Two separate developments on the Indian political scene in last few days has given rise to a lot of uncomfortable questions (regarding illegal surveillance/phone tapping and the Indian government's eagerness to please the US administration) that must be asked. The first development being the revelation of the contents of a Cabinet Committee on Security note which reportedly exposes UPA government's attempts to dilute the Nuclear Liability Bill to suit the interests of the US administration. And the second one is the alleged smear campaign against former Army Chief General VK Singh over a secretive surveillance unit during his tenure.
The interesting detail that should not be overlooked is this: even as Messrs McChrystal and Petreaus were talking “withdrawal” in 2011, Karzai had already contrived an extension until 2014. Karzai established his indispensability at a time when the Western media had written him off as “not even the mayor of Kabul” one “whose writ does not run beyond the Presidential palace”. If there was no consistent American stand on withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2010, why should we be convinced that the 2014 deadline is cast in stone?
To the various puzzles America pores over has been added one more: Iran’s President elect, Hassan Rouhani. As an opening gambit, he is being described as “moderate”. It is being speculated that he will be “moderate” on the nuclear issue even though he has deep roots in the country’s conservative establishment whose views on the issue are known and not liked. Years ago, “moderation” in all discourse concerning West Asia had a distinct meaning. It was an adjectival expression approving of states which were willing to tow the Western line on the Israeli-Palestinian question. The antonym for moderate those days was “rejectionist”.
In other words, the arrival of the French in Mali could well be the beginning of link ups across the oil and mineral rich regions stretching from Sudan across Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Western Sahara where the Polisario movement will derive strength from the reverberations.
Vasiliy Mitrokhin states that some of the KGB activities in the region were aimed at impeding the improvement of India-Pakistan relations.
The irony is that in a region of such noisy anti-Americanism, there is no regime which is actually interested in the US departing from Afghanistan, whatever the public postures.
Let me jump the gun on the global pundits. The great charge on Damascus is about to be called off, sorry toned down.
Have the Taliban, a “nightmare” of the 1990s, been transformed into harbingers of a sparkling new dawn for Afghanistan, by the sheer passage of time?
India’s increasing involvement in strategic infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, has Pakistan’s ISI worried. India has invested over 3,248 crore rupees in aid, half of which is going into building a transmission line to provide power to Kabul, a hydel project in Herat, a new parliament building and the vital Zaranj-Delaram road that will give landlocked Afghanistan access to the sea through Iran.