India-Pakistan Proxy War in Afghanistan
The deadly on Indian Consulate in Herat province has once again sparked concerns over proxy war between rival regional powers in Afghanistan. The attack was organized at a time to have the highest possible repercussions and have potential impacts on regional politics and involvement of India and Pakistan in Afghanistan. The deadly assault on Indian consulate in Herat is coming ahead of coming new government into power in India. The new government will be led by Moody Naryndra from Bharatya Janata Party, a Hindu nationalist party.
The attack in Herat is the first attack on Indian intetest after the rise of new government led by Moody Naryndra. Most certainly, the Indian government is seein Pakistan’s hand behind the deadly blast on its consulate. Pakistan is not shying away from expressing dissatisfaction over Afghan-India relations and India’s presence in Afghanistan. The Afghan government’s recent move in seeking military supplies from India is further provoking Pakistan.
India and Afghanistan have very close relations, and India recently agreed to supply part of the Afghan military needs. Given the traditional distrusts in Pakistan’s relations with India and Afghanistan, Indian involvement in supplying arms for Afghanistan’s army can provoke rivalaries between the two regional powers in Afghanistan. The attack on Indian Consulate in Herat could potentially increase the tensions and strain relations with Pakistan. Undoubtedly, the incident in Herat and speculations about possible perpetrators and their sponsors can strengthen Pakistani extremist groups against India.
On the other hand, despite India’s new leaders to correct their anti-muslims image, some elements might be seeking to portray an anti-Muslim stance from the incomin government in India. Some members of the Bharatya Janata Party’s campaign have made statements in the past that hurt the feelings of Muslims. These include statements concerning Indian Muslims with some specific countries or their involvement in terrorist acts. Senior officials of the ruling party have been trying to reduce the impacts of the rhetoric emphasizing that the new government will protect all minorities.
However, experiences of violence against Indian Muslims and the anti-muslim statements during the campaigns have added to the concerns of Muslims. Regional leaders including leaders from Afghanistan and Pakistan are to attend India’s new Prim Minister inauguration on May 26. Accordin to observers, the invitation of leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan show Mr. Moody’s efforts to show the goodwill of the new government’s foreign policy.
However, despite the efforts by the incoming Prime Minister in India to ease Pakistan’s concerns over its foreign policy, Islamabad is genuinely concerned with India’s approach in Afghanistan. Given Pakistan’s unrealities stance over India’s involvement in Afghanistan, many see Pakistan’s hands behind the attack on Indian consulate in Herat province. But at this stage, other cases including involvement of a third party also cannot be ruled out. What is crystal clear is that Afghanistan is continuing to be the ground for proxy wars between regional rival powers.