BJP has cautioned the United States against any peace talks with the Taliban arguing the terrorist outfit is unlikely to change its behaviour and as reconciliation effort would be a futile exercise.
“The eagerness to engage with elements that want to return Afghanistan to the status of ‘Islamic Emirates’ in the hope that they would deliver,and in the process humiliating and weakening the democratic leadership,doesn’t behave well for the region,” the BJP President Rajnath Singh said yesterday.
He was speaking at a conference on Afghanistan at the Capitol Hill jointly organised by the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies,US India Political Action Committee and American Foreign Policy Council.
“If this accommodation with the Taliban is pursued with cooperation of the Pakistani military,as seems to be the case,the situation will become even more fraught,as many would say that it is the strategic ambition of the Pakistan Army to control Afghanistan that is at the root of the conflict there,” Singh said.
BJP president cautioned that any efforts to replace the present democratic arrangement with a totalitarian and sectarian Taliban regime would be detrimental not only to the people of Afghanistan or its immediate neighborhood,but also to countries like India,Russia,China and even the US.
“It is the experience of the whole world that terrorism knows no boundaries,” he said.
It is regrettable that once again an attempt is being made to make-believe that the real cause of the Afghan conflict is India-Pakistan rivalry there,Singh said addressing his speech in English.
“This is a travesty of facts; the creation of Taliban,its takeover of Afghanistan,the Taliban-Al Qaeda links,the presence of Osama bin Laden there,the attack on the Twin Towers traced to the Al Qaeda in Afghanistan,the subsequent US military intervention there,the presence of the Taliban leadership in Pakistan,the killing of NATO soldiers by the Haqqani group and others and the drone attacks against terrorist targets in Pakistan; none of them have anything to do with India,” he said.
Singh said India has supported reconciliation in Afghanistan that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
The sincere efforts in the first couple of years after 9/11 had led to the Loya Jirgah meeting in 2003-2004 and emergence of a democratic Islamic Republic of Afghanistan with a new Constitution.
“The Government of Hamid Karzai was a product of that exercise,” he said,adding that India extended full support to the initiative and has been actively involved in supporting the democratic regime through development aid.
India’s development aid stands at USD 2 Billion.
“India is committed to supporting the democratic forces in Afghanistan.
“The nascent Afghan security forces – the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police – the combined strength of which has reached nearly 350,000,have shown encouraging combat spirit in countering the challenges on the ground,” he said.
“While keeping the overall political and security balances in view,India is willing to provide its share of training and non-lethal support in bolstering the defencive capabilities of the Afghan security forces,” Singh said in a major foreign policy speech on Afghanistan.
“We are in favour of a democratic,sovereign and progressive Afghanistan capable of managing its own affairs without any foreign intervention. For the land-locked Afghanistan to have greater decisional autonomy and boost its economy,improved connectivity with the outside world can be a major game changer,” Singh said.
“This will bring smiles back on the faces of our cousins,lights in their households,dollars in their pockets and most importantly peace in their neighbourhood,” he said.
“Mutually beneficial and supportive India-Afghanistan ties do not stand in the way of Afghanistan’s ties with its other neighbours.
“We would wish Afghanistan to have close,friendly ties with all its neighbours and exercise full freedom of choice in this regard,” he said.
“India and the US must continue to work together constructively and transparently in ensuring that the end game in Afghanistan is played out smoothly,in Afghanistan’s best interest and without damaging the interests of its neighbours. All should emerge as winners,” he added.
Singh said India is committed to continuing its developmental aid to Afghanistan.