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Posts Tagged India -Karzai Axis

India turns to Russia to help supply arms to Afghan forces

 

Pakistan Must Retaliate Supply Arms to Indian Secessionists thru Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka

 
India turns to Russia to help supply arms to Afghan forces

 

BY SANJEEV MIGLANI

NEW DELHI Apr 30, 2014 

(Reuters) – India has signed an agreement under which it will pay Russia to supply arms and equipment to the Afghan military as foreign combat troops prepare to leave the country, in a move that risks infuriating Pakistan. Under the deal, smaller arms such as light artillery and mortars will be sourced from Russia and moved to Afghanistan. But it could eventually involve the transfer of heavy artillery, tanks and even combat helicopters that the Afghans have been asking India for since last year.

 

India has already been training military officers from Afghanistan, hosted a 60-member Special Forces group last year in the deserts of Rajasthan and supplied equipment such as combat vehicles and field medical support facilities. But the decision to meet some of Afghanistan’s military hardware demands – albeit sourcing them from Russia – points to a deepening role in Afghanistan aimed at preventing it from slipping back into the hands of the Taliban and other Islamist groups that are hostile to India.

 

It comes as China, another big player in the region which borders Afghanistan via a small, remote strip of land, is preparing for a more robust role in Afghanistan, also concerned that the withdrawal of NATO troops will leave a hotbed of militancy on its doorstep. Like China, India is unlikely to put boots on the ground to reinforce its strategy in Afghanistan.

 

“We can’t commit troops on the ground, we can’t give them the military equipment that they have been asking us for, for all sorts of reasons including the lack of surplus stocks,” said an Indian foreign ministry official, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. “Involving a third party is the next best option,” the official said, referring to plans to source military supplies from Russia for Afghan forces. The lack of direct access to Afghanistan poses additional hurdles to arms transfers. An Indian team visited Moscow in February to firm up the deal, the official said.

 

The two countries will also help Afghanistan restart an old armaments factory near Kabul and prepare an inventory of Russian military equipment in Afghanistan that could be refitted for use. That dates back to the Soviet invasion of 1979-89, although much of the hardware is beyond repair. “We’ll work with India directly as well as trilaterally involving Russia,” said an Afghan official in New Delhi. “Most of India’s weapons are made in Russia or co-produced with Russia, so it makes sense. Also the three-way arrangement is cost-effective.”

 

Indian officials said they had held talks with China, Japan and Iran to find ways to fund Afghan security demands that outgoing President Hamid Karzai told his Indian hosts during a visit last year would touch $4 billion a year.

 

PAKISTAN WARY

 

India’s neighbor and rival Pakistan is likely to be angered by any move to help arm Afghan forces, even if indirectly. Pakistan shares a long border with Afghanistan and has traditionally exerted considerable influence on Kabul. But under Karzai, and since the ouster of the Islamist Taliban movement in 2001, relations have deteriorated amid accusations that Pakistan has failed to stop militants crossing into Afghanistan and launching frequent, deadly attacks. Asked about India’s plans to supply Russian arms to Afghanistan, Pakistani foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said: “I don’t have any confirmation, so it would be premature to comment on it.”

 

A military spokesman did not return calls seeking comment. Ahmed Rashid, an author and expert on the region, said the deal could aggravate relations between India and Pakistan – nuclear-armed neighbors who have fought three wars – if the arms supplied were heavy enough to be deemed “offensive”. “Diplomacy and political dialogue are what will bring peace to Afghanistan,” he said. “What is not going to bring peace is more weapons.” Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, the state agency responsible for arms and military cooperation deals, declined comment on the agreement.

 

But Alexander Golts, an independent Moscow-based defense expert, said Russia had a similar arrangement with the United States under which it had delivered Mi-17 helicopters to Afghanistan. The program is now threatened by U.S. sanctions on Russian government officials and firms linked to President Vladimir Putin as punishment for intervention in Ukraine, he said. Golts said India and Russia were likely to play a significant role in Afghanistan as coalition troops withdraw. “At the end of the day, and despite all the contradictions, it’s very important for Washington to keep Russia engaged in Afghanistan.”

 

Karzai’s “shopping list” submitted to New Delhi last year comprised 66 items ranging from tanks to spares for Afghanistan’s small fleet of helicoptersKarzai also wanted Indian instructors at the British-funded “Sandhurst in the Sand” military academy built outside Kabul to train Afghan military officers. New Delhi remains opposed to deploying troops, including trainers, but has increased the number of Afghan officers training in India to nearly 1,100 this year from last year’s 574.

 

“It is very clear that the Afghan government has been pushing for this, especially Karzai, to make sure that the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) is stocked and has options post-withdrawal,” said Rudra Chaudhuri, a South Asia specialist at King’s College London, referring to India’s decision to arrange for supplies from Russia.

 

“India’s trying to help with Afghan demands but being cautious as well.”

 
(Additional reporting by Douglas Busvine in NEW DELHI, Steve Gutterman in MOSCOW and Katharine Houreld in ISLAMABAD; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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Robert Baer-Ex-CIA Officer : What Does Pakistan Really Want in Afghanistan?

images-196What does Pakistan really want in Afghanistan? That question has become all the more urgent since Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accused Pakistan of being indirectly responsible for last week’s attack on our embassy in Kabul. Reports of a second possible attack, on Sunday, on the building alleged to house the local CIA station will, no doubt, fuel further speculation. Assessing Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan through the prism of honesty and realpolitik rather than wishful thinking may be the only way we’re going to get out of this messy war. 

 

For a start, we need to understand that Pakistan intends to bring down the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, even if that means taking on its sometime U.S. ally. Pakistan hates Karzai out of a conviction that he has made common cause with Pakistan’s strategic nemesis, India, and a suspicion that the Afghan leader intends to harm Pakistan’s strategic interests in other ways. And, of course, the hatred is mutual. Rightly or wrongly, Karzai believes that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) assassinated his father, and would do the same to him given half a chance. (Read what Pakistan really envisions as an endgame for Afghanistan.)

 

A second misunderstanding we need to dispense with is that the ISI is somehow a rogue organization outside of Pakistan’s chain of command and is pursuing a pro-Taliban agenda all its own. The Pakistani army can remove the ISI director, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha – or any other officer of the organization – at a moment’s notice. So, if the ISI did indeed sponsor an attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul, such a step should be assumed to have been taken with the consent of the power that be in Pakistan, i.e. the military establishment. The idea that to make our Pakistan problem go away, the ISI needs to be “cleaned up” is naive. The Pakistani actions that make life difficult for the U.S. in Afghanistan are driven by a clear-sighted strategic agenda. 

 

As for the Pakistani proxy accused of carrying out the embassy attack, the Haqqani network, we need to understand why Pakistan won’t give it up or act against it as the U.S. demands. With up to 15,000 fighters and effective control of large parts of eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan’s North Waziristan, the Haqqanis are an indispensible party to a peace settlement in Afghanistan – and a vehicle for securing Pakistan’s interests in that country after the U.S. withdraws. To sever relations with the Haqqanis now would mean Pakistan giving up a large degree of influence in Afghanistan after the war is over. 

 

The U.S. has for years demanded that Pakistan mount a sweeping military offensive in North Waziristan to destroy the Haqqanis, but even if they were so inclined, the fact is that the Pakistani military has only ever been able to control the main roads in North Waziristan. The Pakistani army is incapable of occupying and holding this territory, no matter how much money we offer or how dire the threats we make. (See whether Pakistan really wants a stable Afghanistan.)

 

At the core of the problem stands a simple proposition: Pakistan doesn’t trust us with Afghanistan – and from Islamabad’s perspective, not without cause. We took a strategic decision to invade a country central to their national-security doctrine without seriously consulting them, preferring to think in terms of an Afghanistan of our dreams. Nor did we take into account their strategic interests and the proxies through which they have pursued them. The Soviet Union made the same mistake when it invaded Afghanistan in 1979. 

 

Having failed to prevail a decade later, we now have two choices, neither of them particularly attractive to Washington. We can attempt to destroy the Haqqani base in North Waziristan by invading Pakistan. But to do that effectively would require more troops than we currently have in Afghanistan. Doing so would obviously destroy whatever relations we still have with Pakistan, with profoundly dangerous consequences in Afghanistan and far beyond. 

 

Alternatively, we could hash out a settlement with Pakistan, which would inevitably mean accepting the Haqqanis and easing out Karzai in any political settlement to the conflict. Such a deal would also potentially bring in Afghanistan’s other neighbor with real strategic interests in the country – Iran. Iran can be unpredictable, but it’s by no means certain it would accept true Pakistani-American collusion in Afghanistan. In the mid-’90s, Iran was all but at war with the Taliban, and if Iran isn’t consulted on a settlement, it could play the spoiler. 

 

Accepting Pakistan’s postconflict agenda and backing off on the Haqqanis at Karzai’s expense is too bitter a pill for Washington to swallow in an election year, so we’ll muddle through for another year. But when the U.S. finally leaves, don’t be surprised to see the Haqqanis in Kabul.

 

Robert Baer, a former Middle East CIA field officer, is TIME.com‘s intelligence columnist and the author of See No Evil and The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower.

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India’s subversive activities in Pakistan using Afghan soil by Brig.Gen (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

India’s subversive activities in Pakistan using Afghan soil

By  Brig.Gen(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

 

PM Gilani accompanied by Gen Kayani visited Kabul at a time when a visible thaw has occurred in Pak-Afghan relations. Karzai has repeatedly expressed his keenness to remove misgivings and to establish friendly ties with Pakistan since dawn of 2010. He wants Pakistan to play its role in finding an amicable solution to Afghan problem.

While agreeing to establish tension-free cordial ties, the visitors gave proofs of Afghan and Indian subversive activities in Balochistan. The hosts were pressed to give an undertaking that in future the Afghan government would not allow Indian interference in Balochistan or any other part of Pakistan. Presence of certain undesirable elements in Afghanistan since the establishment of Northern Alliance heavy regime of Hamid Karzai has been the cause of sour relations between the two neighbors.

Afghanistan-Pakistan constructive dialogue is possible only after Afghan rulers make a solemn pledge that it would not allow Afghan soil to be used by India for launching covert operations against Pakistan.

While Pakistan has always vied to maintain cordial and tension free relations with Afghanistan and has never tried to exploit its land lock handicap, successive regimes in Kabul have traditionally treaded hostile path towards Pakistan and have remained inclined towards India.

Pakistan’s softness towards Afghanistan has stemmed from commonality of religion and centuries old cultural ties. It was only during the Taliban rule that Pak-Afghan relations were friendly and Indian influence had waned.

Afghanistan is currently in deep trouble since it is an occupied country and ruled by a puppet regime installed by USA. Resistance forces are engaged in Jihad against occupation forces duly supplemented by US trained Afghan National Army which is non-Pashtun heavy. Unlike in 1980s when Pakistan was supporting Afghan Mujahideen to push out occupying Soviet forces, this time Pakistan stands on the side of occupiers and is acting as the conduit to provide logistic support to 152,000 strong ISAF in Afghanistan.

Pakistan position is very dicey since non-Pashtun Afghans have a grudge against Pakistan for having helped Taliban in capturing power in 1996. The Taliban are resentful that Pakistan had ditched them in their hour of crisis and sided with their enemies. The current regime friendly to India strongly suspect that Pakistan is assisting Taliban and hence is hostile to Pakistan. The US-NATO have its own set of grievances against Pakistan because of which it treats Pakistan less as an ally and more as an enemy country. Pakistan is up against massive covert war launched by its adversaries having common objectives against Pakistan. India having no role in war on terror is having the best of everything at the cost of Pakistan.

Faced with multiple challenges, Pakistan is still trying to maintain friendly ties with USA, Afghanistan and India. Since Afghanistan is faced with multiple challenges, Pakistan doesn’t want to add to its woes and is keen to help solve Afghan imbroglio. Stable, friendly and peaceful Afghanistan is in the overall interest of Pakistan. Despite its friendly overtures, Afghan government in the tight grip of USA and India is creating extreme problems for the national security and internal stability of Pakistan. The Indian Embassy in Kabul and string of Pakistan specific Indian consulates are involved in training and launching of terrorists and saboteurs into Pakistan.

India desires that Pakistan should open its land route through Wagah border to Afghanistan for two-way trade so that it could flood Afghanistan’s markets with Indian goods and thus in the name of reconstruction grab Afghan market and resources. The Indians know that they can reach the coveted riches of Central Asia only through the land route passing through Pakistan and Afghanistan since air business is unfeasible. India has been making strenuous efforts to expand its influence in Afghanistan since 2002. Governed by this strategy, it has been siding with Karzai and now when India has established itself firmly in Afghanistan, it has become that much easy for it to carryout subversive activities against Pakistan, particularly when it enjoys complete blessing of USA. The latter has helped India in gaining a foothold in Afghanistan and gradually expanding it.

It is unfortunate that today very few recall the huge sacrifices made by Pakistan in the 1980s when Afghanistan had been forcibly occupied by Soviet forces and none had come forward to contest Soviet aggression. Had Pakistan under Gen Ziaul Haq not put Pakistan’s security at stake and not stood up to Soviet challenge and not given full support to the Mujahideen, Afghanistan would have become a satellite of Soviet Union dancing to the tunes of Moscow. The latter had embarked upon massive Sovietization program to shatter Afghan’s Islamic identity, culture, customs, traditions and historical heritage.

Who doesn’t know the pathetic fate of Muslim Central Asian states which were brutally traumatized and their rich culture and identity demolished by Russia? But for Pakistan’s role, history of the globe would have been different since Soviet Union would not have fragmented. It was because of Pakistan’s principled stand that it had to inherit innumerable problems from which it is suffering to this day. In 1980s, Pakistan faced the brunt of KGB-KHAD-RAW-AlZulfiqar sabotage and subversion for over a decade. Now it is facing CIA-RAW-RAAM-Mossad-MI6 covert war as well as drone war since 2004.

It is an undeniable fact that Karzai regime has offered Afghan soil to anti-Pakistan intelligence agencies to indulge in cross border terrorism against Pakistan. The saboteurs, arms, ammunition, explosives and funds are all being funneled into Pakistan from Afghanistan to aid anti-Pakistan forces in Balochistan and FATA, which are fighting security forces and indulging in acts of terrorism. This inflow is not possible without the active collusion of Afghan government. How is it possible to barge into someone else’s house through your house without your permission?

The security situation of Pakistan has aggravated to such an alarming extent that it is no more possible to tolerate Afghanistan’s collusion in subversive activities in Pakistan. The people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan who have suffered the most on account of cross border terrorism from Afghanistan are writhing in agony. They are blaming provincial governments for failing to provide them security and for their docility towards adversaries of Pakistan. Their pent up anger has reached a boiling point which may spin out of control anytime.

It has been seen that despite all our goodwill and cooperative gestures, Karzai regime has continued to maintain a hypocritical attitude because of which our efforts have proved fruitless. It is high time that our rulers should come out of their mode of one-sided appeasement and convey firmly to Karzai regime to stop allowing Afghan soil as a launching pad for India to harm Pakistan. We should also review our Afghan policy without further loss of time. If we continue with our policy of ignoring unconcealed foreign interference particularly in Balochistan, it would embolden Indians to continue with their dual policy of extending a hand of friendship as well as stabbing us in the back.

 

Courtesy:

– Asian Tribune –

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