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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

Tension along India border may affect US-Taliban talks

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 07, 2013
First Published: 00:49 IST(7/8/2013) | Last Updated: 00:51 IST(7/8/2013)

One of the over-riding themes during the visit of US vice president Joe Biden and secretary of state John Kerry to India recently was a reiteration of what the Americans have held for long: good India-Pakistan ties a key factor for the enduring peace and stability in Afghanistan.

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With the endgame nearing in Afghanistan and US in a hurry to talk to Taliban and seal a process of political reconciliation, India has genuine concerns about Islamabad getting at the driving seat in the reconciliation process and groups inimical to interests in Afghanistan being co-opted.

India-Pakistan tensions are already casting a shadow in the endgame in Afghanistan.

There are specific intelligence inputs that Pakistan-based terror outfits, Lakshar-e-Taiba trained operatives have been sent to Kabul and they are getting logistic support from Haqqani network, close to Pakistani intelligence establishment.

The attack on Indian consulate in Jalalabad on Saturday is seen an example of this kind of collaboration.

“Normalisation of India-Pakistan ties is vital for peace in Afghanistan and peace and stability in the region,” said M K Bhadrakumar, former career diplomat. “US and others have spoken about it. Peace in the region augurs well for all”, he added.

India is concerned about the red lines being crossed in the Afghan peace process, and more over the groups that are against India getting any decisive influence in Kabul after the US draw-down.

The US also wants India to use its leverage over President Hamid  Karzai, who is unhappy over the way the Americans are going about the talks with Taliban.

Though, US has emphatically said that the peace process will be an Afghan-driven process, there are many skeptics about it in both New Delhi and Kabul.

However, Pakistan has considerable influence over Taliban and that gives them a unique place in the reconciliation process. India enjoys goodwill in Afghanistan and it has a commitment of more than $2 billion in its reconstruction.


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