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Casey, you needn’t have worried
US says India should assist Afghanistan; they’re clearly a few years late

Recently, the US defence chief, George W. Casey had said that India has an important role to play in Afghanistan despite historic tensions with Pakistan. Casey also stressed on India’s role in Afghanistan development and further asked India to help them in building Afghanistan through India’s strategic leadership and support.

Casey needn’t have worried. India already knew its role. India usually has enjoyed good relations with the Afghan government. India had supported successive governments in Afghanistan till early 90s (before the takeover by Talibani militia). It also supported the Afghan Northern Alliance (the force against the Taliban). India, not so long ago, during 2005, after the visit of President Hamid Karzai (a passout from an Indian university), assisted the Afghan government with $650 million aid and also with construction of roads and training of police force. While in 2007 India approved Rs.7.5 billion as support for Afghan road construction, in January 2009 the figure was an additional $1.1 billion.

India knows that its diplomatic intervention in Afghan’s politics and economy will not only allow it access to energy-rich central Asian states such as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, but also will strengthen diplomatic ties with the US per se. This will not only secure India’s energy needs but will also allow India to check unauthorized insurgency at large. Pakistan clearly doesn’t appreciate that and has started crossing swords with India on its increasing Afghan presence.

Of critical importance here is the fact that India should not be seen as the one and all fighter for the Afghan cause, which could well precipitate the issue of global terrorists initiating attacks against India! Till now, with clever diplomacy, India has stayed out of such issues and has only ventured financially. One suspects Mr. George Casey wants something more...

By:- Sray Agarwal

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