Trump’s remarks on India betray complete ignorance of Afghanistan’s history

06 January, 2019, 22:41 | Author: Gregory Stephens
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Not only that, but they apparently ignored the countless examples of his personal character and leadership style which would have otherwise informed them that emphasizing a library of all things is probably the worst way to appeal to the American President and convince him that India is a reliable burden-sharing ally in Afghanistan.

The meeting between the two NSAs came a day after India rejected US President Donald Trump's observation, ridiculing New Delhi's massive humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Many Afghans were also offended by Mr Trump's reference to the Soviet Union's war against terrorists in Afghanistan, considering his comments an insult to the memory of mujahideen, many of whom are honoured as freedom fighters and martyrs in Afghanistan.

Analysts pointed out Trump may not be on the same page with the USA administration on India's role in Afghanistan.

The US president on Wednesday took a swipe at what he claimed were Modi's frequent comments on building the library: "You know what that is?" And look at the results today.

When The New York Times reported last month that orders had been given for the withdrawal of 7,000 United States troops from Afghanistan, it was a bolt from the blue. "Russian Federation should be fighting", he said. He also went on a tirade against allies for not spending enough on overseas engagements while the United States, he claimed, spends billions. That's like five hours of what we spend. Afghanistan made it Russian Federation, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan.

For India, these developments may appear discouraging, but a more pragmatic view is necessary to deal with all possible outcomes.

Advising Pakistan not to become a party in intra-Afghan affairs, the speakers at a seminar have called on the country to play a constructive role in Afghan peace process, saying Afghanistan's stability means Pakistan's stability. The decision to abandon the SAARC in favour of groupings like BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) and IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) may have provided some short-term returns in "isolating Pakistan", but it has had the effect of cutting Afghanistan loose from Indian leadership of South Asia as well.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel too spoke out against Trump's statement, tweeting: "Tenor & tone of the US President describing the Prime Minister of India is not in good taste & is completely unacceptable".

A Canadian soldier serving in Afghanistan inspects some of the Soviet munitions found by the troops in bunkers near Kabul. It is precisely this rich heritage of knowledge and experience, which India has, that a succession of American administrations have denied themselves. India justified its partnership with Afghan. India's approach has focused on capacity-building along with building infrastructure. This partnership is built on the "specific needs and requirements worked out with the Government of Afghanistan", sources said.

Trump: "The reason Russian Federation was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russian Federation".

Imran Khan was sworn in as Pakistan's Prime Minister in August a year ago. It is disappointing to see how the Pakistanis are ready to talk to regional and extra-regional powers, but have denied themselves the opportunity of talking to India on any resolution to the Afghan problem.


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