Quad is East, Kabul is West, Never the Twain Shall Meet

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar (R) met the leader of erstwhile Afghan Northern Alliance Rashid Dostum (L), New Delhi, Sept 25, 2020  The first part of this analysis is here.  The policy planning with respect to Afghanistan has become an excruciatingly difficult exercise for New Delhi. Even a veteran great game addict like National Security …

India wary as Afghans discuss interim govt – Part 1

India’s NSA Ajit Doval (L) met chairman of Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah (R), New Delhi, October 5, 2020 The visit to New Delhi by Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation in Afghanistan, becomes an event of major importance for a variety of reasons, the most significant being its …

India’s overture to Taliban comes too late

The Taliban delegation at the opening ceremony of intra-Afghan talks, Doha, Qatar, September 12, 2020 The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad was roundly criticised by Indian commentators when he last passed through Delhi in May and advised the officials he met with an earthy sense of realism and foreboding that it’s high …

Russia cannot do without Turkey’s cooperation in Syria

People fleeing the conflict zone in Idlib, northwest Syria. File photo. The former Soviet Union was a satiated world power. It didn’t have to prove anything. The Great Patriotic War (1941-45) spoke for itself. Thus, triumphalism was never a diplomatic tool in the Soviet inventory.  The removal of the US nuclear missiles from Turkey in …

Regional states won’t oppose US-Taliban deal

Youth release balloons and pigeons to celebrate the reduction in violence, Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Feb. 28, 2020 The reactions of the major regional states surrounding Afghanistan over the US-Taliban peace agreement in Doha Saturday reveal fault lines that are useful pointers in the Afghan peace process.  A sardonic remark by the Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar …

Afghan peace comes with caveats but can’t be snuffed out

US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and co-founder of Taliban movement Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) signed the Afghan peace agreement., Doha, February 29, 2020  The chasm between illusion and reality in politics remains perennial. Wars seldom ended according to the script of peace agreements. The fall of Saigon in April 1975 …

US takes leap of faith toward Taliban, al-Qaeda

According to reports, the Taliban disclosed on Tuesday that five former Guantanamo inmates from their leadership hierarchy have joined their political office in Qatar. This dramatic development signals that the talks between the Taliban and the US are getting under way seriously in search of an Afghan settlement. The five former Guantanamo inmates were top …

Time for rethink on CPEC

India needs to cut the Gordian knot of strategic stalemate in its external environment MK Bhadrakumar Former Ambassador A‘whispering campaign’ has been going on that CPEC is fated to put an intolerable burden on Pakistan’s debt repayment liabilities, with no commensurate economic returns. Fact check is uncommon in our part of the world: Moody’s says …