Seize the initiative
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