India Says Can’t Stay a Bystander in Afghanistan
KABUL – India says that it cannot remain a “bystander” in Afghanistan, cautioning against calls for direct intervention on regional issues. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Monday: “Whatever is happening (in Afghanistan) is happening to us — physically, spiritually and psychologically.”
Speaking at the launch of a report on Afghanistan by the Delhi Policy Group, the minister said events in the war-torn country affected the entire neighbourhood. “Either, we have an element of jingoism, which means that India should be policing the entire region, have a first strike capacity. There are others happy to be groaning on how ineffective India has become,” he remarked.
In response to calls for an interventionist policy, he cited the American approach. “The US was willing to put at risk huge numbers of its military assets to save one pilot in the world, but at an enormous price.” The Americans had such a “sense of fatigue” that they were not even ready to deploy a pilot for conducting aerial attacks, he said of drone strikes against militant outfits in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
India desired to be part of a solution to the Afghan conflict, Khurshid said, adding: “Some people want us to be part of the problem. We don’t want to give them the chance to say that.” He indicated India’s apprehension on the issue of the Karzai administration’s reconciliation with the Taliban. “We were a little concerned about good and bad Taliban categories. Ultimately, it’s for the Afghan leadership to take a call. “It is also our duty to forewarn them about the concerns that others are overlooking in their bid to depart in a hurry,” he said, referring to the withdrawal of US and NATO forces. (PAN)