Afghanistan: A Role for India

R K Sawhney, Arun Sahgal and Gurmeet Kanwal

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The Af-Pak region is perceived as the base of global and regional terrorism, with the presence of international terrorist groups such as the Al Qaeda, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and other UN proscribed non-state actors as Jamaat-ud Dawa. Hence, stability in the Af-Pak region is of vital interest to India. A stable Afghanistan also relates to India’s immediate foreign policy goals of a peaceful periphery, good relations with neighbours, transformation of relations with the major powers and working with the international community to see a rapid recovery of the world economy. In the past, growing hostility between India and Pakistan placed Afghanistan in the centre of confrontation in a wider dyad of mutual hostility. However, now there is greater acceptability by the international community for a role for India in Afghanistan. As a major stakeholder in regional stability, India’s engagement will remain crucial. India’s growing economic footprint provides it enough leverage to support Kabul in many ways, while the potential for aid and development remains largely untapped.

This book is a collection of essays on the situation in Afghanistan from the Indian perspective by a task force of well-qualified experts assembled by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies. The authors’ views reflect India’s interests and priorities, which often differ from the Western perspective. The panorama covers the situation in Afghanistan today, foreign interventions and state building, the emerging strategic environment, US’ Af-Pak strategy, alternative futures, the Pakistani factor in Afghanistan’s stability, and India’s role in nation-building. This work will be a valuable contribution to understanding the extremely complex situation in Afghanistan, from which India cannot disengage itself.

R K Sawhney, Arun Sahgal and Gurmeet Kanwal Lt Gen Ravi Sawhney is a post-graduate in Defence and Security Planning from the Royal College of Defence Studies, London, prior to which he attended Defence Services Staff College at Wellington and the College of Defence Management, India. During a service of approximately 40 years in the Indian Army,
he has held important appointments in staff and command of different combat units and field formations. He was the Director-General of Military Intelligence and was subsequently the Deputy Chief of Army Staff. Post retirement, he was deputed by the Government of India to monitor the situation in Afghanistan. He is presently a Distinguished Fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi.
Brig Arun Sahgal is Consultant, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi, and a Distinguished Fellow at the School of Geo-Politics, Manipal Academy of Higher Education. In a career spanning over 36 years in the Indian Army, he held a number of command, staff and instructional appointments. As Director of the Office of Net Assessment, Integrated Defense Staff, Brig Sahgal undertook long-term strategic assessments and the development of India’s future military capabilities. He introduced Net Assessment techniques in the Indian security planning. He holds a Master of Science (Defense Studies) and a PhD in Defence and Strategic Studies. Brig Gurmeet Kanwal commanded an infantry brigade on the Line of Control (Operation Parakram, 2001-03) and an artillery regiment in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir Valley (Operation Rakshak, 1993-94). Formerly Director, Security Studies, Observer Research Foundation; Senior Fellow, IDSA; and Senior Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies; he is currently Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi. Brig Kanwal has authored several books, including Nuclear Defence: Shaping the Arsenal; Indian Army: Vision 2020; Pakistan’s Proxy War; Heroes of Kargil; Kargil ‘99: Blood, Guts and Firepower and Artillery: Honour and Glory, and writes on security issues for leading national newspapers.



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