Monitoring Desk: The Fall of Kabul was not an embarrassment for US and NATO allies rather for India that thought it had got a safe haven to destabilize Pakistan for all times to come. Now Indian Foreign Affairs are calling the Indian approach in Afghan crises as “Confused Approach to Afghanistan”.
In his article published in The Diplomat, Foreign Affairs expert Mohamed Zeeshan writes that New Delhi will need to institutionalize scenario planning in foreign policymaking.
He is also of the view that Indian’s approach to the crisis in Afghanistan has been characterized by incoherence and inconsistency, resulting in total embarrassment and Indian media made itself a comic character by publishing fabricated news against Pakistan.
“After having been shut out of early dialogue under Trump, India has been deeply unsure of how to approach the Taliban. As late as the end of June, India seemed reluctant to recognize the reality on the ground. It took pains to contradict Qatari authorities, who claimed that India’s Minister for External Affairs, S. Jaishankar had met Taliban leaders in Doha. India’s position at the time was that the Taliban was not a legitimate stakeholder, even as the balance of power was tilting firmly in its favor.
But only two months later, when that policy became so obviously unsustainable, New Delhi had to change tack and publicly establish an official dialogue with the group’s leadership’” writes Mohamed Zeeshan.
The worst of India’s policy quagmires concerned visas for desperate Afghans fleeing their country. After initially rolling out emergency visas for them, New Delhi arbitrarily canceled those issued visas and launched a new e-visa scheme. Yet, few e-visas appear to have been granted since then under the new scheme. The policy flip-flop has cost India significant goodwill among exasperated Afghan citizens. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has a Policy Planning and Research Division, but former diplomats told me that scenario planning is essentially fragmented and undertaken at the Joint Secretary level. In the absence of a dedicated team, such scenario planning is done only if an initiative is taken at the highest level during a crisis, a former Indian foreign secretary said. India’s default position in foreign policy has been to wait and watch as situations evolve. But as time passes during a crisis, options and space for favorable action often decreases, leaving New Delhi to play catch-up to secure its interests. Worse, India also becomes less able to proactively shape situations – a key necessity in the quest to build global influence,” commented the writer.