India, Pakistan Rivalry Emerging Over Afghan Peace Deal

Posted by Admin On Wednesday, 20 February 2013 0 comments

As the Western armies move towards the exit in Afghanistan, it seems the regional nations are vying to replace the influence exerted by the US and Nato over the past decade.

Fresh news reports from India reveal that New Delhi is planning to hold talks with Russia and China where the role of Pakistan in the Taliban negotiations is likely to be discussed.

India's National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon is expected to meet his Russian and Chinese counterparts later this month after a trilateral meeting with the Afghan government and the US tomorrow.

According to Indian newspapers, this meeting was flagged during last month's meeting of BRICS representatives in New Delhi where the three agreed that they will have a separate meeting to exchange views on the Taliban peace process and Afghanistan's situation.

It is likely that India will leverage the history of Pakistan as a "safe haven" for terrorists during Tuesday's meeting with Afghan and US representatives as a way to highlight itself as a more suitable peace partner, not only for Afghanistan but also for the US and UK's regional aims
Afghan analysts, however, told TOLO news that India cannot "replace" Pakistan because of Islamabad's unique situation with the insurgents mainly based in Pakistan's west on the Afghan border.

"India should really not be concerned about the cooperation of Pakistan in the peace process because Afghanistan's anti-government armed groups are located in Pakistan and they [Pakistan] should have a strong role in this regard," the Afghan High Peace Council's foreign relations advisor MuhammadIsmail Qasimyar told TOLO news Monday.

Analyst and university lecturer Faizullah Jalal agreed, adding that few countries can really influence Pakistan to act.
"Pakistan and China have a close relationship and China is the only country that can really put pressure on Pakistan to fight against terrorism on the border with Afghanistan," he said.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron recently hosted Afghan and Pakistan presidents Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari in England to discuss a strategic partnership agreement between the two.

Afghanistan already has a similar agreement with India, but that has not stopped concerns from New Delhi that Pakistan's role in the peace process with the Afghan High Peace Council will give Pakistan a greater depth.
Reports suggest that Pakistan, for its part, is equally concerned about India seeking a greater role.


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