India fears for Afghanistan after NATO pullout

India called for greater coordination with the United States on Afghanistan, voicing fear that Islamic radicals would gain strength once Western forces pull out.

NATO leaders in a May 21 summit in Chicago committed to pulling combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 as Western nations grow tired of more than a decade of war and pessimistic on the chances of further progress.

India is one of the most vocal supporters of continued engagement and has given Afghanistan more than $2 billion since the US-led invasion in 2001 overthrew the Taliban regime, which sheltered virulently anti-Indian militants.

Ahead of high-level annual talks between India and the United States on June 13, Nirupama Rao, New Delhi's ambassador to Washington, said the two nations have been holding talks on building "a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan."

"These consultations must be strengthened," Rao said at the Atlantic Council, a think tank.

"We understand that after 10 long years of war there is a manifest and genuine desire to seek an end to conflict. But equally, we must ensure that the enormous sacrifices and efforts of the past decade have not been in vain," she said.

"Given the history of the last few decades in Afghanistan and the tide of extremism and radicalism that has swept across that country to the great detriment of its men, women and children, one cannot but help be concerned about what the future holds for that country" after the NATO pullout, she said.

India's involvement in Afghanistan has enraged neighboring Pakistan, which helped create the Taliban regime and accuses its historic rival of seeking to encircle it.

The United States partnered with Pakistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks. But relations have plummeted, with US concerns about Pakistan's orientation soaring after US forces found and killed Osama bin Laden near the country's main military academy last year.

The United States has welcomed India's contributions in Afghanistan but some US policymakers believe that Pakistani intelligence has maintained links to Islamic extremists due to a fixation on New Delhi's influence.

Yashwant Sinha, a lawmaker from India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, was blunter about fears on Afghanistan during a separate appearance in Washington at the Brookings Institution.

"I have great fears that Pakistan, for its own geopolitical reasons, might want to encourage Taliban to again take over Afghanistan," said Sinha, who served as foreign and finance minister when his right-leaning party was in power from 1998 to 2004.

Sinha said Afghanistan lacked a sufficient military -- or an anti-Taliban force, such as the Northern Alliance which enjoyed Indian, Iranian and Russian support before the war -- to withstand an assault.

"I don't see any local resistance building up immediately if the Taliban were to attempt to overrun Afghanistan," Sinha said.

"NATO has to stay the course in Afghanistan until we are absolutely confident that the Afghan army and the armed forces of Afghanistan are in a position to meet the Taliban threat," he said.

But opinion polls show that a majority of Americans want to end their country's longest war, with many US policymakers concluding that it is unrealistic to eliminate the Taliban through force.

US President Barack Obama and other Western leaders have vowed to support Afghanistan through military training and other assistance after the pullout of combat troops.

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna will travel to Washington for the June 13 annual dialogue, which is part of efforts by the world's two largest democracies to build closer relations.

India and the United States recently had a rift as Washington urged the import-dependent emerging economy to cut oil imports from Iran as a way to pressure Tehran over its contested nuclear program.

Despite initial unease, India has reduced Iranian imports. The United States is expected to announce in the coming weeks that it will exempt New Delhi from sanctions under a new law that punishes countries that do business with Iran.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR, BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early 70s …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during one …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …

  • Miriam pushes tougher graft law
    Miriam pushes tougher graft law

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that would make public officials liable for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act even if they are elected to a fresh term or a new position. In filing Senate Bill 2716, Santiago sought to address what she said was the doctrine of condonation in Philippine jurisprudence brought about by the 2010 case of Salumbides vs. Ombudsman. “By merely asserting the doctrine of condonation, erring elective officials are automatically given a …

  • Phl hits back at China over sea infra work
    Phl hits back at China over sea infra work

    The Philippines assailed China yesterday for contesting Manila’s planned repair and maintenance works on some islands in the West Philippine Sea, saying they are “in no way comparable” to the Asian power’s massive reclamation activities which are in violation of international laws. “The Philippines’ possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea, over which the Philippines rightfully exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options