Indo-Afghan nexus for alienating Pakistan dash to ground

Indo-Afghan nexus for alienating Pakistan dash to ground

ISLAMABAD: (APP) The Indo-Afghan overtures to isolate Pakistan at Heart of Asia Conference in New Delhi dashed to ground when key participants like China, Russia and Iran gave a cold shoulder to plethora of allegations against Pakistan in the name of cross-border terrorism.

The Indo-Afghan nexus failed to persuade key participants to buy their ideas for blemishing Pakistan after Pakistan's positive and constructive diplomacy in the region and beyond earned appreciation that has also been felt by some key former diplomats within India.

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Iran's offer to mediate on Kashir issue, China's policy of supporting Pakistan as well as Russia's overtures to Pakistan suggest that isolating Pakistan on terrorism still remains a major challenge, remarked Kanwal Sibal, a former Foreign Secretary in his recently published article.

"What prompted Kabulov to disapprove of India and Afghanistan scoring 'brownie points' against Pakistan at Amritsar is difficult to comprehend," Sibal said about Russian diplomat representing his country in the Heart of Asia Conference.

"Drawing pointed attention to as serious a question as Pakistan's involvement in terrorism in India and Afghanistan is not intended to gain empty diplomatic advantage, as Kabulov seems to believe," Sibal noted.

He said that one understands that at the conference itself, Kabulov belittled the Heart of Asia process as 'supplementary', presumably to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization where Russia and China would steer matters to the exclusion of US and others.

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Aghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tried to allege Pakistan of cross-border terrorism. But his ideas could not be bought by participants as a day before the Amritsar conference, Iran's Foreign Minister underlined at an event in Delhi his country's excellent relations with Pakistan and offered to mediate on Kashmir if asked.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also indirectly targeted Pakistan for spawning terrorism in the whole region, but the impact of India's denunciations is diluted by perceptions that Pakistan's abetment of terrorism is linked to the unresolved issue of Kashmir and the human rights situation there on which there is traditional Western prejudice against India.

The Afghan president's upbraiding of Pakistan on terrorism is not affected by any preconceptions. Ghani was unbothered that taking Pakistan to task in a conference in India might add grist to Islamabad's propaganda about India and Afghanistan colluding against Pakistan's security, a claim that Islamabad makes to justify its intervention in Kabul's internal affairs.

In the light of Modi's comments about Balochistan, Pakistan's paranoia about the fortification of India-Afghanistan strategic understandings is bound to increase while Ghani's spirited attack on Pakistan also disregarded the strengthening China-Pakistan axis, even as he seeks greater Chinese investments in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Russian Presidential envoy would normally have been expected to be sensitive to the concerns of both countries on terrorism, given Russia's own experience with that menace and its decision to combat such forces in Syria militarily before they spread closer to Russian territory.

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Kabulov, who considers the Taliban a legitimate political force in Afghanistan, sees the Islamic State (ISIS) a greater danger there, though many believe that the ISIS threat in Afghanistan is exaggerated.

Sibal also noted that China has a protective attitude because of its decades-long geopolitical investment in Pakistan. Initially this was to contain India, but now it has the wider dimension of gaining access to the Arabian Sea from East Turkestan through Gwadar and consolidating China's increasing cooperation with Central Asian region.

Therefore, despite all overtures of Indo-Afghan nexus to isolate Pakistan, Sibal has expressed confidence that isolating Pakistan will remain a major challenge.