Will India negotiate with the Taliban, a terror group sponsored by Pakistan, according to Delhi, and which India has fiercely opposed so-far? The US has shown signs to negotiate with the Taliban and sought the assistance of Pakistan to deal with the Taliban. With India pushed into a corner, will India engage the Taliban leadership?
For India, the recent developments in Afghanistan is a major worry. India was quite happy that Donald Trump was talking tough to Pakistan and that under him the US had even denied military assistance to Pakistan worth approximately $2.5 billion.
Donald Trump’s letter to Imran Khan seeking support to negotiate with the Taliban has raised concerns in India. Recently, in Moscow, Russia hosted the Afghanistan Peace Conference where it invited 11 countries including India, Pakistan, China and Iran. The Taliban were the “key invitees” to discuss the future of Afghanistan.
While the Afghan government was not represented, members of the Afghan Peace Council did attend the Moscow meet. The High Peace Council was created during the tenure of former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and its main objective is outreach to the Taliban.
India has maintained a policy of not making a distinction between a good or bad Taliban and “broadly maintain that the Taliban is a terrorist organization. However, experts that EurAsian Times talked to state that the Taliban will have to be made a part of the peace process in Afghanistan.
For India, this is a huge source of worry for it has publicly maintained for years now that it will not engage in talks with the Taliban, and even the “good” Taliban and the “bad” Taliban distinction that much of the world is now willing to buy in, India is in no mood to do so.
However, the fact that India did send its former diplomats and make its presence felt at the Moscow Format is the first indication that New Delhi might have to accept the Taliban and re-evaluate its Afghan strategy.