Send troops to Afghanistan

Issue 17 - Aug 2008
Sushant K Singh
A significant Indian military presence in Afghanistan will alter the geo-strategic landscape in the extended neighbourhood, by expanding India’s power projection in Central Asia. India has historically had a friendly relationship with both Iran and Russia. With Iran, India can also ride on the goodwill created by Zaranj-Delaram highway, which has provided a road link between Afghanistan and Iran. These nations could well be more amenable to an Indian military presence than they have been to the United States and its NATO allies in Afghanistan.  

The Pakistani state will be denied the strategic depth it seeks by installing a favourable dispensation in Afghanistan. The Pakistani establishment will be compelled to divert its energies from their eastern to their northern borders. Loud protests can be anticipated from Pakistan against India’s active military involvement in the region, but the involvement of the United States will restrict Pakistani antipathy to voluble complaints. US officials have, moreover, long been frustrated at what they view as Pakistan’s failure to do enough to combat militants along its border with Afghanistan. 
An Indian military involvement in Afghanistan will shift the battleground away from Kashmir and the Indian mainland. Targeting the jihadi base will be a huge boost for India’s anti-terrorist operations, especially in Kashmir, both militarily and psychologically.

Till the time Islamic fundamentalist forces are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, India’s battle to contain terrorism in Kashmir will always be a defensive one. This is because ISI and other jihadist forces across the border have the ability to calibrate the level of terrorism in India. India can counter this effectively only if it has the capacity to strategically ratchet up pressure either of Pakistan’s fronts.

6 Replies to “Send troops to Afghanistan”

  1. Veeru

    Theoretically a correct analysis. However Afghanistan is neither a small country nor does it have a very hospitable terrain nor is it anywhere near to a decently governed state. One must not forget that USSR and US have burnt their fingers by meddling with the country’s affairs in the bi polar era.

    If deflecting the attention of Pakistan from their eastern border to northern border is the issue, then India needs to have a very potent, large and ultra modern Armed Forces. Does the political and military will exist, is the question.

    Another issue is that western border is not the only area of concern. What happens if Pakistan and China join hands and become active on our northern and north eastern border and ISI provides logistical support to LTTE and Bangladesh to become active on the southern and eastern border? Do we have the capability to handle so many fronts together.

    Economic dominance in the area should be our concern as of now.

Comments are closed.