India’s ambassador to Qatar and a top Taliban leader met on Tuesday, hours after the full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Most importantly, India has formal talks with the Taliban for the first time. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself issued a statement telling what talks were held with the Taliban leader. What is the meaning of Indian diplomat’s talks with Taliban leader? Was this conversation limited to the issue of evacuation of Indians stranded in Afghanistan, as claimed by the MEA, or is it just the beginning of India’s recognition of the Taliban? Let’s understand.
On Tuesday, India’s Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal met one of the top Taliban leaders, Sher Muhammad Abbas Stankzai. The meeting took place at the Indian Embassy at the request of the Taliban. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, Ambassador Mittal bluntly told the Taliban that Afghanistan’s land should not be used in any way for anti-India and terrorist activities. The focus of the talks was on the safety of Indians stranded in Afghanistan and their early return to their homeland. Apart from this, India also asked the Taliban leader that Afghan citizens who want to come to India, especially minorities, should be allowed to come. The Taliban leader assured the ambassador that positive steps would be taken on these issues.
timing is very important
What is the meaning of the first formal talks between India and Taliban, it can be understood from the timing. It cannot be a coincidence that the meeting took place on the same day the US was to bid farewell to Afghanistan. However, US troops left Afghanistan on Monday, a day earlier. The US was operating the Kabul airport. This was in favor of India in terms of the rescue of Indians trapped in Afghanistan and New Delhi also rescued hundreds of people from there under ‘Operation Devi Shakti’. Apart from many Indians, Afghan Hindus and Sikhs are also trapped there. Now after America’s departure, only and only Taliban will operate at Kabul airport. He has also taken up the operations in his own hands. In such a situation, the meeting of the Indian Ambassador and the Taliban leader is seen to be an exercise to successfully carry out ‘Operation Devi Shakti’.
‘India’s sympathizers in the Taliban’ initiative
Another point of great importance is the meeting of the Indian Ambassador with the representative of the Taliban in Doha. The meeting took place at the request of the Taliban and the recent statements of the Taliban leader with whom he spoke give him the image of ‘India’s sympathizer’. Sher Muhammad Abbas Stankzai is counted among the top leaders of the Taliban. He has undergone military training at the Indian Military Academy (IMA). Stankzai has consistently advocated good relations with India. Recently he said that the Taliban wants to continue Afghanistan’s political, economic and cultural ties with India. Now on Stankzai’s initiative, India has spoken to him.
Will India recognize Taliban?
The last time in 1996, when the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan on the strength of power, India did not recognize it. Now the talks of the Indian Ambassador in Qatar with the Taliban leader, is there any indication that India will now hold talks with the Taliban without any hesitation? Is this the first step towards recognizing the Taliban? Taliban leader Stankzai, an advocate of friendship with India, also seems to be on the same mission that New Delhi recognizes the Taliban government in Afghanistan and reopens its embassies and consulates there. But India is in no hurry to take such an important decision. India is now following the policy of watch and wait. The government had said the same thing in an all-party meeting convened on the Afghanistan crisis.
India is worried about its interests in Afghanistan
India was openly engaged in the reconstruction of Afghanistan for the last two decades. Afghan Parliament Building, Salma Dam, 218 km long Zaranj-Delaram Highway, Afghanistan’s largest children’s hospital Indira Gandhi Institute for Child Health…all these are not just infrastructure projects but also gifts from India to a friend . Apart from these, India was also associated with many infrastructure projects. After the Taliban occupation of Afghanistan, the future of these heritage is in question. Apart from this, the fear has also increased that under the Taliban rule, terrorist organizations of Pakistan will now openly expand their camps in Afghanistan. This apprehension is deepening because Pakistan has a lot of influence over the Taliban and ISI will definitely use this influence for anti-India activities. In this way, Afghanistan can become the center of anti-India activities under Taliban rule. Due to this, terrorist activities can also increase in Jammu and Kashmir. India is concerned about the security of its interests in Afghanistan. However, Taliban has repeatedly tried to assure India by making statements that it will not allow its land to be used for activities against any other country.
The big dilemma before India is whether to recognize the Taliban or not. The Taliban is trying to show itself as liberal this time. Unlike 1996, this time without any bloodshed, he has taken over the power of Afghanistan because the Afghan forces did not put up any resistance. To protect India’s interests in Afghanistan, recognition of the Taliban does not appear to be a loss-making deal. India’s neighbors like Pakistan and China are capitalizing on the Afghanistan crisis and their closeness to the Taliban is well known. The Taliban in Kabul is no longer a ‘nightmare’ but a reality, so an option to protect Indian interests in Afghanistan is for New Delhi to recognize the Taliban. The government will also be seriously considering this. But this is not so easy. Recognizing the Taliban means giving legitimacy to a terrorist group that has a notorious past. Whose history has been of atrocities and malpractices against women, minorities.