A much needed essay comes from the eminent historian William Dalrymple at a time when the entire region is looking forward, with much anxiety, towards the withdrawal of American and NATO forces this year and the ramifications thereafter. What exactly is going to happen, nobody knows but one thing is sure that whatever is going to happen it is going to have consequences, not for the region or the players involved, but for the entire world.
The essay fills in necessary information to back the analysis concerning the future of all the countries of The Deadly Triangle. The changes that are taking place are in fact so rapid, that it leaves nothing but gamble dotting the course of foreign policies that India and Pakistan are going to follow. The withdrawal of American and NATO forces, the change of the Karzai’s government, coming of Modi government in India, signals of another internal conflict in Pakistan, the rise of Taliban, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan and most of all, the presence of China in Afghanistan. All of these are going to have their own effect in the geopolitics of the region in the time to come. It has led everyone to be tightly bounded to their own positions and forced them to wait to see where exactly the situation takes them to. As we quickly reach towards the designated time, one thing is for sure, it will take a major review of polices of countries involved and a fresh look at the situation, in order to defend the respective interests.
India has and is investing a lot in Afghanistan since a long time. And although 76% of Afghans have favorable view of India, it is still not much to neutralize Pakistan’s aim of creating “strategic depth”, a policy that it is surely not going to abandon, even if they choose to distance itself from it for the time till its internal situation stabilizes. One the other hand, the presence of China( even though it is still a business enterprise there but nevertheless they will influence the politics in the time to come) neutralizes Indian interests and the Indian policy to contain Pakistan from creating any misdeeds against its soil. I fear that Afghanistan may not become again another platform for proxy wars, this time even China getting involved in it.
India only wants peace in the region and it is only investing in Afghanistan for this sole aim. As the author rightly pointed out that India is and never was any threat for Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. India, as the world knows, is a peace loving country and the history is evident that it has gone to war only when the war has been thrusted upon it. This is the most crucial point that Pakistan Army must understand and internalize, for if they continue to follow the same policy what they have been following till now, it is never ending war.
And Afghans too must pay heed to where they are heading to. India would be very happy to leave Afghanistan to their own if it form itself into a stable, democratic and progressive country. Why do they even allow an “expansionist” China to muddle into their waters? Why cant they unite to have a stable polity at the center? Is Afghanistan has all remained to be a playground for proxy wars for a country like Pakistan or historically the Soviet Union or the US to use their population for their own interests and then throw them at will? Afghanistan was once a very progressive country. Now as the chapter of the American war( or whatever it was) against terrorism draws to a close, Afghans must look within and ardently realize that nobody is a friend in the international politics, that they must save their own home first, otherwise they will be continued to be abused for generations to come.
And lastly, Pakistan must understand that India is not and never will be a threat for them. The sooner they realize it, the better it will be for them. Being a large country and now a major player in international arena ,India may have a bit louder voice in the geopolitical region, but that does not mean that it is going to dictate the internal politics of any country. India loves democracy and respects sovereignty of any country and is firmly committed to it and only wants friendly ties and thriving trade with its neighbors so that prosperity abounds the region. I hope that not only the region but the world realizes this soon.