November 11, 2014

G. Parthasarathy On India's Contributions In Afghanistan

Gopalapuram Parthasarathy also known as G. Parthasarathy (born 13 May 1940) is a Indian diplomat and author. He remained Ambassador of India to Myanmar, 1992-95, High Commissioner of India to Australia (1995-98), High Commissioner of India to Pakistan (1998-2000) and High Commissioner of India, Cyprus (1990-92).

He is popularly regarded as a "hawk" when it comes to matters of India's defence and policy towards Pakistan and terrorism. He co-authored a book with ex-Pakistan Foreign Secretary, Dr. Humayun Khan. The book, Diplomatic Divide, debates the issues that divide India and Pakistan.
An excerpt from a speech by Indian diplomat and author G. Parthasarathy at the 2013 Securing Asia conference titled, "The Asian Homeland Security & Counter Terror Summit":
"The fact is we have a hard life to live. Just a couple of days before I visited Kabul in 2008 our mission had been attacked, the military attache was killed, my own colleague from the Foreign Service, the political councilor, killed. The attack was carried out according to what we learned, the Afghans told, and what the Americans told us, by people from the Haqqani network coming across the Durand Line.

For the last 11 years, our policy has been to support the Allied effort, the American effort, and the United States, and to complement it. Let me tell you that much of Kabul was not taken by the American forces, it was taken by the Northern Alliance, and the Northern Alliance is backed by Russia, Iran, and India. So that was the extent of the collaboration, which we had with the Americans, it continues. We have stayed out of the politics of Afghanistan. That's really for the Afghans to decide. The only thing that we did join in was the Bonn process, when Iran was asking for too much of Northern Alliance and the representation of the Shiites living on the border with Iran. We told them to cool off because it had to be an inclusive, and democratic government. And let me tell you this, the Iranians played ball with us in Bonn.

So, you did get an inclusive government in Bonn largely because the United States had friends outside the NATO alliance. For good reason, we are not going to get militarily involved in Afghanistan. In my view, fighting counter-insurgency on foreign soil is a mug's game. And the other reason is that if you were to send the Indian Army, the only Indians who have ruled up to Kabul with a fair degree of firmness historically are the Sikhs, and we have a Sikh lieutenant general here. The Afghans would not exactly welcome that form of Punjabi rule again. But that is the reality of history. No foreigner for any length of time can hold onto Afghanistan. The British failed. The Russians failed.

So what have we done? We've come to a basic conclusion. We want to integrate Afghanistan with the rest of South Asia, to provide access of South Asia to Central Asia, and to be a developmental partner of South Asia. What we're looking at within South Asia is a free trade area ranging from Kabul to Dhaka and Colombo, and externally westwards to the Maldives, to link up with India's larger policy of a free trade area extending through Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and up to Japan, an integrated market from Manila to Kabul. That is a vision which is the only way forward, not at looking at Kabul and Afghanistan isolated in a South Asia, India-Pakistan context." [4:44 - 8:35 in the video below].
Video Title:  Pakistan ISI And The Role of Their Proxy(Taliban) In Afghanistan. Source: charbi88. Date Published: September 3, 2013.