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EditorialsEditorial: Blunt message to Pakistan

Editorial: Blunt message to Pakistan

Published: 12th Nov 2021 12:25 am

By taking the initiative to host a regional conference on the Afghanistan situation, India has successfully demonstrated that it is a stabilising force in the region, unlike Pakistan which has been playing a negative role. The ‘Delhi Declaration’, a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting attended by National Security Advisers of seven countries, sets out clear red lines on the security situation in the war-ravaged country. It warned against “interference from outside powers”, a hit to Islamabad whose role in facilitating the Taliban takeover and in deciding the composition of the new government in Kabul is well known to the international community. It came as no surprise that Pakistan and its all-weather ally China stayed away from the conference chaired by India’s NSA Ajit Doval. Significantly, this was the first regional security dialogue on Afghanistan that was attended by all central Asian countries and the enthusiastic response was a manifestation of the importance attached to India’s role in regional efforts to promote peace and security in Afghanistan. As a serious humanitarian crisis is looming large over the war-torn nation, the regional conference has rightly called for ensuring an open and genuinely inclusive government in Kabul that represents the will of all the people of Afghanistan. The Delhi Declaration has sent out a strong message that Afghanistan should not allow safe havens for terror on its soil. So far, the Taliban regime, whose composition bears a strong imprint of the Pakistani ISI, has refused to give representation to minorities and women. In its 30-member cabinet, 17 are on the United Nations list of sanctioned terrorists.

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There is a need for collective cooperation against the menace of radicalisation, extremism and drug trafficking in the region. It must be ensured that Afghanistan’s territory should not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing any terrorist acts. The central Asian countries, especially those which share a land border with Afghanistan, like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are worried over a spillover into their territories. India too prefers a stable Afghanistan that is impervious to the machinations of terror groups, particularly those encouraged and nurtured by Pakistan’s military establishment. Islamabad is already under the radar of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global anti-terror watchdog, for terror financing and money laundering. Most countries in the region view Pakistan as the source of the problem in Afghanistan. In fact, they point out that it was Islamabad that had sheltered the Taliban and given them safe harbour while the war on terror was on. Given the trust deficit between Pakistan’s words and actions, India has an important role to play in furthering the process of coordination among the regional players to ensure peace and stability. The Delhi meeting provided an opportunity for India to play a key role in deciding the future course of action in Afghanistan.

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