Seize the ini­tia­tive

Business Standard - - ISSUES AND INSIGHTS -

The Raisina Di­a­logue in New Delhi is a very rel­e­vant ex­er­cise sup­ported by our gov­ern­ment in or­der to speed up the process of es­tab­lish­ing last­ing peace in Afghanistan. There is noth­ing wrong in the in­vited speak­ers think­ing out of the box and ex­press­ing their per­sonal opin­ions in this aca­demic fo­rum of ex­perts. Diplo­macy and di­a­logue are al­ways bet­ter op­tions than con­tin­u­ing a con­flict. To­day a stale­mate ex­ists, as the le­git­i­mate Afghan gov­ern­ment is con­trol­ling ba­si­cally the ur­ban ar­eas with its se­cu­rity forces, whereas the Tal­ibans have been left unchecked in the vast thinly pop­u­lated and rugged ru­ral ar­eas.

Gen­eral Bipin Rawat is one of the few peo­ple in In­dia who is aware of the fact that there are more Pakhtoons liv­ing in Pak­istan than in Afghanistan it­self. The Tal­ibans ba­si­cally rep­re­sent the Pakhtoons’ in­ter­est to dom­i­nate the af­fairs of Afghanistan in the long term, while their call for strict Is­lamic rule is to serve their need for quick con­sol­i­da­tion of power and avoid­ance of any power shar­ing with the sig­nif­i­cant Ta­jik, Uzbekh and Hazara pop­u­la­tion. Gen­eral Rawat’s clar­i­fi­ca­tion that peace should be given a chance in Kash­mir too by hold­ing talks with separatists and mil­i­tants with­out pre­con­di­tions is timely ad­vice to our pol­i­cy­mak­ers in or­der to break the on­go­ing cy­cle of vi­o­lence and to show good faith while deal­ing with our own cit­i­zens. This way, we can seize the ini­tia­tive and break the long im­passe.

J K Achuthan Er­naku­lam

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