There is a road distance of over 600 km between India’s Wagah border and Afghanistan’s Pakistan border at Torkham. In between lies the hostile land of Pakistan, who treats Afghanistan as its Strategic Depth' against India. And it also intends to use for training its 'Strategic Assets' who would be used for destabilising Kashmir in particular and India as a whole.
Afghanistan does not have sea access since the signing of the Gandamak treaty after the second Anglo-Afghan war of 1880. And the demarcation of the Durand Line in 1893 had deprived Afghanistan permanently of such a sea-link at Karachi . This line had snatched cities of Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta etc from Afghanistan. This handicaps India in making a direct intervention in Afghanistan.
Also, the Durand line had divided Pashtun land into Afghanistan and British India. It is no gain saying the fact that Afghanistan does not accept the Durand line and it claims all the cities lost after the Gandamak Treaty of 1880. See below the maps of Pre-1880 Afghanistan and post 1880.
Read this article in conjunction with: India’s Afghanistan Dilemma: To Stay or not to Stay!
"India would have to carry out a tactical withdrawal from Afghanistan till Afghan Taliban-Pakistan ISI Honeymoon lasts. It might take 5-10 years. India would have to seek an alternative to carry out its overt and covert operations to subvert Sino-Pak designs in pursuing CPEC."
This is going to be Achilles heel in Afghanistan-Pakistan relations post Taliban takeover after US pulls out. Geo-politically speaking, the Durand Line division of Pushtun land, would be a fertile field for India to sow the seeds of discontent in Taliban leadership . This is the only way to rattle Pakistan and punch a hole in It’s 'Strategic Depth' dream. This would also sabotage its safe and secure training of ‘Strategic Assets’.
But such a scenario is not possible immediately, as the prominent Taliban group in the Afghan Taliban is the Haqqani Network — who is not only pro- Pakistan but the brain- child of Pakistan’s ISI. Pakistan has used it effectively, though clandestinely, to sabotage USA operations. Instead of turning the Taliban against Pakistan, the USA had taken it on directly. This was a major flaw in the Af-Pak strategy of the USA.
Therefore India would have to carry out a tactical withdrawal from Afghanistan till Afghan Taliban-Pakistan ISI Honeymoon lasts. It might take 5-10 years. India would have to seek an alternative to carry out its overt and covert operations to subvert Sino- Pakistani designs in pursuing China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). India does have favourable grounds in Ladakh to do so.
See the Maps Below
(Col. Rajinder Kushwaha is an ex-NDA, commissioned into 3 Bihar. He is a battle-hardened veteran of the ’71 War & has served extensively in various counter insurgency environments across the country. He is a renowned author, and a highly respected defence & national security expert and a regular contributor at the 'Fauji India' magazine, ‘Defence and Security Alert’ (DSA), the ‘Indian Defence Review’ (IDR) among others. You can reach him on Twitter: @RajeeKushwaha, Email ID: [email protected])
(Views expressed are the authors own, and do not reflect the editorial policy of 'Mission Victory India')
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