Should India allow the Taliban regime to station its envoy in Delhi? Geopolitics News

Should India allow the Taliban regime to station its envoy in Delhi?

The Taliban regime is considering diplomatic representation in New Delhi.

According to a report in The Print, he pushes India to allow him to station his emissary in the Indian capital. He apparently first addressed the issue in July 2022, when a team of officials from India’s External Affairs Ministry visited Kabul.

According to a former Afghan diplomat, who spoke to The Diplomat on condition of anonymity, the Taliban regime has “strengthened its demands” on India “to allow its officials to represent the country in New Delhi”. These demands have “intensified in recent months”, amid a deterioration in Pakistan’s relations with the Taliban regime over the latter’s reluctance to act against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

At present, the Afghan Embassy in New Delhi is staffed by diplomats appointed by the Ashraf Ghani government. The Taliban would like to change that.

Behind the Taliban’s demand is their desperate desire to gain international recognition for the regime. No country has yet extended official recognition, but some such as Pakistan, Iran, Russia and China have accepted Taliban-appointed officials to represent the regime in their capitals, a step towards recognition.

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Getting India to accept diplomatic representation would be “a precious feather in the Taliban’s cap, given that it is a democracy and close to the United States”, said a former Indian diplomat, adding that the Taliban regime should also use its growing ties. with India to take advantage of Pakistan’s concessions.

Giving in to the Taliban’s demand for diplomatic representation in New Delhi has serious implications.

“New Delhi must be careful in adopting any strategy that involves accepting Taliban diplomatic representation, as this amounts to recognition of the Taliban regime,” Shanthie Mariet D’Souza, founding president of Mantraya, told The Diplomat. , an independent research forum.

“The Taliban is a terrorist organization that seized power illegally. The regime lacks legitimacy not only within the international community but also within the Afghan people,” she said. Therefore, “India should refrain from recognizing the regime at this stage, as it would result in a loss of goodwill for India.”

Relations between India and the Taliban have been hostile for decades. After the overthrow of the first Taliban regime in 2001, India forged close ties with the democratic governments of Presidents Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani and actively participated in the development of Afghanistan.

After the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, New Delhi’s influence in Afghanistan has declined significantly. It closed its diplomatic missions in the country and suspended development and livelihood projects.

A few weeks after their return to power, the Taliban were make overtures to India to deliver aid, reinvigorate its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, reinvigorate development work in the country, resume flights and issue visas to scholarship students to study in India.

India responded by sending humanitarian aid to the Afghans and in June last year sent a team of officials to Kabul. Indian officials have spoken with regime officials. This paved the way for the reopening of the Indian Embassy in Kabul. India is set to reopen its Consulate in Kandahar soon.

Deepening engagement with the Taliban could strengthen India’s leverage over the regime to act against anti-India terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan. It would be particularly “rewarding” since “Pakistan’s strategic stock with the Taliban is at an all-time low,” said the former Indian diplomat.

D’Souza observed that regional powers are vying for influence in Afghanistan and that India has “joined the bandwagon”. While the fraying of Taliban-Pakistani relations has opened up space for India, New Delhi should use that space “not only in a strategic sense, but to engage locally”, she said. India should seek to “create national dialogue, reconciliation and inclusive government in Afghanistan”.

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She underscored the need for engagement that goes beyond government officials to include connecting people, especially women and youth groups who need help with income generation, markets and development. sustainable development.

This approach would ensure that India “gains a foothold in Afghanistan in the long term”, she said.

Should India allow the Taliban regime to station its envoy in Delhi?

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