90 thoughts on “Open thread: India must send troops to Afghanistan”

  1. I am not sure if this will help. Sending troops to Afganistan will increase Pak military-ISI apprehensions, which, in turn will be counter-productive to goal of removing terrorist from Af-Pak.

  2. Will have to consult with VishnuNDTV to understand if it characterises any fundamental threat to Indian muslims.

  3. I don’t think US needs Indian military presence. We may start training camps for Afghan youths& theGorkhas who are familiar with the terrain . The camps should be at Ladakh & Himachal.This will enable us to develop infrastructure in those areas. Simultaneously we can promote pilgrimage tourism in those areas.

  4. India must not send troops anywhere. Indeed it must withdraw its troops from Kashmir too. It is fruitless to go to Afghanistan because we are scared of the “purists”. And then the purists may well get angry and attack us in our own country and in the third country.

    But on a more pragmatic note, I think India must be there and create a sizeable presence in Afghanistan starting with non combat roles. I would go so far as saying even combat roles are a good idea.

    But does it make sense for India to be there with the US targeting the wrong guys? Unless the US is hunting the “right Taliban” what are we supposed to do there? This is important. If we are running after Mullah Omar and his ilk or chasing “the program sponsored by ISI” – surely yes – when that happens we have to be there.

    Also, sooner or later the US will cut and run and from then on, this is going to be our war – the sooner we learn these techniques the better for us.

  5. 26/11 India replied with restraint and nothing could have disappointed the terrorists more than that.Did we want retaliation by armed forces we should have done it then other than NSG.US is in aggressive discussions with Pak that we are aware and we should give it time for that evolve.The additional information on the 26/11 conspiracy is moving in directions we havent even earlier estimated.

    Af-Pak major constituent Pak’s reaction should be watched where people like Mr Rehman Mallick shouldn’t be given ammunition for propoganda to a set of citizens who are in extreme situation of pain.

  6. Two letters: NO.

    I could rant on and on about why, but the overriding reason is that we too will be fighting a war on two fronts (Pak and AfPak). We need to build capability for that before doing it.

  7. For the simple reason that we would have to rely on the US a lot, we should avoid sending our troops there.
    Only if the govt. can ascertain that Indian troops will not be perceived as foreign occupiers by the local population and that our troops are trained to practice restrain in foreign and unfamiliar territory, then it may not be a bad idea.

    On the other hand non-combative and developmental role seems to be doing us good and we should try and focus on enhancing it’s scope.

  8. My Friend Acron-

    My personnel take on this for the benefit of Indians is a BIG NO. Also as per my experience from Afghanistan for 5 years, I have got lot of opportunity to interact with different type of community and race descendent back in Kabul. In that most of the people doesn’t like foreign (Khariji) presence in their land. Even though a lot justify the Soviet invasion by pointing out some good developments, they personally don’t like them since they took advantage of abusing their women. Need to say some of their youth looks like them (Russian face). Forces interacting with locals have lead to such nefarious liaisons, irrespective of geography, through ages. If we tell this fact on their face you will in deep shit. They are very proud to be Afghan especially the pasthuns. Even though they understood the fact that Afghanistan is now become the public bathroom of the world, the fear that the Taliban return back when ISAF pack and go back make them not to agitate much. But they clearly knows that American war is for hegemony not for justice, and also they don’t like ISAF/NATO to interfere much in their political and private life. To say frankly they don’t like foreigners to come to their home. They know we have vested interest like US, British and other NATO countries. Deploying our forces cannot be a prudent measure to bolster our defensive posture to Pakistan from other side and as a deterrent to terrorism as you think. You never know what you are going to get; you are never sure whether the impending offering will deserve a standing ovation or stinking eggs. But you do know this — high drama is inevitable. It will be a disaster and we don’t want to repeat a Rajiv Gandhi situation and Srilankan crisis. I don’t think our nation is ready for that. I am not being defensive but to Pakistan I would say yes. Go up to Karachi and take them all but no Afghanistan is an option. When later after we send the troops the excuses were criticized and exposed as lies and fabrications, like the US sought to bribe in Iraq invasion, browbeat or beleaguer the opposition in the UN Security Council. When that failed, Washington decided not to seek UN approval but to go it alone, with its band of buddies..Later we accept this may be a misdemeanor, but it has greater ramifications than just being a misdemeanor.


    Titto Antony

  9. I keep getting flashbacks about the IPKF in Sri Lanka. The assumption here is that if Indian troops are stationed in Af, the US in fact will deploy its troops across the Durand line for extended periods. The US’s record in honouring any commitments of this kind (assuming that this is in fact a commitment) seems spotty to me. The Indian Army will end up getting the rough end of the stick, and besides, the usual suspects will ratchet up their campaign accusing the Indian Army of committing “Human Rights Abuses”. I don’t see this ending well either for the Indian Army or for India/Indians.

  10. I think it will be an interesting study, but if and when it happens, I believe that, alongside, India should ratchet up defence on the border and key installations. I’m pretty sure, that troops to Afghanistan will mean Pakistan will stage a terror attack somewhere within our borders.

    I am not really sure if this is a good move – i wonder if its been wargamed. Does it represent India opening another theatre, or does it represent India defending another theatre?

    As such, I am not really in favour of defending more theatres of war. I would vote for India aggressively pursuing opening new theatres of war though, with Pakistan – ones which make them feel the costs.

  11. The author is right in stating that a strong military presence in Afghanistan will reduce the impact of Pakistan in that region. There is, however, a problem. Once the U.S. troops withdraw from that region, our soldiers will be looked upon by both the locals and the jihadis as the ‘outsiders’. We will, then, be left alone to fight our own battles. With Pakistan keeping us busy on this side of the border, will we be able to tackle two different forces – the Afghans and the Pakistanis?

  12. No.

    Vishnu Som-ism dictates that sending troops into Afghanistan would be a fundamental threat to muslims in India.

  13. Waging war against people, while accommodating, even extolling, the ideology that enslaves and drives those people, is a sheer waste of precious human lives and limbs. It merely serves to keep the politicians and rulers in power on all sides of the border.

  14. NO
    India cannot become sepoy army of the US.
    Two big superpowers have lost in the ravines of Afpak – USSR and now US.
    Fighting someone elses war could be the unravelling of India

  15. First off, we’re very lucky the U.S. decided to stick it out in Afghanistan.

    We shouldn’t refrain from sending troops due to fears of terrorists attacks. The terrorist threat has and for the indefinite future will exist. Fear of Indian retaliation so close after 26/11 may actually have lowered the short term threat.

    Sending troops to Afghanistan should be dictated by US commitments to ensuring Afghanistan’s and India’s long term security. Primarily, by allowing the US to concentrate on the ENTIRE Jihadi complex in Pakistan.

    This however is all assuming we are even wanted in Afghanistan. Some in the U.S. are having trouble with our reconstruction aid. Would the US risk the support of over a 100k Pakistani forces for a likely much smaller indian deployment?

  16. I think India is better off not sending troops to fight in Afghanistan. For one it is primarily seen as a US-NATO war. They already have enough troops and artillery in there, and I doubt if an Indian presence will significantly affect the ground situation.

    Secondly the matter of Pakistani protests. While Sushant Singh makes a good case, I do not believe that the US can be trusted to help “restrict Pakistani antipathy to voluble complaints.” They may understand our concerns, but the greater ‘strategic importance’ of Pakistan will ultimately work to our disadvantage. It is not only distrust of US actions, but also the lack of Indian assertiveness on the global stage in matters of terrorism that bothers me.

    Thirdly, as regards Sushant Singh’s argument about the battle in Kashmir being a defensive one. I agree that unless terrorists in Af-Pak are destroyed, India cannot be truly secure. But, it makes more sense to me to have a good military presence on either side of the Af-Pak region, and squeeze and contain the enemy within that area. If sending troops to Afghanistan lessens our presence in J&K in any way, that would be more dangerous than not doing something about terrorists in the Afghanistan region.

    Fourthly, if we did send troops and failed in Afghanistan, what message would it send to the ISI/Pak army and the terrorists it breeds. Wouldn’t it diminish the deterrent value of our military forces?

    Instead, I think that our current policy of humanitarian assistance best suits Indian interests in the region. (I support it here.) The goodwill it creates will only help our long-term trade and diplomatic interests, and definitely send a message that we are there for a long-haul. While it seems like the safe way out, ensuring that we are perceived as the good guys irrespective of the outcome of the war, is in our national interests. India does not need any more enemies to its West than it already has.

    At the same time, India should continue training Afghan military and police forces. That could reduce pressure on US-NATO forces and help them concentrate on the fighting.

  17. It seems like a jolly adventure that would give me much vicarious joy. But I’m with Rational Fool on this one, the entire premise is to keep Karzai and his ilk in power – not a sustainable state of affairs. The sooner the Americans abandon the intellectual commitment to keeping a ‘democratic’ regime in power, the better.

  18. Nice article, Thanks for the link. I think the bottomline for India ought to be:

    1. Indian troops under Indian command
    2. India’s supply lines must not come under the influence of Pakistan or its allies. A corrollary of this is that India’s supply lines must be under the control of India and its allies, which leads to 3.
    3. Supply lines of the Indian troops must depend on India’s collaboration with Russia/CA states and Iran

    The article also points in this direction if I read it right — if it is true that the US plans to withdraw from the place in the medium term (3-4-6-7-10 years), the vacuum must not be filled by the taliban. It doesn’t matter if the taliban call themselves good, bad, or strawberry-flavoured. This is because only the taliban groups that have the support of the Pakistanis and ISI covert ops people will be brutal enough and motivated enough to fill up the vacuum as they roll it back to the bad days of the 90s.

  19. I write this in strong opposition to India sending her troops to the wasteland that Afghanistan is.

    This is a land that has humbled many and welcomed none. Why do we think Indian boots on the ground will fare any better? I have no interest in losing Indian lives in return for absolutely nothing.

    Best regards

  20. I think it would be disastrous for India to send troops to Afghanistan. How exactly would we benefit if we send troops to Af? After all, our enemies are in Pakistan, and fighting Taliban in Afghanistan is not going to improve anything (for us). In fact, that would only aggravate terrorism in India, as we would be attacked as proxy for the US, in addition to the “regular” attacks. I can scarce believe that the govt has any capability to prevent the potential widespread attacks in the future.

    Perhaps there are arguments in favor of India getting involved in the fight directly, but I think the risks are far to grave, and the benefits not substantial enough.

  21. India’s current role of nation building in Afghanisthan is the right direction — I am not suggesting India getting involved in any conflict among tribes. If the intent is to help the Afghan govt. get better control of its territory so that it does not have to depend on outsiders, then India is already working on that front.

    When it comes to sending troops, it is not helpful for India to be seen as getting involved in the conflict if the Pakistani army and ISI are still standing when the dust clears (and I would be against sending troops in that case) because that means a regression to instability is a given after the US has declared victory and left the place.

  22. Why? We have serious internal security problems, which will need a lot of resources. We have substantial other problems. Why get mired in a war in a distant battlefield without the capacity to maintain lines of supply and communication? Besides, Afghanistan is a trap, created unwittingly by the americans and the pakistanis. Let them get entangled in the mess they
    have created. We will also need our military if Pakistan disintegrates.

  23. A Big NO. it is better for India to continue to do what it is doing. providing infrastructure and huminatarian help to the Afghan people and in the meantime help train the Afghan police and Army and bringing them up to speed. sending Indian troops there is a bad, bad idea.

  24. Proposal to send troops to Afghanistan is excellent one. First of all..it will drive the threatre of conflict away from mainland India to Af-Pak. But care must be taken that our visibility should be as low as possible. Like no foot patrol thingies..We should be sending bearded commando units to strike stealthily on accurate intelligence..rather than regular troops..Some Ghatak elements of Rashtriya Rifles or Army’s Desert Rat commandos would do..Fighting battle hardened taliban on our terms will give our troops the much needed experience in future. Care must be taken that they should be send with enough sophisticated firearms and air-support..rather than becoming cannon fodder like IPKF mission in Lanka. Borrowing some UCAV like armed-Heron-TP from Israel would be an excellent idea to take out skilled Al-Qaeda IED/guerilla warfare experts and starve them of much needed skillset. But I dont think Manmohan Singh has the balls to do take a risky decision to send troops..wishing thinking..i guess..If we send troops..there will be every effort on part of pakis and chinkis to make this an unmitigated PR disaster..in that way..its a double-edged sword..but you got to take risks to get profit..

  25. Everyone understands that the red herring is Pakistan and the US for funding a terrorist country. Instead of sending troops to Afghan to take care of a sympton, isnt it better just to invade Pakistan, shut the ISI and be done with it.

    Yeah, yeah, they have noooooooooookes. They can bomb Dilli, Mooombai, Kol-catta, Bengalooooooooru. I know. But isnt it about time, we take care of the problem at the root instead of worrying about the symptoms.

    With no Pakistan, the Afghan problem will get solved (atleast the present crisis). Big Sister China is watching closely. Wonder what happens when it has no Pakistan to use.

  26. Any troops increase in Afghanistan, whether Indian or NATO, stand little chance of success because of the safe havens that the Jihadis have in Pakistan. A military success looks elusive.

    The main objective can then only be a ‘Denial of Pakistan’ and its strategic depth. I am not convinced that this alone warrants a presence in Afghanistan.

  27. Hi,

    First let me say that I’ve been a regular reader of your most excellent blog for a couple years now (through Google Reader). I have an amateurish interest in policy related issues (I am a Research Chemist by profession) but not much time to follow up on that interest. Your blog is one place I get a chance to indulge my interest. I find your analysis thoughtful and most of all pragmatic.

    I have long held the opinion that we should send troops, perhaps a contribution of 25-30000. The simplest reason justifying this is that we are building significant assets inside Afghanistan and have an economic investment, both of which need protection given the security environment there. Our troops might also be better positioned to control the interior regions of that country. This is one of the best ways for us to ensure the stability of that country and make sure it is never again used to stage attacks against us.

  28. Nitin,

    Thanks for this Open thread. Several excellent comments already.

    My view is that it would have been nice to have a military presence in Afghanistan, but right now, I don’t think we have the capability. We have a big task at hand on the Indo-Chinese border, and on the Pakistani border as well. The modernisation of our Armed Forces, is getting delayed and we are finding it tough to get enough good candidates for the Officers cadre. We must first address the issues making our Armed Forces and intelligence agencies less efficient than they ought to be.

    Secondly, we have internal security issues in terms of Maoist rebels, the sundry North Eastern rebel groups, and the question of Bangladeshi infiltration and demographic change in Assam and W.Bengal on a large scale.

    Thirdly, the Kashmir issue is far from any satisfactory resolution.I don’t mean a resolution with Pakistan, but the security of Indian Kashmir.

    I wish we had the resources to manage all these theatres simultaneously. But we don’t. It will be an unnecessary burden, not to speak of getting entangled in a mess, when the US decides to cut its losses and leave us there.

    Also, even if we send troops, there is no guarantee that the US will listen to us in terms of designing and implementing a solution for Af-Pak.We will just be treated as order takers, I am afraid.

    So, for all the above reasons, troop presence in Afghanistan is a big NO.

    However, we should increase our involvement w.r.t. reconstruction, trade, education and health care. And most importantly, help create a strong Afghan army, and train them well.

  29. I am surprised Sushant Singh wrote that article in 2008. Entire rational for deployment is off by seven years.

    Have we learned nothing from fighting Islamic terrorists in J&K? We sit and wait until they come to our side of the border. That’s exactly the situation in Afghanistan right now. The infrastructure and actual presence of terrorists are in Pakistan. Unless we became a semi-permanent, meaning 10-20 years, force with large deployment – just like the deployment in J&K – to slowly kill the terrorists by attrition, even as we train and develop Afghan Army infrastructure, any large scale deployment would be foolhardy.

    And then we will be dependent on US and more importantly, Iran, for deployment. What if one pulls out or other vetoes – do we still stay there or did we waste blood and treasure for nothing?

    Given the state of our economic development, our people will simply not fund a semi-permanent force.

    The way to do it is: keep US in Afghan and, with their acceptance, push from Pakistan’s eastern border, meaning attack Pakistan from our border, and squeeze the terrorists and infrastructure and clean up the mess. That’s the only way to clean up the region by force. Unless Pakistan cleans up its own act, India’s best options are (a) covert ops in Afghanistan (and in Pakistan), and (b) hope for the state of Pakistan to collapse enabling US to it clean up, with our active help. But the latter won’t happen as long as US keeps providing the state of Pakistan with aid and comfort.

  30. What a hare brained idea. We want to send troops to Afghanistan for what; to help the US. Remember the IPKF and what happened to it. This ‘Indian troops for Afghanistan’ idea was also floated in 2004 and lot of hot air created over it. Thank God the then govt decided against it. What will we gain out of it except give a perennial cause for Taliban, Al Qaida etc etc to target India.

    We must recall that only 3 countries have never been dominated by any outside power; China, Afghanistan and Abyssinia. The British, Russians and US have tried it and failed. Now we want to be a part of it. India will never be seen as a separate force in Afghanistan. It will be linked to the US occupation, invasion (call it what you will) and all wrongs of US will be linked to us also. Obama has already announced that US troops will withdraw by 2011. Of course they won’t go. The US will hold on to the central, secure and important parts of Afghanistan and there will be US advisors, security personnel etc there for several years. The countryside will be left to fend for itself and this is where India will find itself.

    What capacity will we go in as. Fighting as mercenaries under US flag? Part of NATO forces when we aren’t part of NATO? I would be willing to have another look at the idea if we were to go there under the UN flag but the US has spoiled the situation so bad that UN has pulled out all its staff from there and will not go in for at least another decade.

  31. There are two question which we must ask before answering the question.
    One, what is the objective behind troop deployment in Afghanistan? What we intend to achieve and if the need so arises, the duration for which Indian troops will be deployed?
    Two, do we have the requisite capabilities and logistics for effective troop deployment?

    Personally, as of today, I do not see any rationale for immediate troop deployment. It may complicate things for the ISAF and its on-going operations. At the same time, Indian policy makers need to appreciate the threat emanating from an unstable Afghanistan which would adversely impact India. Who can forget airline hijack episode in Kandahar and India’s helplessness? Who can forget the Embassy bombing of 2008 and 2009? Secondly, India must develop capabilities for rapid troop deployment and offensive action in hostile territory given the present and future geo-political requirements.

  32. I don’t see any clear objectives for such a troop deployment. Besides, if the deployment fails, it does not help in improving India’s security environment. If
    the deployment “succeeds” in a military sense, India is still left with the task of figuring out how to fill the resulting power vacuums. The idea that a military engagement would improve our security profile is not reasonable. It is far better to adopt a strategy of civilian engagement as we have been doing, while strengthening ourselves internally. Patience, and a waiting game is also a valid strategy in international affairs.

  33. Nitin,
    Here is what is going to happen if we do send troops:
    – Indian media dances around because new era of Indo-US collaboration opens up.
    – The US, in turn, makes a few noises saying we are closely “watching” how Pakistan spends our money
    – This of course makes everyone in India burst crackers and distribute sweets, “Oh look, the US _mentioned_ Pakistan _implying_ something _might_ be wrong!!”
    – Very next day, Obama declares that he has a roadmap for troop withdrawal from Pakistan
    – This of course, includes “outsourcing” the duty of policing the provinces of Afghanistan to Indian troops, by gradually increasing “collaboration” between the two countries.
    – Obama slips in a word or two in a speech that India is a “strategic partner”
    – More firecrackers, sweets, bollywood movies, of course
    – US moves out of the region in 2 years, leaving us in charge of more problems and a lot more hostile people

  34. I oppose any proposal to send Indian troops to Afghanistan. The costs are enormous, the gains very little.

    1) The IPKF experience still remains fresh in the mind.
    2) With an overt Indian presence in Afghanistan, Pakistan will feel even more uncomfortable than it already does. In response, it will likely escalate support to terrorism inside India.
    3) With India in Afghanistan, Pakistan can play the India card in refusing to intervene in the fight against the Taliban. It gives Pakistan a face-saving way out.
    4) Soldiers returning in body-bags will cause enormous political difficulties for the government. Depreciated political capital will hamstring the government in its ability to take decisive action elsewhere – such as in disinvestment.

    In all, the costs outweigh the benefits.

  35. India should sends its troops in Afghanistan but for a different reason. Pakistan derives all its nuisance value from being a traditional front line military ally of the US, and US is forced to take their side in all the contentious issues like Kashmir. By allying with the US in the war against terrorism India displaces Pakistan from that space and effectively leaves Pakistan without any leverage.

  36. Yes. We have to fight this war eventually. The gaze of jihad-military complex will inevitably turn towards India once US declares victory and goes home. We are better off fighting the war in their backyards rather that firefighting in ours. Yes, it will have enormous costs, which I doubt India is willing to pay for now, but we’re only procrastinating what will come knocking at our door. If the presence of Indian troops prolongs the US footprint in Afghanistan it’s worth it.

  37. @ socal

    Jehadis however motivated, are no match for a well trained Regular Army. USSR and US lost in Afghanistan and Vietnam because they were not fighting it in their own home, and regular military – read ISI, CIA and China were covertly aiding the guirillas. Present AF-Pak situation is different. Jehadis will eventually be subdued, like in Kashmir and Sri Lanka. But I’m afraid if Pakistan gets the credit for this inevitable eventuality, they are going to demand their piece of the pie – read Kashmir, from the US.

  38. sanjay wrote,
    “By allying with the US in the war against terrorism India displaces Pakistan from that space and effectively leaves Pakistan without any leverage.”

    The old Musharraf strategy that he executed on 9/12 (and we can see the results in Pakistan now) — it is fallacious to claim that Pakistan loses leverage if India takes up Pakistan’s sepoy role in US’s war. For example, once Indian troops are in Afghanisthan, both Pakistan and the USA have leverage on India, esp. if India is dependent on USA or Pakistan for its supply lines. That is why one of the bottomlines needs to be Indian control of its own supply lines via its allies in the region.

  39. 1. Anything short of the destruction of the terrorism-support structure (physical, financial, ideological) in Pakistan and Afghanistan is going to keep terror threats to India alive.

    2. The financial fight is to be fought in many countries, and across national boundaries. It is a fight that, I am sure, is already being fought actively by India.

    3. The ideological battle is going to be rather long, like it or not.

    4. That leaves us with the destruction of the physical infrastructure of terrorism – training camps, access to weapons, restricting terrorists’ freedom of movement etc.

    5. A lot of this destruction can be brought about by non-combat troops. The most obvious example is that of securing areas cleared from the influence of Taliban and other such groups to prevent them from returning. Security of key infrastructure (transport, communication, power etc.) is another. I do not see any harm in contributing troops for such tasks.

    6. Even without combat troops on the ground, India could contribute with non-combat personnel in a supporting capacity to free up American personnel from those roles.

    7. The bottom-line realization for India has to be that it is a war that must be fought. India can either fight it one Mumbai, Varanasi, Jaipur, Delhi, Bangalore etc. at a time, or it can fight it “over there” without letting up at home. Keep in mind that the battle at home is to be won or lost on the quality of intelligence agencies’ work in tandem with the strength of policing. Armed forces do not really enter the picture except for deployment at LOC (the settled international border in manned by BSF).

    8. I am going to sit on the fence on the question of using Indian forces in combat roles. I am not clear on the cost-benefit analysis of this.

  40. No to Indian troops in Afghanistan.

    1. Dont trust a votebank GOI to care about the Indian Army over its votebank.

    2. We dont have the same objectives or perceived interests in AfPak as the US. They have good vs. bad taliban, west attacking terrorists vs. Kashmiri freedom fighter militants, Taliban Vs. a ‘compliant’ Paki Army, ISI. We are too smart & its too close to home for us to make those false distinctions.

    3. Why fix something that aint broke? atleast for us. Talibs will either take over and invite direct US intervention in mainland Pakistan w/ nuclear neutering or will fail and keep the Paki Army busy for the foreseeable future. Either way works out for us.

    4. Even if the US leaves with an intact nuclear Pak & a client Taliban emirate, we can still deal with the terror hits as long as we have a nationalist govt.

    5. This will make IPKF look like a picnic. I can just picture beheading videos of Indian soldiers.

    Eventually Af will go back to being a Talib emirate & Pakistan will be destroyed, maybe even dismembered into a litter of post-pakistani non-nuclear states. This is all without our intervention, why mess with the Good Lord’s plans? Vinashaya cha dushkritam.

  41. @ SR Murthy,

    >> “it is fallacious to claim that Pakistan loses leverage if India takes up Pakistan’s sepoy role in US’s war.”

    it is fallacious to claim it as US’s war, India has a stake too. We can’t expect US to clean up the Jehadi mess for us, just because we are a peace loving people, even if THEY created this mess.

    US wants somebody to remove this Global Migraine. If India doesn’t do it Pakistan will. Even LTTE was considered invincible. And don’t worry about supply lines, that is not an insurmountable issue. The real issue is absence of any strategic thinking at the level required in India.

  42. “it is fallacious to claim it as US’s war, India has a stake too. We can’t expect US to clean up the Jehadi mess for us, just because we are a peace loving people, even if THEY created this mess.”

    I have already stated India has a stake. So why exactly can’t we expect the US to “clean up its jihadi mess”? All they really have to do is take the Pakistani army and ISI to task and they will be able stabilize Af-Pak for a far lesser cost than now. But the USA has NO INTENTION of doing such a thing, and that is not in India’s interest.

    Any rhetoric about “it is our war”, “they need our help”, “our superpowerness is growing more turgid by the day” etc. is just rhetoric. Any recommendation to send troops to Af-Pak must have the following clearly stated:

    1. What is the “end objective”? That is, if someone asked the person in charge of Af-Pak “Are we there yet” a year from now, how would that person in charge have to define “there” so that one fine day it is clear to everyone involved that the time to bring back the deployed troops is upon them.

    2. How is India going to build capabilities in Iran, Central Asia and other area for a stable supply line — this need not be a military supply line, but just a civilian supply line. Surely if India’s troops depend on the goodwill of Pakistan, USA, or China, then India would have to compromise on its goals in order to continue the cooperation. India’s options are reduced not increases, which is usually not a good sign.

    3. What are the end goals of each of these “allies” who are working in Af-Pak? Do those end goals include the termination of the Pakistani Military and ISI’s terrormongering in the region once and for all? If not, why should India care about a war that leaves its enemies stronger?

    4. How is India going to pay for all this?

  43. Hi,

    Since it already has to defend Kashmir against Pakistan defend Arunachal Pradesh against China (and various local guerillas) and may soon be involved in actively fighting the Naxalites, India’s army is probably overextended as it is. Adding a new front in Afghanistan seems unwise.

    Indian troops sent into Afghanistan would have to depend on a supply line through Iran. How much does India want to bet on the stability of the Iranian regime.

    Finally, it seems to me as a US citizen that the US will simply exploit India, if it decides to do this, by handing the mess in Afghanistan over to India. India is, after all, much preferable to the Taliban and there are a fair number of people in US who are ready to pull out, even if this means that the Taliban take over Afghanistan.

    This doesn’t mean that India shouldn’t send troops to Afghanistan, necessarily, but there are strong reasons to be cautious.

    There is a separate issue that in the US, the fight is increasingly being seen as centered in Pakistan. After all Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan, a fair number of nukes are in Pakistan, and there seems to be no shortage of suicidal terrorists in Pakistan. The US elite has a very strong prejudice against ideas not invented here, and if the US welcomes Indian troops into Afghanistan Pakistan will not be amused. So the US, for all I know, is actually against India sending troops to Afghanistan.

    India should do what the Indians want it to do, but there are strong reasons for caution.


  44. >> So why exactly can’t we expect the US to “clean up its jihadi mess”? All they really have to do is take the Pakistani army and ISI to task and they will be able stabilize Af-Pak for a far lesser cost than now.

    The carrot and stick policy US is using with Pakistan is well known but US knows that Pakistani Army has its limitations, chances are that it may turn into a civil war which would be much worse than the “Jehadi Mess” they started with.

    >> Any rhetoric about “it is our war”, “they need our help”, “our superpowerness is growing more turgid by the day” etc. is just rhetoric.

    Ideological notions like “it is their mess, we have nothing to do with it”, have no place in realpolitik. World opinion (read US veto) on issues like Kashmir, is up for sale to the county which saves its day, “you scratch my back i’ll scratch your’s”, simple. Infact the rewards will go beyond “K”.

  45. R.Turney wrote:
    “”The carrot and stick policy US is using with Pakistan is well known but US knows that Pakistani Army has its limitations, chances are that it may turn into a civil war which would be much worse than the “Jehadi Mess” they started with.”

    And the Pakistani army’s “limitation” is that it won’t shut down its terror camps, and Indians are supposed to buy that line? “Pakistan has its limitations” is an unacceptable excuse for winking at Pakistan’s refusal to clean up its own mess and trying to rope in other suckers to foot the bill.

    And the claim “A civil war would be worse than the jihadi mess” is a little vague….worse for whom? Please recall that the jihadi-infested Pakistani military is already pointing its nukes at India and all Pakistani terrorist camps run by the ISI/PA focus their attention on India….the situation can’t get any worse for India, but it sure can get a whole lot worse for the rest of the players who would like the Pakistanis to focus their terrorist attentions towards India alone.

  46. R. Turney writes:
    “World opinion (read US veto) on issues like Kashmir, is up for sale to the county which saves its day”

    I see, and “world opinion” and realpolitik are related in what sense?

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