It does not take long for great powers to develop more than one point of interest once they have entered an area of strategic significance. It would therefore be fanciful to imagine an America-free Afghanistan in the foreseeable future. “All this blood and treasure was spent for what?” some Americans will ask. Also the chant in Kabul once was “We must remain in the vicinity to keep a watch on the world’s only Muslim nuclear state.”

It is intriguing that an unprecedented number of the accidents have taken place involving Indian naval vessels during Antony’s tenure as Defence Minister. It is also intriguing that these accidents have not taken place in the mid-sea but on the shore. India has done a number of exercises with the foreign navies in the recent past, all without any mishap. Recently, the Indian Navy conducted a massive month-long naval exercise ‘TROPEX 2014’. Around 60 ships and submarines, and 75 aircraft took part in this exercise. This exercise in which both the Western and Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy participated was again without any mishaps.

The most intriguing aspect of the entire saga is that the ‘emergency locator transmitter’ fitted externally to the aircraft has not triggered, which happens with absolute degree of certainty whenever an aircraft makes a ‘g’ impact on the ground or water.

The forgoing assessment emphasizes on the eastern course possibility. Is this the reason the US has been on an overdrive to underscore the ‘western course theory’? Was the tweet from Talbott, a deliberate diversionary tactic? Readers can now make their own assessment.

Visits to New Delhi by leaders of Saudi Arabia, Iran in quick succession would seem to suggest something new is happening in West Asia to which Indian attention is required. Some historic changes have already placed the region on a path of hope: the election of President Hassan Rouhani, his historic telephonic “hullo” with President Barack Obama, positive movement of the Geneva process on Iran’s nuclear programme, etcetera.