India’s discomfort with the Obama administration’s AfPak policy is now forcing it to chart a new course towards Afghanistan.
Recent revelations have made it clear that India has been systematically targeted by the ISI. The bombings of the Indian embassy were at the behest of the ISI and the Haqqani network sent bombers to strike Indians in Afghanistan.
Indian influence in Afghanistan rose significantly as American support for Pakistan shifted and Washington demanded that Pakistan adopt policies that India had long wanted in the aftermath of 9/11.
Moreover, India emerged as a major economic actor in Afghanistan. But by refusing to use hard power India soon made itself irrelevant as the ground realities changed. The Obama administration, intent on moving out of Afghanistan, has managed to signal to Indian adversaries that they can shape the post-American ground realities to serve their own ends. India lost the confidence of its own allies in Afghanistan.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s outreach to Islamabad, considered essential to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan by Washington, has caused consternation in New Delhi, Tehran and Moscow. This changing strategic dynamic is forcing New Delhi to reach out to Russia and Iran promptly as they share similar concerns about the emerging power configuration in
New Delhi has made some moves in this direction with the Indian foreign secretary’s visit to Moscow that reiterated the two nations’ shared positions on Afghanistan and Indian attempts to do business with Iran despite western sanctions on Tehran.
After keeping itself aloof from AfPak for years after the Taliban’s ouster, Russia is back in the game and even the US is supporting greater Russian involvement. Russia has openly asserted that the security situation in Afghanistan impacts the security of India and Russia, prompting greater cooperation between the two on Afghanistan.
Iran is the third part of this triangle and India’s outreach to Tehran has become serious after signals from Iran that the relationship is drifting. In the second ministerial-level visit from Iran to India in less than a month, Iranian deputy foreign minister was in India in
early August to coordinate the India-Iran approach towards Afghanistan.
Despite western sanctions, the Indian government is encouraging Indian companies to invest in the Iranian energy sector so that economic interests can underpin an India-Iran political realignment. Iran is worried about the potential role for leaders of the almost exclusively Sunni Taliban in the emerging political dispensation in Afghanistan. It has even encouraged India to send more of its assistance to provinces in northern and western Afghanistan that are under the control of those associated with the Northern Alliance.
Full article: http://www.dnaindia.com/opinion/comment_india-develops-a-new-axis-with-iran-and-russia_1439001