How Should India Deal With The Taliban?| News Today With Rajdeep Sardesai| Afghanistan News

How Should India Deal With The Taliban?| News Today With Rajdeep Sardesai| Afghanistan News

has options what really are they do we pursue the global isolation of taliban as some are suggesting do we back anti-taliban resistance forces or do we engage with the taliban through back channel or openly engage with them or do we wait till the afghan situation settle should our embassy be back that’s the question that i want to raise joining me now at this moment gautam former uh indian ambassador to kabul also joined by rakesh soon who is also a former indian ambassador to afghanistan and sudhir kurkarni who has a very uh strong perspective on this new taliban as he is calling it i want to get all of you to answer that central question starting with you gather mukobadi first should we be openly engaging with the taliban hamid mead says back channel talks have been on for a year should we now remove all the pretenses and reach out to the taliban openly in the belief that they are the government in charge no i don’t think so actually one of the taliban’s principal objectives with india is to have some kind of legitimacy india is the last country that has helped that and that’s actually a quite a strong bargaining chip um so i don’t think we should jump onto it i think this is something that we have to watch and wait we have to see if taliban 2.0 is really what they are promising it is whether they are inclusive and we don’t have to only look at our interest because we also have to look at the interests of uh the afghan people uh so i would say that we and you know there’s a whole history of atrocities almost comparable if you include the latest stories about forced marriages and abductions of women uh almost comparable to what the isis did in syria and iraq you know ahmed mir said something very interesting he said that the taliban have changed only in two ways which is their diplomacy and their propaganda i would add a third thing which is the element of deception so you know they have been using these and i think we need to be very very careful deception till the last moment the including receiving the americans into believing that they would not enter kabul until the withdrawal of their last troops so you’re saying don’t engage till the situation settles till the taliban actually walk the talk in a way rakhine shoot do you agree that until we are convinced that this is a taliban that has genuinely has any genuine interest in stability or peace and stability in the area we don’t engage with them at all there are former diplomats who are saying we made a mistake by closing down our embassy we need to maintain channels of communication i have maintained for more than two years that we had put all our eggs in one basket and we relied on the ghani government and we relied on the americans now neither the ghani government exists nor does the nor do the americans they’re also leaving so from that point of view we are somewhat bereft of options however it is also true what gotham says that nobody really knows whether this is really a taliban 2.0 or whether just this is just a more media savvy repackaged taliban 1.0 we nobody really has an answer to it no so the fact is so we keep waiting we are not on the ground no so what should india do can’t really we can’t really find out i mean we’ve now withdrawn all our diplomats we can’t just send them back so we will have to wait willingly we will have to wait till the situation settles and we can make a better assessment there are no there is no other easier option interesting the way you are putting it the question of course is uh sudeendra kulkarni you’ve just written a piece suggesting that this is indeed taliban 2.0 but evidence on the ground suggests they still spread fear they work on intimidation the gun works they are subjugating women they want to push back their clock back by 20 years why should any civilized democracy engage with a group that doesn’t observe human rights to understand what’s happening in afghanistan today we have to have a historical perspective we should know that after 40 years of two invasions and wars waged by two superpowers afghanistan is free of external invasion and war and this is to be celebrated because the original sin the moon papi are the two superpowers the soviet invasion killed tens of thousands of guns for 10 years and then 20-year occupation by the americans in which they spent 1 trillion that is 70 lakh crore again tens of thousands of people were killed the so-called mother of all bombs dropped on afghan’s innocent people we should not forget all these crimes of course we must not we must not overlook the crimes committed by the taliban also there are two sides to taliban one is they are freedom fighters and the other is they have committed you know crimes because of the influence of fanatical understanding of islam but now the reality is that they have taken over afghanistan and many countries have already basically begun talking to them the united states engaged them and signed a peace accord that is tacit recognition the taliban delegation went to moscow that is tacit recognition they’ve gone to china so they’re already there in control of but if they continue the old way of committing atrocities on their own people the people themselves repel against them and therefore the international community including india we must we must both engage taliban and at the same time work for peace and inclusive government in afghanistan but and of course national reconstruction but no national reconstruction but do we have gautama any leverage with kabul let’s be realistic do we really have any leverage given the role that we played over the last 20 years in the reconstruction rebuilding of afghanistan our connection with the previous ghani government do we really have a role to play india at all or do we just stay away and watch the great game that’s playing out there with china russia iran pakistan the primary contenders for space and strategic depth no not at all you know firstly i think i would be beware of trying to reduce our support for the islamic government of afghanistan republic of afghanistan to a support for president ghani there are much larger issues of political principles rights freedoms and opportunities that are also involved uh secondly you know i think mr kulkarni just said made one point that finally afghanistan is free from external uh uh intervention uh it’s not true uh the first intervention was british the second was soviet the third was americans now we are actually seeing a pakistani intervention uh but also on the binary that you put i just think it’s sorry to stop you you’re very clear that this is a pakistani intervention that pakistan has played a role in the setting up of afghan taliban am i correct yes right from 1994. okay go ahead yeah so let’s come to the question of you know whether we have any leverage or not firstly i think there’s a range of options between no engagement and full recognition you could have minimal engagement just enough to keep a working relationship going and a relationship with the people provided of course pakistan and taliban allow it you could have an extra strip which is related to my legitimization i think which we should be very careful and hold back and then you have recognition i think there are lots of political elements at work right now that are trying to put together a kind of fig leaf of an increasing inclusive government uh when in which sort of you know various other ethnic leaders and others will be represented but without any real power so i think we really need to watch and wait and and see whether they mean the talk uh but also in terms of leverage you know please don’t forget one thing the taliban the core of the taliban is pashtun the pashtun’s traditional most important historical trade and even political relationship with india historically and into to the time of independence and even a little beyond that was with india not with iran or central asia so the bastoons have a very close connection with india part of the pakistani objective in the afghan taliban is to actually try to sever this relationship between the pashtuns and india and between afghanistan and india and do a kind of geopolitical re-engineering and link it with central asia that is what we are seeing when the pakistanis talk about geo economics number one and number two that’s what we are seeing when uh the the united states falling for when they actually signed up to or in fact initiated the whole idea of a central asia connectivity quad and i think this is an important thing do we want to be severed or do we not and what is the space that we uh uh manipulate right between uh between uh you know our antipathy uh for a regime that is really very much at least at this point until they come to power we’ll have to see that again uh very much a creation of pakistan uh and uh intended to erase both afghan and pashtun identity and submerge it in a larger sort of pan-islamic identity the whole war of flags that we are taking that we are seeing today is part of that pan-islamic identity uh rakesh suit your view also do you believe that in a way uh india at the moment just has to wait and watch to see how this plays out at the moment given the uncertain situation see i think gotham raised a valid question when he said is afghanistan really free in other words is taliban an independent agent now here i would like to pick up one point pakistan has always found it more comfortable to deal with islamist pashtuns india has always found it more comfortable to deal with nationalist presidents so here is an inherent contradiction beyond a point when pashtuns are in their homeland in this case afghanistan they become nationalists also and i think we saw signs of that we may still see signs of that so you so you and i think that is what we need to be able to discern yes whether we discern it through uh now obviously we don’t have any people on the ground there so how we discern it will depend on the signals that we receive or we send out but that is what we need to see nationalist pashtuns is a natural indian constituency islamist pashtuns are not so that is a battle that is a battle within a battle a quick final one um uh sudindra kulkarni because you know you said this is a freedom moment for afghanistan there will say freedom at what cost and the interesting observation being made by the two ambassadors pastor nationalism versus indian nationalism and was islamic nationalism the romantic notion of that sorry islam is fashionism yeah islam is personism uh you know you’ve got the romantic sort of notion of the kabuli wala versus the reality today of the taliban let’s not glamorize or romanticize the taliban is my final do you agree with that suddenly a quick answer of course you know we must not glamorize taliban and we must not condone the crimes committed by taliban in the past and the international community is strong enough to ensure that they don’t indulge in any mischief at the same time a very important point needs to be made suppose india is attacked and invaded by a foreign country what is the duty of what is my duty as a patriot my duty as a patriot and as a nationalist is to drive the invaders out this is what the afghanistan afghans have done this is what the taliban have done and that’s why i’ve said that the taliban are afghan patriots we should not overlook this point we there are two sides to taliban okay and nationalists at the same time they have committed crimes under the influence of a fanatical interpretation of islam i take your point the question is the challenge for india is to walk through this minefield that exists in the at the moment in uh in afghanistan while securing our interests in the region i appreciate all of you joining us every word that you’ve said in a sense should echo it’s good to hear such clear strong voices on the show thanks very much gautam rakesh and sudhindar kolkani for joining me this evening
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How Should India Deal With The Taliban?| News Today With Rajdeep Sardesai| Afghanistan News

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