India, the rising hegemon?
The media in Pakistan has warned that New Delhi's 'hegemonistic presence' is not wanted in Afghanistan.india Updated: May 02, 2006 11:57 IST
The Pakistani media has condemned the abduction and killing of Indian engineer Suryanarayan in Afghanistan, but also warned that New Delhi's "hegemonistic presence" was unwanted in that country.
Pakistani editorials cautioned India against getting embroiled in the "great game" in the region and said it should be ready to pay a heavy price if it did.
Pakistani newspapers also scoffed at Indian insinuations that Pakistan, its intelligence agency ISI and its support to the Taliban were responsible for what has been happening to Indians and workers of other nationalities engaged in Afghanistan's reconstruction.
Linking the kidnapping and killing to similar incidents in Iraq, the Pakistan Observer said: "Kidnappings and killing of abducted persons, be it in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere in the world, are condemnable.
The most distressing aspect of such incidents is that innocent people, who are not directly or indirectly linked to the occupation forces, are targeted causing miseries to their families."
The editorial went on to say that it seemed "an expression of protest or indignation over increasing Indian hegemonistic presence" in Afghanistan.
"The way the Indians are strengthening their hold in every field of Afghan life is being resented by the Afghan people. Certain elements in Northern Alliance Government are playing host to the Indians supporting their efforts to advance their interests in Afghanistan and this is not liked by majority of Afghans who abhor foreign influence in their country," the Observer stated.
"The presence and activities of the Indians in Afghanistan are not only considered as interference but also anti-Taliban and hence this kind of reaction," it said.
Repeating Islamabad's accusation, the editorial said Indian consulates in Afghanistan were engaged in "blatant interference in neighbouring countries" and that they were carrying out "anti-Pakistan activities".
More such incidents were feared as President Hamid Karzai was "allowing his country to be used as a base to destabilise Pakistani areas", the paper warned.
An editorial in The News said Afghanistan had become the playground for "everyone" and this was being resented by the Afghans, particularly the Taliban.
"Though no reporting has been done as to why they are so adamant in forcing the Indians' ouster, tongues are wagging about a new strategic great game being played out in the Afghan territory, with everyone from the US to China and regional heavyweights like India, Pakistan and Iran falling upon each other's heels to have their fingers in the Afghan pie," the newspaper said.
"Given the muddle that makes up today's Afghanistan, it's important to know who opposes who and who is backed by whom. For the Taliban, it's almost natural to oppose India, which in turn is supported by most people in the current administration in Kabul.
"No matter which side one takes, outsiders grinding their axes in a sovereign state's soil are as worrisome as the grisly act of beheading foreign workers," the editorial said.
PakTribune and a number of other media ran an online commentary from New Delhi that said: "The reasons for New Delhi's tenacity in the face of terror attacks are not far to seek: Afghanistan, owing to its strategic location and its history, is much too important a country to leave like that, specially after New Delhi had regained its influence in the country post 9/11."