Monday, January 18, 2021

Will India Extend Defence Cooperation to Afghanistan To Crush ISIS Militants?

After a suicide attack by the Islamic State turned a wedding affair into a deathbed in Kabul, the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani has pledged to take the ISIS head-on. The Afghan President following a loss of more than 60 lives in the Saturday blasts has stated that all safe havens of the Islamic State will be eliminated.

The gruesome suicide attack happened during a wedding reception of a young couple from the Shia Hazara community. While 63 people lost their lives in the attack, more than 180 were left wounded. President Ashraf Ghani while announcing the government’s pledge to crush the ISIS also urged upon the international community to extend cooperation.

Will India help Afghanistan to eliminate the ISIS?

India has been a strategic partner of Afghanistan over the past decade and has been investing heavily in development projects in Afghanistan. India sees Afghanistan as a key ally to maintain the regional balance of power and also to counter the expanse of Chinese and Pakistani influence.

63 Wedding Guests Killed, 180+ Injured In One Of The Biggest Terror Attacks In Afghanistan

But will India participate in this endeavour of Afghanistan too? Will India become a strategic defence partner to Afghanistan in order to crush the ISIS?

In the last year or so, the ISIS has shown a paradigm shift in its targets. While the ISIS was limited to Western Asia for years, the recent blasts in Sri Lanka show a shift of strategy in the operations of the Islamic State.

ISIS Being Shifted To Afghanistan To Target Central Asian Nations: Tajikistan President

Having lost its grip on Syria and Iraq, the ISIS is now keen to make its presence feel in Central and Southern Asia. Even experts believe that India, Turkey, Afghanistan and other nations in Central and South Asia could well be the next targets of the Islamic State.

For the threat is common to all these nations, so should be their collective efforts to resist the development of ISIS strongholds on their soil. It’s time that India-Afghanistan should not take a step ahead from economic cooperation and seek deeper cooperation in defence and security to which ISIS is a common threat.

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