The relation between India and Afghanistan dates back to the post independence period. Both Government of India and Royal government of Afghanistan have happily signed the Treaty of Friendship in 1950.
In 1996, the capture of Kabul by Taliban have posed serious threat to the Indian interests and influence in Afghanistan. Hijacking of IC flight 814 and followed landings in Kandahar, Afghanistan added fuel to the existing disturbances between India and Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The U.S have shown it’s heroic characteristics in it’s invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 when it ousted Taliban from Afghanistan. The situation is saved for India. This gave vaccum for the India to regain its influence in Afghanistan and made investments worth over $3 billon. From then onwards economic and defense ties have cemented between India and Afghanistan.
Current situation in Afghanistan:
The withdrawal of U.S troops from Afghanistan base gave an opportunity for Taliban to bag more territories under its control. Over third of Afghanistan which tantamount to more than 400 districts have came under Taliban control.
Is this gonna be headache to India?
Yes of course it is. As India made huge investments in Afghanistan, there is a need for India to be concerned about the political situation in Afghanistan.
About the talk-to-the-Taliban option:
Considering the investments made in Afghan, it is necessary for India to count all it’s stakeholders. As Taliban powers have accentuated with the withdrawal of U.S troops, India should think about the talks with Taliban in order to safeguard it’s interests.
India should develop stronger ties with Taliban as anything less than that would give more space to occupy for Pakistan which pose threat to India’s internal security.
Taliban was also in desperate need of recognition in international community. So the chances for Taliban welcoming India’s partnership are more likely.
As Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan are competing to portray themselves as shapers of Afghanistan’s political and geopolitical destiny, India cannot be the odd one out in this regard.
The proactive approach would aid India open up the congested north-western frontier,proceed for back channel talks with Pakistan, to give way for India’s continental strategy.
India talks with Taliban shouldn’t dilute the existing cordial relationship between India and Afghanistan.
India should shed it’s inhibitions and replace the hesitant and indulge in open talks with Taliban instead of doing backchannel talks.
Taliban even in a desperate need for recognition in international community so it is obvious that Taliban would be intrigued to have more global partners.
India should adopt a layered approach in dealing with the issues in Afghanistan. Safeguarding India’s interests should be short term goal while finding a solution for political situation in Afghanistan being the long term goal.
India should be the part of unfolding great game in and around Afghanistan.
Non-engagement with Taliban would do more harm than good. The talk-to-the-Taliban is indeed the best of the many less than perfect options available to India. Any step taken in the direction of developing talks with Taliban is welcoming in both strategic and economic sense.