Why is India Contacting those Countries where Taliban is Going?

There is concern in India's diplomatic circles about the way the Taliban are occupying new areas in Afghanistan in recent days.
Why is India Contacting those Countries where Taliban is Going?
Image Credit: BBC

Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's visit to Iran on Thursday is being linked to this. S Jaishankar met newly-elected President Ibrahim Raisi in Tehran and also conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's message to him. On the day the Indian Foreign Minister was in Tehran, a delegation of the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban were also present there. When Jaishankar later reached Russia, Taliban representatives were also present there. However, no official statement has come from India on this matter.

There have been reports of informal talks between India and the Taliban in the media in the past, but India has denied it. Analysts believe that India is doing this for a few reasons. "India has its own reasons for back-channel talks with the Taliban, especially Kashmir so that what is happening in Afghanistan doesn't affect it," says Muqtdar Khan, a professor of international affairs at the University of Delaware in the US.

The Taliban have claimed – 

The Taliban have claimed that if they want, they can capture the whole country in two weeks. At present, it is believed that a third of Afghanistan has been captured by this extremist organization. The general of foreign forces who has worked in Afghanistan has said that the situation that is being prepared in the country is pointing towards civil war.

Image Credit: The Conversation
Image Credit: The Conversation

Muktadar Khan says that 'the Taliban has reached the border of China. Those Indians can create a threat in Kashmir, can Talibanize Pakistan, Iran is also not away from this threat. The coming to power of the Taliban will increase anxiety in Pakistan, Iran, China, and India. In the coming few months, we can see the relations between these countries being redefined.

Taliban have captured the Islam Qala areas

There is a 945 km long border between Iran and Afghanistan. A day earlier, the Taliban have captured the Islam Qala areas, which are near the border with Iran. Shia-majority Iran has never openly supported the Taliban, but it has occasionally hosted peace talks between the Sunni extremist group Taliban and representatives of the Afghan government.

Iran has historically opposed the US presence in Afghanistan and considered it a threat to its security. After talks in Tehran between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban last week, Iran has said that "Iran is committed to solving the crisis in Afghanistan after the failure of the United States".

India in Afghanistan

India is a supporter of the government of Afghanistan and has been apprehensive about the Taliban. India has invested about $3 billion in Afghanistan since 2002. Its interests are related to both security and the economy. India fears that the situation in Kashmir may be affected if the Taliban influence in Afghanistan increases. Pakistan has a huge influence on a faction of the Taliban. If the Taliban's hold in Afghanistan is strengthened, then the situation will not be good for India.

Image Credit: BBC
Image Credit: BBC

The Haqqani Network, a major Taliban group, has repeatedly targeted Indian investments in Afghanistan in the past. India may have to change its priorities in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US-led NATO forces. Swasti Rao, Professor of International Affairs at Aligarh Muslim University, says, "India has invested a lot in Afghanistan. India has invested there in the 7200-km North-South Corridor that will run from Iran to Russia. If it deteriorates then it will all be in trouble."

India's step

"The foreign minister's visit to Iran has its own importance," says Omair Anas, an assistant professor at Ildrim Bayazit University in Ankara, Turkey. Iran is afraid that the Taliban may take full control of Afghanistan. Iran also does not want Afghanistan to be united states. In a new civil war, India and Iran have common interests regarding Afghanistan. Both can cooperate in this matter at many levels. In the past, India was active in Afghanistan with the US, but it did not have such alliances with Iran and Russia.

Image Credit: VMZINC
Image Credit: VMZINC

Anas says, "There was a Taliban delegation present before Jaishankar reached Tehran. When he reached Russia, there were also Taliban. It seems that India is currently working in Afghanistan with both Iran and Russia. In this situation, India would like to find a way out with Iran and Russia. Swasti Rao says, "The Government of India maintained good relations with the Government of Afghanistan and invested a long time in these relations. Wants to protect, for this, he is trying to talk to Iran and Russia.

No statement after the visit of the FMI

India has also been a big buyer of Iran's oil, although due to US sanctions, it had to ban it from 2019 onwards. Omair Anas says, "Iran has a new president. India would like to take the initiative to discuss oil prices with the new government of Iran. India would like to take advantage of it."

Image Credit: PR Newswire
Image Credit: PR Newswire

At the same time, Professor Muqtadar Khan says, "Iran's role in the new security situation in Afghanistan will also be important. Although there has been no statement after the visit of the Foreign Minister of India, India is indicating that America's anti-Iran policy Despite this, India wants to maintain relations with Iran. In a way, this is a signal to America that the relationship between America and India will continue to improve but India will keep its foreign policy independence and relations with Iran will be strengthened against America's will. "

Turkey's influence in Afghanistan and India's role

Turkey's role in Afghanistan will become important after America's withdrawal. The security command of Kabul Airport will remain in the hands of NATO member country Turkey. If Turkey's role in Afghanistan increases, it will also affect the relations between India and Turkey. Relations between India and Turkey have soured after Turkey's statements on Kashmir. Turkey is also closer to Pakistan than to India. But analysts believe that India and Turkey may have to come closer because of Afghanistan.

Image Credit: BBC
Image Credit: BBC

Professor Muqtadar Khan says, "Turkey and India relations are not very good but Pakistan and Turkey have good relations. Pakistan is with the Taliban in Afghanistan's civil war and Turkey supports the Afghan government, then maybe Turkey is with India. Want to improve your relationship with me." Omair Anas says that if Turkey, Iran, Russia, and India make a common policy regarding Afghanistan, then it will be more effective. Analysts believe that if India comes closer to Turkey, then India will have a chance to increase influence in the whole of Central Asia.

Will China also increase influence in Afghanistan?

Although China's activism in Afghanistan is not clear, the situation in Afghanistan can affect China's interests as well. China has invested heavily in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan under its Belt and Road Initiative. In the event of a civil war in Afghanistan, CPAC could be at risk. Analysts believe that China will neither hesitate to hold talks with the Afghan government nor with the Taliban. The relations between China and Pakistan are very strong, China can use the influence of Pakistan to try to influence the Taliban and will also want to invest in Afghanistan.

Image Credit: BBC
Image Credit: BBC

India is assuming that China can have a role in Afghanistan in the future, so they will have an influence there. It is trying to protect its interests by establishing good relations with the countries of the world. China's activism in Afghanistan will also have an impact on Central Asia. This is a matter of concern for Turkey. Turkey supports Uzbek and Hazara groups in Afghanistan and wants to stop the influence of the Taliban, so India and they can work together. Omair Anas says, "Turkey would like Pakistan to reduce its dependence on China and come closer to the West."

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