As the last batch of US marines was flown out of Kabul on August 31 ending a 20-year-long US occupation of Afghanistan, Defence Against Talibanization questions regarding the future of Indo-Afghan relations have rocked Indian talk shows and YouTube channels alike. The biggest worry seems to be two fold.
Firstly, will Afghanistan facilitate anti-Indian Pakistani jihadi proxies by allowing them to shift their training and operational headquarters to southern Afghanistan, and secondly, whether or not the numerous jihadi groups still active in Afghanistan, like the ISIS-K, will become powerful rallying point for pro-jihad Islamist groups inside India.
Last week the local residents of Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) nervously gazed at members of Lashkar and Jaish returning from Afghanistan. A mullah by the name of Rahim delivered a fiery sermon to youth who had gathered to listen to him at a mosque in Chakothi just 500 yards away from the Line of Control (LoC). Recruitment of young men for Jihad in Kashmir is being carried out uninterruptedly by jihadi groups inside the mosques dotted alongside the border towns of LoC in PoK.
Simultaneously, Pakistan army troops have moved into the suburbs of Muzaffarabad, the capital city of PoK. Locals have accused them of grabbing their fertile fields and hereditary lands. A protest was held just days ago in PoK against the army land grab at Jabbara-Tap in which residents of several villages participate.
Only last week the Indian army foiled an attempt by jihadist to infiltrate the Valley via the LoC. Then on August 30 another attempt was encountered in which at least two terrorists were reportedly killed.
Amid the chaos in Kabul the situation in the region is becoming challenging by the hour. As the Taliban conduct door to door search identifying and executing those on the Black List of ‘collaborators’ and women are being forced out of jobs and made to wear hijabs, both Pakistan and China are lobbying among the nations of the world and vying support for the Taliban claiming that the Taliban of today are more tolerant of dissent, well versed in the art of diplomacy and are “intelligent” people.
Pakistan and China both are supporting the Taliban for different reasons. Pakistan looks at an Afghanistan controlled and ruled by the Taliban as the fulfilment of her erstwhile desire to achieve strategic depth against India. China’s eyes are laid upon more than one trillion dollars’ worth of natural resources buried in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Hence, the strategy to counter the terrorist threats against India hailing from Pakistan after it shifts jihadi camps across the border into Afghanistan and strategy to counter the economic expansionist motives of China require a two tier military and political strategy.
A clear and objective military strategy against Pakistan attempts to engage Indian army and commit terrorist attacks in the Valley is the need of the hour. In my opinion not one but several surgical strikes should be on the cards of an Indian military strategist. One such target could be the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) training center situated near Mangla at the foothills of PoJK.
Chinese economic expansionist tendency is linked with her objective of eliminating regional competitors. India is fast becoming a global economic power house. Announcement by Japan’s $64 billion Toyota Tsusho to shift some of its major manufacturing operations from China to India back in November 2020 is just one such example to suffice my argument that China will leave no stone unturned to sabotage and even engage in limited war against India.
Pakistan and China share the same views when it comes to India. They both want to weaken India. China is supporting Pakistan to achieve her objective by terrorist sabotage in Kashmir. The euphoria that has been generated by the victory of the Taliban is encouraging Indians infected with the ideology of Jihad and directing them toward a more dangerous and sinister ploy: Communalism. We have to confront it with an iron hand.
India does not have to go to war with another country. We never have. But if India’s sovereignty is challenged consistently and begins to effect the progress of our nation then we are left with no choice but to strike our enemy with a vengeance both at home and abroad.
By Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza