'What has the impact of 40 years of warfare in Afghanistan been on us?'
'Afghanistan is marginal to India's future.'
"India is constantly reacting to cards that are being dealt with others. Our government's only focus is to win the next election," Dr Ajai Sahni, executive director, Institute for Conflict Management, tells Rediff.com Senior Contributor Rashme Sehgal.
We did build several strategic resources in Afghanistan.
The resources we built there now belong to the Taliban.
If we offer them more money, they will take more money from us.
If we offer them ten projects, China will outbid us and offer them a hundred.
If is a different matter that they (China) will outbid us and then mortgage them (Afghanistan) to perpeuity.
Does the Taliban have the wisdom and sagacity to resist them (the Chinese)? They will be as shortsighted as have been our neighbours including Sri Lanka, Mynamar and Pakistan.
India is constantly reacting to cards that are being dealt with others. We are always a part of other people's strategy because we are never decisive.
Our government's only focus is to win the next election. We are very good at that, but that genius does not extend to external affairs.
How come Pakistan has succeeded?
Because they had strategy. They took the bull by the horns and said we will do whatever we can.
Pakistan has adopted and sustained its strategic objectives irrespective of the harm it has accrued to itself for the last four decades. They have sustained their objectives relentlessly.
This is the essence of protracted war. You look at the weakness of your enemy and you go on increasing their weakness. Sustenance of the objective is the essence.
Are you saying this Taliban takeover will have no impact on the subcontinent.
I am not saying that. I am saying it will have no impact on terrorism in India.
Of course, it can have disastrous impact even for Pakistan.
The Durand Line (the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan) is not accepted by the Taliban who have objected to Pakistan having built a fence on the Durand Line.
They (The Taliban and Afghanistan) can even fight a war with them over that. But it is not enough to say this.
Can India initiate covert operations necessary to secure this objective?
Not tomorrow, not next year, maybe thirty years down the line.
These are the questions we should be asking.
Can we see the Taliban fighting to take back the Pakhtoon states of Afghanistan that were taken by the British and were inherited by Pakistan?
Now with these developments, the Haqqanis and Lashkar-e-Tayiba have got a fillip.
When they transfer that fillip into Indian territory, then we can talk about it.
They have got all the support possible from a secure State which is Pakistan, but were not able to harm us beyond a point.
How can help from an disorderly, impoverished State like the Taliban make them more secure? Are you telling me these groups did not have resources earlier?
Their cadre was being trained by the Pakistan army. Everything they needed, provisions and weapons they were received from the Pakistan army.
The Taliban over-ran Afghanistan by resources provided by the Pakistan army with their armed personnel wearing civilian clothes being part of that army.
How will events in Afghanistan impact India?
The Taliban is facing a lot of power struggles from within.
Something very drastic has happened in Afghanistan. It has not yet settled into a clear pattern.
We do not know whether the West will intervene in Afghanistan in a covert or overt manner in the future. This could work out either to our advantage or disadvantage.
Let me ask you a counter question.
What has the impact of 40 years of warfare in Afghanistan been on us?
Afghanistan is marginal to India's future. Our problems with Pakistan will continue to exist. The same with China.
In retrospect, non-alignment was a better policy for India.
Yes. Russia stood by us through our worst times. We are running after the US who has stood by nobody.
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com