In the din over the Kabul coup, analysts are locking horns over the long-predicted change in the strife region.
The day Taliban entered the Presidential palace in Afghanistan capital and heralded a new era in the war-torn country, Ayesha Siddiqa, an expert on military affairs, said what strategists and security experts had long predicted: ‚ÄúAfter victory in Kabul JeM [Jaise-e-Muhammad] has started to talk about Kashmir again. Looks like after the 2 victories: USSR & US, now it is India‚Äôs turn.‚ÄĚ
This telling tweet came after the defiant vice president of Afghanistan and an ideologue of Ahmad Shah Massoud, Amrullah Saleh accused Islamabad of sending fighters to overthrow Ashraf Ghani government. Believed to be in his idol‚Äôs Panjshir den, Saleh has declared himself as a caretaker president of Afghanistan and is now bracing up for the new Great Game ostensibly casting shadows on another restive region.
In the backdrop of these overriding scenes in Pakistan‚Äôs ‚Äústrategic depth‚ÄĚ, Ayesha Siddiqa‚Äôs military take drew instant reactions from the Indian security apparatus. ‚ÄúWe are no more the nation in the making Ma‚Äôam,‚ÄĚ Ankita Sharma, IPS officer, said.
‚ÄúAlso, we are not USA/ UK, giving protection to other nation for the so-called ‚Äúworld peace‚ÄĚ. We are INDIA in INDIAN soil.‚ÄĚ
In Kashmir, the newsman who reportedly broke the news of the 1999 Kargil War soon came up with his insightful take on the rise of the Taliban on the Kabul throne and its possible upshot on the pending dispute.
American exit from Afghanistan will impact Kashmir as the Russian exit did in 1989, argued Ahmed Ali Fayyaz, Kashmir‚Äôs seasoned scribe.¬†
‚ÄúIn 1989, Afghan guerrillas defeated Russia with America‚Äôs help. Now Taliban have defeated America with America‚Äôs help. All US allies will be seen as ‚Äėlosers‚Äô. A new spell of militancy is imminent,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúErrors in India‚Äôs home and foreign policies are innumerable. Relying on Americans will prove more dangerous than a tactical licence to separatism and tarnishing democracy with religious majoritarianism.‚ÄĚ
With one error, the scribe said, 20 billion dollars of the Indian taxpayers‚Äô money have gone down the drain in Afghanistan. This money, he argued, would have made Delhi into New York or Kashmir into a Singapore.¬†
‚ÄúBut the real thing, the sense of defeat and victory, and its consequences are immeasurable, unquantifiable,‚ÄĚ he said.¬†
‚ÄúSense of Pak-friendly Taliban‚Äôs victory & US-friendly India‚Äôs defeat in Afghanistan is visible among followers of militants/ separatists in Kashmir. But they are publicly tight-lipped due to post Aug-2019 situation. Had it been in 2018, there would have been celebrations on streets.‚ÄĚ
As the debate raged on, counterarguments poured in from many Indian experts, including a Supreme Court of India lawyer. ‚ÄúI‚Äôve recently visited Kashmir,‚ÄĚ said Shashank Shekhar Jha. ‚ÄúI must tell you that it‚Äôs the Indian Army that is stopping Srinagar to become Kabul.‚ÄĚ
However, many countered this argument citing the Srinagar-based army commander‚Äôs recent assertion ‚ÄĒ wherein he said the rise of Taliban is likely to cast its shadow in the valley.¬†
Among the takers of this deduction was Prof. Ashok Swain: ‚ÄúAfter the Taliban‚Äôs takeover of Afghanistan, India‚Äôs worry should not be Kabul, but Kashmir!‚ÄĚ
But an ex-military officer whose stint as Srinagar Corps commander saw him using ‚Äúheart as a weapon‚ÄĚ turned down Kabul‚Äôs Kashmir connection.¬†
Syed Ata Hasnain argued that 2021 is not 1990, and that apart from the security scenario, the Indian forces have improved the ideological situation by snapping ‚ÄúPakistani proxy war‚ÄĚ linkages in the valley.¬†
‚ÄúBut since the jihadi ideology is all about networks,‚ÄĚ the former army officer said, ‚Äúit‚Äôs still possibility to inspire Kashmiri youth, with the lesson of how 70 thousand Taliban force defeated 3.5 lakh Afghan army.‚ÄĚ
But even before the Kabul takeover, the sweeping territorial gains of the Taliban had made many Indian authors inscribe some emerging pattern.¬†
‚ÄúThe holy warriors who stormed Kandahar today will deluge Kashmir tomorrow,‚ÄĚ Kapil Komireddi, author of Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India, said. ‚ÄúEnjoy the dividends of two decades of abject sucking up to America.‚ÄĚ
Amid all this, Prof Shamika Ravi, Former Member PM‚Äôs Economic Advisory Council, asked why are Indians watching the Afghanistan crisis closely? ‚ÄúBecause,‚ÄĚ she said, ‚Äúthe U.S. presence there since 2001 had a significant impact on Kashmir.‚ÄĚ
But while the Taliban‚Äôs predicted impact in the restive region remains to be seen, many already see the change.¬†
In other news, the imports from the war-torn country have been severely disrupted leading to a rise in the rates of dry fruits in Jammu and Kashmir.