October 22, 2012

US seal on India’s key role in rebuilding Afghanistan

The 218 km road connecting Zaranj on the Afghan-Iran border to Delaram on the main Herat-Kandahar Highway at an estimated cost of $150 million and 130 lives was clearly meant to be one of most expensive and visible symbols of India’s commitment to Afghanistan’s reconstruction. The road was completed in 2009. Within two years, Maulavi Abdul Rasheed, the provincial head Taliban effectively took control of this road link, which in turn allowed him to dominate the entire Nimroz province. With negligible NATO/ISAF relationship with Iran, the highway was of  little use to the US and its allies. Their personnel, concentrated in the two towns, Zaranj and Delaram, are largely serviced by the airfields in both cities.

The Zaranaj-Delaram misadventure should be instructive to those who seek India’s “return to the center stage in Afghanistan after being relegated to the sidelines for two years.”  
Rajesh Kadian

US seal on India’s key role in rebuilding Afghanistan

TNN | Oct 20, 2012, 08.40PM IST

NEW DELHI: India built the Zaranj-Delaram road connecting Afghanistan to Iran in 2008. Four years later, India is being courted to replicate the successful project to connect Afghanistan to its other Central Asian neighbours like Turkmenistan, Tajikistan etc.

India is returning to centerstage in Afghanistan. Two years after being relegated to the sidelines, India is clawing her way back to relevance.

As the US prepares to draw down in Afghanistan, India is emerging as Afghanistan's key ally. The tide turned decisively with the first trilateral meeting between Afghanistan, India and US in New York last week. Jawed Ludin, Afghanistan's deputy foreign minister, led the proceedings. For the first time, Indian, US and Afghan officials sat together to discuss Afghanistan's future. The meetings, held at the Afghan mission in New York, were under the radar and didn't attract the attention of Pakistan, which is wary of the trilateral arrangement.

In an unpublicized statement that laid out the contours of the cooperation, Ludin said the trilateral "marks the beginning of a series of consultations among our three governments... who have pledged to work together on common challenges and opportunities including combating terrorism and violent extremism... increasing regional trade, investment and integration."

Indian and US officials agree that continuing to help Afghanistan's economic development is a top priority. The first area, where all three would be working together, would be in mineral resources — an Indian consortium secured the Hajigak mines' exploration, and Indian firms are looking at getting more mineral rights. Equally, India would be looking for US' technical help in these ventures. The second sector will be in connectivity — all three nations are investing in creating roads and rail networks to embed Afghanistan in the regional trade and transit networks. India and the US believe this is the way to save Afghanistan from becoming a haven for extremism.

The trilateral, say sources, is a testimony to the roots that India has struck in Afghanistan over the past decade. Significantly, it shows the distance the US has traveled on the Af-Pak front. Not so long ago, US officials preferred to ignore India's work in Afghanistan as they talked up Pakistan's importance. Pakistan's rants about Indian consulates prompted much US questioning of New Delhi's intentions there, and there was general rejection of any suggestion to have an Indian presence in the security sector.

India laboured on solitarily, because in the policy establishment in New Delhi, there was a conviction that Afghanistan's stability is crucial to national security. India's economic and development programmes have yielded rich dividends. Hamid Karzai, regularly vilified by the West for being corrupt and venal, has received unqualified support from India. It wasn't a coincidence that the first strategic partnership agreement was signed with India, with others following afterwards. But as Pakistan's relations with the US have dived, and its connections with the Haqqani Network are there for all to see, the US heeded Afghan insistence and turned to India. After getting the contract to develop the Hajigak iron ore mines, a consortium of Indian companies is hoping to win a bid to mine copper and gold in the country.

The trilateral plans also point to something else — the US is not going to uproot its presence from Afghanistan any time soon. They will dominate the security sector, not merely to degrade Talibanbut to try to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a haven of terrorists again. William Burns, US Deputy Secretary of State, told TOI, "The US commitment to stability in Afghanistan doesn't end in 2014. We all learned from the mistakes that followed the Soviet exit from Afghanistan. That's exactly why the US entered into a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan similar to the Strategic Partnership Agreement which India has entered into with Afghanistan." 


Anonymous said...

Rіght now it sеems liκe Wordpresѕ is the prefегreԁ blogging ρlatform out therе right noω.

(frоm ωhat I've read) Is that what you're usіng оn yοur blog?

Μy wеbsіtе ... http://www.sfgate.com/business/prweb/article/V2-Cigs-Review-Authentic-Smoking-Experience-or-4075176.Php

Anonymous said...

This scan tool deal costs around $a hundred and fifty. It backlinks to your car's OBD 2 diagnostic port, which is less than the dashboard.

Also visit my weblog :: obd logger