India’s pet enmity

Though not specifically mentioning any country, Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna called upon Afghanistan not to let an “outside” role be played in the process of restoring peace in the country. At a joint press conference held with his Afghan counterpart Zalmay Rasool at Kabul on Sunday, he elicited Mr Rasool’s endorsement of his point of view. The Afghan Foreign Minister said that the reconciliation process was firmly in the hands of Kabul and that no outside role was being allowed. It should be clear that Mr Krishna’s warning against an “outside” role did not refer to the US and Western allies. He obviously had Pakistan in mind, which is India’s bête noire, and the so-called Taliban, who, in actual fact, are no others than the country’s majority Pashtuns.On both these counts – Pakistan and the Taliban – however, New Delhi is deliberately and vainly trying to ignore a fundamental reality. By any reckoning, a peaceful Afghanistan is of vital importance to Islamabad. And no reconciliation process that intends bringing an enduring peace to the country could succeed without its active input. The Pashtun population straddles the Pak-Afghan border, with the Pakistani side even containing a larger number of them. They have family relations with one another, and keep exchanging frequent visits. That leaves little doubt about Pakistan getting inevitably involved in any future dispensation for Afghanistan. Denying the Taliban (Pashtuns) any role in the reconciliation process would be a self-defeating exercise. Unless Pashtuns get engaged in designing the framework of future Afghanistan and get their due share in running the affairs of the state, peace would remain a grand illusion – Nation