How India changed its gameplan on tackling the Taliban in Afghanistan

India has played a significant role in capacity building in Afghanistan. In a significant development, it has been invited to witness the peace deal that will be signed between the US and Taliban on February 29 in Qatar. 

Let's take a look at India's relation with the Taliban:

A peace deal is in place for Afghanistan but peace still seems to elude the war torn nation

While external stakeholders have long been directing Afghanistan's policy and shaping its landscape, an internal crisis threatens to overshadow the faint glimmer of hope.

Afghanistan's President-elect Ashraf Ghani and opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah decided to hold separate swearing-in ceremonies on Monday as the two failed to reach an agreement.

Ghani took oath as president for the second time at the presidential palace in the presence of top NATO allies including US special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad.

Both Ghani and Abdullah had earlier postponed the swearing-in but later decided to go ahead.

Zalmay Khalilzad had failed to strike a deal with the two factions throwing the political process into turmoil.

Meanwhile, Abdullah Abdullah took oath at the Sapedar Palace.

(Photograph:AFP)

Major departure

India announced that they are there at a "non-official" level and that was a major departure from India's gameplan in the war-torn country.

(Photograph:AFP)

India's failed alliance with the Afghan communists alongside the Soviet Union

In the 1980s, India formed a failed alliance with the Afghan communists alongside the Soviet Union.

A similar futile effort was made in the 1990s. It was backed by the so-called northern alliance with support from Iran and Russia.

This alliance fought a defensive war against the Taliban government-backed by Pakistan which ended with the US invasion and its own dissolution.

(Photograph:AFP)

Taliban

India has always refused to engage or negotiate with the Taliban.

In the past, for strategic purposes, India sided with other forces.
 

(Photograph:ANI)

Failed alliance

In the 1980s, India formed a failed alliance with the Afghan communists alongside the Soviet Union.

A similar futile effort was made in the 1990s. It was backed by the so-called northern alliance with support from Iran and Russia.

This alliance fought a defensive war against the Taliban government backed by Pakistan which ended with the US invasion and its own dissolution.

(Photograph:AFP)

Sizeable developmental

Since 2001, under the security umbrella of US-led Nato forces, India has built a sizeable developmental and considerable intelligence footprint.

(Photograph:AFP)

In November 2018, Indian representatives were at the Afghan peace conference

The Indian government had sent two retired diplomats former envoy to Kabul, Amar Sinha and former High Commissioner to Pakistan, T.C.A. Raghavan.

They represented New Delhi at the Moscow talks.

India announced that they are there at a "non-official" level and that was a major departure from India's gameplan in the war-torn country.

(Photograph:AFP)

Even though India is not involved directly in the so called peace deal, it has its own interests in Afghanistan

India wants peace. It does not want Afghan soil to be a breeding ground for anti-India terror.

The Ashraf Ghani led government has been a friend to India while Taliban has promised to not allow terror activities on Afghan soil that remains a promise in thin air.

India would do well to keep a close watch on these developments.

(Photograph:AFP)