India may send troops to Afghanistan .. to cover US withdraw

#1
India may send troops to Afghanistan

URL: http://www.india-defence.com/reports/257
Date: 29/8/2005

29 August 2005: India will commit troops to Afghanistan to cover the two-thirds US withdrawal, but only if Afghan president Hamid Karzai sends a request letter, although he made clear in the recent meeting with prime minister Manmohan Singh that “Afghanistan’s security is India’s security”.

But still India wants a formal request, although the US first broached for Indian deployment when its defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, met the Indian defence minister, Pranab Mukherjee, earlier to the PM’s visit, seeking a form commitment, and Afghanistan separately spoke the same issue.

India accepts US and Afghan concerns that it would be an open field for the Taliban and other elements to wage war against Afghanistan in case America withdraws without filling the gap, and while the Bush administration assures that it will continue to assist the Afghan and other armies fighting there, top Pentagon generals are clamouring for intervention in North and East Africa where the Al-Qaeda is regrouping.

But any Indian intervention will be gradual, officials said, commencing with training and logistically equipping the Afghan army, and if that does not suffice, to land troops, and it is understood here that developments in Afghanistan have ramifications beyond the border, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.

During the Taliban period, twenty-four per cent of all foreign militants in J and K were from Afghanistan, and with their ouster, the percentage has dropped to two per cent.

Officials said that the US wants to withdraw after a regional commitment to secure Afghanistan from the Taliban, and that was one reason Nato was brought in for peacekeeping, while its own troops could concentrate on the war against terror.
 
#2
How will the predominantly muslim population take to being 'policed' by a predominantly hindu force? Could that be used by the radical islamists as an incitement to revolt?

Also interesting is the US's growing interest in taking on the rising tide of militant islam in the horn of africa. Mogadishu mk2 anyone?
 
#3
Right now there are around 17,000 troops/airmen/marines in Afghanistan hardly a drain on the military. The US isnt going anywhere until we get the Taliban leadership and BL & company. As for the Indian's policing muslim's, they did just that in the British Empire.
 
#4
The Indian PM Manmohan Singh is on a visit to Afghanistan in order to strengthen Indian influence in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is important to India because it sits on the central Asian trade route, a developed Afghanistan would help lessen Indian’s reliance on Pakistan in India’s trade with central Asia .Therefore the Indians giving the Afghanis $500 million in Aid to improve the infrastructure and help the Afghanis establish basic services.

I don't think the Indians are at all serious about the offer but such an announcement serves India in these ways:

1) The Offer of troops is basically a shot across Pakistani bows both countries are competing for influence in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis though they lost considerable influence after the Taliban are still probably in a better position than the Indians due to their ties to the people. However the Pakistanis do have a strained relationship with Karzai.
2) Such an offer will also please the Americans who are overstretched it will also at the same time worry the Pakistanis who seem to be going through a period of 'indifference' with the Americans.
3) The Indians have always been troubled by Afghanistan due to the fact that many Kashmiri militants use Afghanistan as base. I think the Indians are looking to the Afghani government for co-operation in clamping down on these militants.

I don't think either the Americans or Afghanis would accept the offer firstly because as AS implies it would act as a red rag to the Islamic militants also it would increase tensions with Pakistan, something that the Americans are doing their best to avoid.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
tomahawk6 said:
As for the Indian's policing muslim's, they did just that in the British Empire.
No they didn't.

Internal security duties were tasked to the closest garrison unit regardless of its or the local community's religious composition. Duty on the NW Frontier was rotated so that every British Bn in India did a tour there to get combat experience. Only select Indian and Gurkha units went there and they were rotated less often. Some became permenant fixtures, but most of the 'policing' and day-to-day heavy work was carried out by the Frontier Scouts who were themselves indigenous Pathans (and hence Moslems).

Units like the Khyber Rifles, South Waziristan Scouts, Tochi Scouts etc. gave the local lads an alternative to work on the road gang or raiding the plains. Moreover, he was given clothes, food, cash and best of all, a good rifle. All in all, the poacher-turn-gamekeeper approach was probably one of the more successful of methods tried by the British to pacify the frontier and might be a handy template for today's troubles.
 
#6
Can't imagine for one second the Pakistan government will acquiesce to the proposal. Don't think the Afghans will be too happy at the prospect of having their old enemy the Sikhs patrolling their country.
 
#7
Who the fcuk dreamed this idea up and whose arrsehole did they pull it from?

Arguably the worst piece of military planning since 'King Olaf the Hairy ordered 2000 viking battle helmets with the horns on the inside.'
 
#8
RP578 said:
tomahawk6 said:
As for the Indian's policing muslim's, they did just that in the British Empire.
No they didn't.

Internal security duties were tasked to the closest garrison unit regardless of its or the local community's religious composition. Duty on the NW Frontier was rotated so that every British Bn in India did a tour there to get combat experience. Only select Indian and Gurkha units went there and they were rotated less often. Some became permenant fixtures, but most of the 'policing' and day-to-day heavy work was carried out by the Frontier Scouts who were themselves indigenous Pathans (and hence Moslems).

Units like the Khyber Rifles, South Waziristan Scouts, Tochi Scouts etc. gave the local lads an alternative to work on the road gang or raiding the plains. Moreover, he was given clothes, food, cash and best of all, a good rifle. All in all, the poacher-turn-gamekeeper approach was probably one of the more successful of methods tried by the British to pacify the frontier and might be a handy template for today's troubles.
You must have forgotten Indian troops serving in north africa, middle east and Burma during WW2. Here is a link to the service of some Indian regiments.

http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/armyunits/indianinfantry/
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
tomahawk6 said:
You must have forgotten Indian troops serving in north africa, middle east and Burma during WW2. Here is a link to the service of some Indian regiments.

http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/armyunits/indianinfantry/
Not forgotten them for a minute (my grandad was one of them), they just don't fit your statement. They weren't "policing muslims" in those theatres, but fighting German, Italians and Japanese. Another point you may want to ponder is the fact that although there were only nine Moslems to every twenty-four Hindus in India at that time, Moslems provided 65 percent of the troops who fought in North Africa, Italy, Malaya and Burma.

A lot of the above info has been lifted from a great book called 'Armies Of The Raj: From Mutiny To Independence, 1858-1947' by Byron Farwell. Well worth a read if you're into this sort of thing.
 
#10
Some analysis about India's motivations in Afghanistan.

Selected highlights below.

India reaches out to Afghanistan
By Siddharth Srivastava

Manmohan's visit is a reminder of the concern that India has about the situation in Afghanistan, which includes curtailing the influence of Pakistan, ensuring the country does not return to fundamentalist control and hoping democracy takes firm root in the country.
On Sunday, the two countries signed three accords covering education, healthcare and agricultural research in the presence of Manmohan and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. The two leaders called for a regional effort to fight terrorism, saying militancy can only be defeated with the help of Pakistan. Manmohan handed over a famous school in Kabul, rebuilt by India, and announced 1,000 Indian scholarships for Afghan students.
India-Afghanistan since 2001
Economic and diplomatic assistance from India figures high on Karzai's agenda. The president is committed to the economic recovery of Afghanistan. One indicator is the value of the local currency, which is 42 afghanis to a US dollar compared to 40,000 during the Taliban rule five years back. Karzai has paid three official visits to India, including one in February, since he took over following the Bonn Agreement of December, 2001. He has accepted one more invitation extended by Manmohan.

The president has repeatedly referred to the economic opportunities that are opening up for India in Central Asia, with Afghanistan acting as the "land bridge" to the region. He has promised to help India (and the rest of South Asia) by turning Afghanistan into a transit point to Central Asia. This is also reflected in the Manmohan visit, with Afghanistan conveying its interest in seeking closer links with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. India for the first time acknowledged this initiative in the joint statement issued after the Karzai-Manmohan meeting. In this context, India also officially expressed an interest in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas line, which would be in addition to the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, necessary given the enormous demand for energy.
India also sees Afghanistan as a test case of its assertion of itself as a donor nation willing to hand out aid to countries in need and thus stamping its presence as an economic powerhouse in the region. India has extended a US$500-million package of assistance to Afghanistan following the transformation of the country's political structure post-2001. Manmohan committed $50 million more during his visit. India has also offered to construct the Pul-e-Kumri-Kabul section of a power transmission line, which would be of great help to Kabul, which is short of power. This contribution is apart from humanitarian efforts such as building hospitals and schools.

Afghanistan is a co-sponsor of the G-4 resolution, introduced by India, Brazil, Germany and Japan, to increase the size of the UN Security Council. The resolution has been shot down by China, Russia and the US
.

India-Afghanistan-Pakistan
In geostrategic terms, India has considerable interest in Afghanistan's future. India wants to keep tabs on as well as minimize the role of Pakistan in the affairs of the nation to ensure that a fundamentalist regime such as the erstwhile Taliban controlled by Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar does not again take root. Remnants of the Taliban are re-grouping with renewed attacks on US troops stationed in the country.
India can never forget or forgive the dubious role played by the Taliban when Indian Airlines flight IC 814 with more than 180 on board was hijacked December 24, 1999 from Kathmandu in Nepal and routed to Kandahar in Afghanistan. India had to literally go down on its knees to meet the demands of the hijackers, releasing the incarcerated Masood Azar, the spiritual leader of the terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Omar Sheikh, who later killed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The Taliban allowed the hijackers and the released terrorists to escape. It is strongly believed that the hijackers could have been intercepted once they left the aircraft. Recently, India announced a new and tough hijack policy keeping in mind the IC 814 experience.
Indeed, India believes that any breeding area of radical Islam under the aegis of Pakistan has a direct impact on the security of India, including a rise in infiltration of terrorists as well as attacks. India is never comfortable with Pakistan's influence or its relations with countries that can be inimical to its own interests.
There are also reports that suggest India is keen to provide training to military officers and supply military equipment to Afghanistan, but the US is reluctant to allow India any leeway in this matter as Pakistan may take umbrage to any such move. Pakistan leads the US "war on terror" in its western frontiers with Afghanistan where several al-Qaeda cadres, including perhaps bin Laden, are believed holed up.
It is, however, true that India could do even more for Afghanistan's reconstruction if Indian exports could be directly routed to the country rather than the circuitous journey via Iran.
Pakistan allows the transit of Afghan goods to India over its territory, but not vice versa, in its efforts to check Indian influence in Afghanistan. Ahead of Manmohan's Afghanistan visit, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Islamabad would only open the door for transit trade if progress is made on the "core issue" of disputed Jammu and Kashmir, which everyone knows will take plenty of time to resolve. India thus hopes that the construction of the Dilaram-Zaranj road will provide direct access to the Iranian port of Chabahar and a shorter route for Indian goods to reach Afghanistan. It is clear that India will want to have a say in the future of Afghanistan, despite Pakistan.
 
#11
There's a lot more to this than meets the eye. US-India-Pakistan relations, US arms deals with India and Pakistan (who gets what), pressure on Pakistan re finding/fighting OBL/AQ, you get the drift.
 

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