- India has spelt out its three new “red lines” which will be India’s new mantras for a peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
Background: India’s stand on Afghanistan
- India was among the countries that had refused to recognise the Taliban regime of 1996-2001, as Taliban’s growth in Afghanistan was being driven by Pakistan’s army and the ISI.
- In 2010 London conference, India had then said that it is for the elected government of Afghanistan to draw the “red lines” or lay down terms and conditions for negotiating with the Taliban. The Afghan government had stated that the Taliban must accept the Afghan Constitution, renounce violence and sever all ties with al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations.
- With the negotiation process happening between world powers and Taliban over Afghanistan, India has been trying to figure out its new “red lines”.
- The new red lines recently declared are seen to be more realistic and in sync with the current situation.
The Three News Red Lines declared by India:
- All initiatives and processes must include all sections of the Afghan society, including the legitimately elected government.
- In the past, the Afghan government was often sidelined by international interlocutors when they engaged with the Taliban.
- Any process should respect the constitutional legacy and political mandatee. establishing democratic processes and human rights, including women’s rights, should be respected.
- Any process should not lead to any ungoverned spaces where terrorists and their proxies can relocate.
- This is crucial for India, as it points out the threat from terrorist groups including the Haqqani network, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, which must not be allowed to operate there.
- Also, the Pakistan-based terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and Jaish-e-Mohammed must not be allowed to relocate.
The Afghanistan Peace Process:
The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process – 2011
- This region-led dialogue was established to provide a platform to discuss regional issues, particularly encouraging security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbours.
- The process has 3 pillars:
- Political Consultation
- Confidence Building Measures(CBM), and
- cooperation with regional organizations.
- India is the lead country for trade, commerce and investment CBM. The United States and over 20 other nations and organizations serve as “supporting nations” to the process.
Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation: 2017
- The Afghan government re-launched the Kabul Process for Peace and Security in Afghanistan in June 2017.
- The principal purpose of the process is to ensure an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, inclusive peace process to address the multiple dimensions of ongoing war and violence in Afghanistan.
- The key purpose of which is to engage in unconditional, direct talks with the Taliban.
- The peace strategy aims to separate reconcilable Taliban insurgents from transnational terrorist networks.
Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan: March 2018
- After the failure of Kabul Process, Tashkent Conference was launched in March 2018.
- The ‘Tashkent Declaration’ issued at the conference called upon the Taliban to accept offer for a peace process that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and is in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
Moscow Format: November 2018
- It is the Russian initiative to find a regional solution to the protracted Afghan war.
- In this format talks were held between twelve nations and Taliban.
- In a significant departure from India’s stand on engaging the Taliban, India also shared a table with the Taliban for the first time, sending two former senior diplomats to attend talks on the Afghanistan peace process held in Russia.
Geneva Conference on Afghanistan: November 2018
- This was held on 27-28 November 2018
- The goal of the conference was to show the solidarity of the international community with the Afghan people and the government in their efforts for peace and prosperity; and for the Afghan government to renew its commitment to development and reform.
Why Afghanistan is important to India?
- Regional Balance of Power: Afghanistan is tied to India’s vision of being a regional leader and a great power, coupled with its competition with China over resources and its need to counter Pakistani influence.
- India’s ability to mentor a nascent democracy will go a long way to demonstrate to the world that India is indeed a major power, especially a responsible one.
- India’s interest in Afghanistan relates to its need to reduce Pakistani influence in the region.
- Energy Security : The pipeline project TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India), which seeks to connect an energy-rich Central to South Asia, will only see the light of the day if stability is established in Afghanistan
- Strategic Location: For access to the landlocked Central Asian countries that border Afghanistan.
- Natural Resources: The country is home to resource deposits worth one trillion dollars, according to the US Geological Survey.
- Regional Security: A stable Afghanistan is important for regional security in South Asia including India.