The Taliban’s violent and anti-democratic rise as a decision making authority of Pashtun dominated Afghanistan can’t augur well for any country. For any Nation, establishing any kind of political or economic relationship with the Taliban will result in turning that nation into a war zone eventually. Taliban is just a terrorist group among thousands of others in Afghanistan, just because they are temporary winners, it does not mean they can run a democratic administration. Eventually, they will eat up other groups and then export the violence to whichever country they are allied to. It was one of the biggest reasons why India had decided to stop its bilateral relationship with the Taliban ruled Afghanistan during 1996-2001. Only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE had bilateral relations with the Taliban.
Taliban which is currently garnering huge support from Pakistan and Communist China realized that India is not going to establish any diplomatic route open for them. In fact, in an interview with CNN-news18, Taliban spokesperson Shaheen Suhail was seen as softly appealing to India to provide it legitimacy.“I hope they (India) will also change their policies because earlier they were siding with the regime government, which was imposed. It would be good for both sides, for the people of India and Afghanistan,” said the spokesman.
However, India did not show any intent to legitimize the Taliban. In fact at United Nations Security Council, India’s external affairs minister S Jaishankar gave a formal reply on the question of legitimizing Taliban rule in Afghanistan. As per ANI, he said- ‘’at the moment, we are, like everybody else, very carefully following developments in Afghanistan. Our focus is on ensuring security in Afghanistan and the safe return of Indian nationals’’. The first step in any war and violence-related disaster is saving the lives of men and women. Trade relations with any country are never prioritized at the cost of lives.
Realizing that India deeply understands the propaganda behind TALIBAN 2.O image makeover strategy, the Taliban decided to please their Chinese masters. They have stopped the movement of cargo through Pakistan. Pakistan is the transit route for India-Afghanistan trade.”We keep a close watch on developments in Afghanistan. Imports from there come through the transit route of Pakistan. As of now, the Taliban has stopped the movement of cargo to Pakistan, so virtually imports have stopped,” FIEO DG told ANI.
India is one of the largest partners of Afghanistan with Indian export amounting to $835 million. Afghanistan is heavily dependent on Indian exports. Indian export profile includes sugar, pharmaceuticals, apparel, tea, coffee, spices and transmission towers. India imports only dry fruits and little gum and onion from Afghanistan. India has invested about $3 billion in the war-torn country. India’s infrastructure projects have been a game-changer for a war-torn country with dams, buildings, parliaments, stadiums, iron-ore mines, power plans, and steel plants being major projects.
Any kind of trade relations with Taliban led Afghanistan would be akin to providing legitimacy to the Taliban. A group that does not subscribe to democratic values, which imposes its will on the poor and hapless people, which treats women as pleasure objects and does not give them dignity and respect deserves condemnation and not legitimacy in modern society. We already have a close bilateral relationship with Afghanistan. A terrorist organization can gain control of a nation for a brief period only. India does not consider the Taliban as a legitimate authority to deal with.
Moreover, the Taliban has come to the fore with the help of India’s arch-enemies Pakistan and China. Taliban is fundamentally a China-Pakistan funded Terror organization. Any relations with it will give India bad optics at the international forum and will certainly malign our soft power image. India has shown the way, time for the world to delegitimize the Taliban.