Think tank advocates tripartite dialogue bw India, Pak, Afghan

A tripartite dialogue between Afghanistan, India and Pakistan is desirable to diminish risks of a civil war in Afghanistan, a leading London-based think tank advocated on Tuesday.

Last Updated: Sep 07, 2010, 23:12 PM IST

London: A tripartite dialogue between
Afghanistan, India and Pakistan is desirable to diminish risks
of a civil war in Afghanistan, a leading London-based think
tank advocated on Tuesday.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies said
managing Indian and Pakistani strategic goals in Afghanistan
needs to be an important priority.

"A tripartite dialogue between Afghanistan, India and
Pakistan is desirable; not least to diminish risks that
enduring conflict could escalate to civil-war proportions," it
said.

John Chipman, Director-General of the institute said
central Asian states, Russia and Iran will have competing
concerns in Afghanistan that will have to be reconciled, but a
less ambitious coalition military posture in Afghanistan
should be used to make this possible.

Releasing the 2010 annual review of the World Affairs,
Chipman argued that for Western states, to be pinned down
militarily and psychologically in Afghanistan, will not be in
the service of their wider political and security interests.

"The challenge of Afghanistan must be viewed and
addressed in proportion to the other threats to international
security and the other requirements for foreign-policy
investment," he said.

With economic, financial and diplomatic activity
moving at such a pace and with such varied outcomes
internationally, military operations in general have to be all
the more carefully considered.

Chipman said the mission in Afghanistan would undergo
more public scrutiny and re-examination.

He described the counter-insurgency strategy of US
President Barack Obama as very little short of a secure and
stable Afghanistan.

"As the campaign passes the ten-year mark, public
tolerance for the generation-length commitment that political
and military leaders in the West have sometimes spoken about
is waning".

He noted that the original strategic goal was to
disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and to
prevent its return and said war aims traditionally expand, but
in Afghanistan they ballooned into a comprehensive strategy to
develop and modernise the country and its government.

"Defeat of the Taliban insurgency was seen as
virtually synonymous with the defeat of al Qaeda, even though
much of its organised capacities had been displaced to
Pakistan," he said.

Noting that many worry that the large presence of
foreign troops is what sustains and fuels the Taliban
fighters, he said: "Reconciling the insurgents to a distant
government in Kabul whose legitimacy is questioned and
authority weak will be hard".

He advised outside powers to move to a containment
and deterrence policy to deal with the international terrorist
threat from the Afghan/Pakistan border regions.

"At present, the counter-insurgency strategy is too
ambitious, too removed from the core security goals that need
to be met, and too sapping of diplomatic and military energies
needed both in the region and elsewhere".

Containing the international threat from the
Af-Pak border and deterring the reconstitution of al Qaeda in
Afghanistan would, like all such strategies, have political,
diplomatic, economic and military elements, he said.

"It would require political deals in Afghanistan and
among key regional powers including India, Pakistan, Iran and
the Central Asian states.

"It would entail promises of economic and development
support to its supporters as well as the threat of military
strikes against any re-concentration of international
terrorist forces".

The strategic Geography section assessed subjects as
diverse as the extent of India`s Naxalite rebellion,
Thailand`s political turmoil, the effects of disasters such as
the Chilean and Haitian earthquakes, the position of the
so-called BASIC countries on climate change, and the diversity
of the territories from which al Qaeda and its franchises
operate.

PTI