As if the Chabahar debacle was not enough, as Iran scrapped its deal with India and instead entered into a 400 billion USD deal with China,  that Iran has also now decided to keep India ‘out’ from Gas Field Right Exploration by saying that India would be involved ‘appropriately’ at some later stage 1.   Bad news for India.  One thing however is for sure that US would do everything to scuttle the Iran-China deal the same way it has done to spoilsport CPEC.

Another bad news is that US has announced five of its military bases to have been closed i.e. Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktika and Laghman provinces 2  in Afghanistan , this systematic  withdrawal is now into its 136th day after the Afghan Taliban and US had agreed to sign an accord in Doha in Feb 2020. But, the issue of prisoners-swap between Afghan Taliban and US installed Ashraf Ghani government still remains a vexed thorn as Ghani has refused to release 600 Taliban fighters , which was also a part of the accord that Ghani government would release 5000 Taliban prisoners and that Taliban would release 1000 prisoners 3 , this is being seen as a ploy to make US remain still in Afghanistan, this news came on July 9 and only four days later Taliban staged a huge attack on Afghanistan intelligence office in Aybak killing 11 4 .

Very soon Taliban who are in control of around 75% of Afghanistan are going to be embroiled into a bloody conflict with Ghani government and Mullah Abdul Ghani Biradar is all set to be the next Amir-ul-Momineen  i.e. head of the state, all geared up to set up a Shariah government in Afghanistan.   The political scenarios unfolding in Afghanistan suggests that the Taliban are keeping Mullah Omer son of Mullah Yaqoob in a low-profile and the Haqqanis are also silent.  Outside Afghanistan,  Turkish President Erdogan has long been playing host to them  5 and is considered a friend to Taliban who reciprocated by setting free four Turkish engineers kidnapped in Afghanistan, something which was announced by Erdogan himself 6. . Russia against whom Taliban had waged a war is now supportive of Taliban and has been arming them against US 7, something which was once done by US against Soviets ,  and as once China armed Vietnam against US,  today US is arming Vietnam against China 8 .  There is never a one-way traffic in International relations.  What matters here is that both Russia 9 and China 10 have been into deft diplomacy by hosting dialogues with Taliban and it is here where India does not seem to be even a distant third.  It is leant that Turkey has resumed its air-flights with Kabul 11 .

There was once when India was playing the shots as Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani were a regular feature in New Delhi, and very successfully India was able to keep Taliban ‘at bay’ particularly after the Sep 11 attack in US, and thereafter, when US decided to settle-everything with Taliban, with help from Pakistan, to finally lead to a rubble in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and a war looming over Iran with the exception in the rise of Israel.  But, India has not exploited all its avenues, as it does have a ‘Trump-Card’, as when things would tend to ‘spill-out’, India would deploy its battery of Deobandi Ulemas to make Taliban shun their designs over India , as was once elaborated by NIA Chief Ajit Doval in an address way back on August 18, 2016 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYRuk8H5M9E) .   This is despite, the  Modi government which has since May 2019, made every Muslim ‘scurry’ as the very citizenship of a Muslim, no matter living for centuries in India,  has been put to question, through CAA/NPR/NPA, which obviously led to nationwide protests and worldwide condemnation. If COVID-19 virus had not broken-out by March 2020, millions of Muslims were to have been put to microscope and  unending queues of  hapless Muslims were to have become the order of the day.

The Modi government internally has had a pretty tough-time but externally it is faced with a very potential threat from across the Himalayas.  Since May China and India are head-to-head involved in Ladakh where India has lost 20 of its soldiers and all the routine talks i.e. diplomatic, political and military have as yet yielded no result.  All the defence minister Rajnath Singh, while visiting Ladakh on July 17, after Modi had visited on July 3,  could say was “ No country in the world can touch or occupy even an inch of India’s territory, ” alongside CDS Bipin Rawat and army chief MM Naravane  12 and that he cannot ‘guarantee’ how the dispute would be resolved, thus, a signal that the deadlock is to continue at least until the snowfall begins or very soon a limited war is coming.

The chips in India are down which relies heavily on US support. The skeptics would research later that in fact the Indian war with China is much to the maneuvering of US as it was Trump who had on July 22, 2019 attributed to Modi to have sought his mediation for a solution in Kashmir, which India denied 13, and again reiterated it on  August 2, 2019 14  , leaving Modi with a wide choice to annul the Article 370 and make it a level-playing ground with Pakistan, but what turned-out to be a surprise is that China made India to focus primarily on Pakistan to produce the Ladakh nemesis.  Now China has sought claim over Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan as well. Perhaps, this ironic ‘ not an inch’ dialogue finds its resonance in the words of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping who had in 2018 said it to US defense secretary James Mattis that China would not lose even an inch of territory left behind by its ancestors, 15 on June 28, 2018.

 India surely should have heeded to China which is determined to pin India down and on the contrary POTUS has yet again given a conflicting statement that he loves India and China alike 16 and would do everything to see them to make peace.  There is a brimming bloodbath ominously placed around India-China and Trump is into merrymaking.  Modi perhaps invested too much into Trump, remember his latest Howdy Modi  in Houston on Sep 23, 2019 17 and Trump in Gujarat  on Feb 24, 2020 18 . How would Trump fair, in this growing conflict, particularly in the middle of US elections, is going to be a sagacious saga to unfold.

But, whatever be the outcome, I make a reference to one of my previous articles, written five days after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, that the move would alter the politics, both internal and external in India, for the next fifty years to come 19 .

The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner. He is also a lawyer based in Lucknow.

References :

 

1.       (https://sputniknews.com/india/202007161079903759-after-collapse-of-chabahar-rail-deal-iran-may-deny-gas-field-rights-to-indian-exploration-company/)

2.       (https://eurasiantimes.com/us-troops-pull-out-of-5-bases-in-afghanistan/)

3.       (https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/07/09/afghanistan-says-will-not-release-600-too-dangerous-taliban.html)

4.       (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/13/world/asia/afghanistan-attack-aybak.html)

5.       (https://www.rferl.org/a/turkey-to-host-afghanistan-pakistan-for-taliban-peace-talks/29691919.html)

6.       (https://www.rferl.org/a/turkey-to-host-afghanistan-pakistan-for-taliban-peace-talks/29691919.html)

7.       (bbc.com/news/world-asia-41842285)

8.       (https://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/23/politics/vietnam-arms-embargo-china/index.html).

9.       (https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russia-to-host-taliban-dialogue/article25406162.ece)

10.   (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/china-to-host-rare-meeting-between-afghan-govt-taliban/articleshow/72008412.cms)

11.   (https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/afghanistan-resumes-international-flights-amid-covid-19/1888176)

12.   (https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/defence-minister-rajnath-singh-arrives-in-leh-to-carry-out-security-review/article32109065.ece)

13.   (https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/trump-offers-to-mediate-kashmir-dispute-between-india-and-pakistan-1572363-2019-07-22)

14.   (https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/donald-trump-offers-to-mediate-in-kashmir-dispute-1576297-2019-08-02)

15.   (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-44638817).

16.   (deccanchronicle.com/world/america/170720/i-love-the-people-of-india-and-i-love-the-people-of-china-trump.html)

17.   (https://www.indiatoday.in/news-analysis/story/howdy-modi-from-audience-narendra-modi-donald-trump-1602604-2019-09-24)

18.   (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/presenting-gujarat-as-symbol-of-achievement/articleshow/74275478.cms).

19.   (https://countercurrents.org/2019/08/kashmir-fallout-foreign-policy-front-going-awry/).


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