Observing that India is “shocked” by the idea of international community talking to the Taliban, a noted Pakistani scholar has said that New Delhi has been virtually pushed into talks with Islamabad.
“I think the Indians have been pushed into talks. They’ve been quite shocked by this idea that the international community is now ready for some kind of dialogue with the Taliban, and obviously they want to find out from Pakistan what they want to do,” Ahmed Rashid, author of Descent into Chaos said at the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations.
Referring to the February 25 talks between India and Pakistan at the level of Foreign Secretaries, Mr. Rashid said he does not have much expectations from the resumption of the peace talks between the two South Asian neighbours.
“I am not expecting anything very dramatic, but I think a couple of things are important to note. I think one reason the Indians have come back to the table — and they were the ones who were refusing to talk to Pakistan until Pakistan had dismantled the terrorist infrastructure, extremist groups which had been fighting in Kashmir; now, Pakistan has done no such thing, and yet the Indians have come back,” he said.
“I think one reason is that, obviously, there’s been a lot of pressure from the Americans and from the international community, and even from within India. But I think the Indians were very shocked by the London conference on Afghanistan a few weeks ago in which the entire international community decided that it would be a good thing to start this reintegration with the Taliban,” Mr. Rashid said.
“The idea of talking to the Taliban is anathema to India, because it would simply mean for India that, you know, Pakistan would get a huge say in a future Afghanistan. And don’t forget, India spent 10 years in the ‘90s having no presence in Afghanistan, because Pakistan ran the Taliban and the Taliban regime did not allow the Indians in at all,” he said in response to a question.
“As far as really dealing with the core issue of Kashmir, which is something that, you know, has to be resolved before these two countries really get rid of their suspicion, I think we’re still a very long way away, and this is going to take a very long time to resolve,” he observed.