legitimacy. It may act like India’s interest can be saved.
- Pakistani deep state exclusively dealing with the Taliban will inherently hurt India’s major interest.
- Even though the Taliban is widely considered to be propped up by Pakistan but at the same time Taliban will continue to be Pakistan’s servile followers upon gaining power in Kabul, is a biased notion.
- India needs to court all parties in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, if India wants to ensure its security of its civilian assets there.
- India’s outreach to the Taliban should have started years ago.
- India must engage directly with Taliban.
- India should secure it’s interest by taking all stakeholder approaches.
- We must know that a peaceful, secured and strong Afghanistan will be only when all the stakeholder shares part in it.