A regional (di)solution

by Dafydd on 11/4/2009 · 3 comments

At the recent RIC (Russia, India & China) summit (reported here) there was not much by the way of progress on some sort of common strategy for Afghanistan.

Seems that Russia, in particular, and China are fairly keen on some sort of common front on the war. India, on the other hand, is too suspicious of China, and too focussed on a strategic relationship with the US to go forward.

While I am unconvinced the Obama administration would be terribly worried about some sort of common agenda between these nations of Afghanistan, there probably are some corners of the US security establishment that would not be too keen.

For my money, the bottom line is the US/NATO/West would probably be delighted if somebody else anybody else would take up some slack.

Even if it were to save just one life,  shorten the deployment by just one day.

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– author of 23 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

I am a UK citizen & resident with a long standing interest in Central Asia. This probably has something to do with student days, a late night TV show called 'The Silk Road' and a TV with no remote control. I currently work in software and live with my wife & three children.

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Joe Harlan November 4, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Well, it depends on which nations we’re talking about, and whether the slack taken up is military or economic, and what effects it has besides just in Afghanistan.

Recently the Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony stated that Indian troops will not be deployed to Afghanistan. This is about a year after the rumor that India was offering 120,000+ troops — something that would surely push it into a war with Pakistan.

Obviously the US security establishment doth protest too much when some other neighbors pump money into the country, whether it’s to the east (China) or west (Iran), despite the visible improvement it can have.

But should any of Afghanistan’s stronger neighbors (China, Iran, Pakistan) contribute significant land forces, it would be interpreted by at least someone as an invasion. And lord help us if Russia did it!

anan November 5, 2009 at 12:09 am

Joe Harlan 11/4/2009 at 11:04 pm,

The US has given Afghanistan $38 billion in grants. India, China, Iran, and Russia are not even in the same ballpark. They could all contribute far more in economic aid and a civilian surge.

They could also contribute many thousands of noncombat “trainers” to NTM-A/CSTC-A with the provision that they can’t be used as embedded combat advisers. In the case of Russia and India, this would be a political necessity to avoid Pakistan and the Gulf Sunni Arabs flipping out.

China, India, Russia, Iran and other countries could also contribute economic aid, trade, investment, for Pakistan. They could also offer training to the Pakistani security forces. {In practice Pakistan would only accept Chinese and Western help, but the mere fact that India, Iran and Russia offered it would be a positive signal.}

Prithvi November 8, 2009 at 4:58 pm

What an absurd rumor about Indian troops in Afghanistan. What would have been the logistics of moving them there? I can’t think of a single neighboring state that would allow 120,000 Indian soldiers to pass through their country into Afghanistan.

It reminds me of something I read in the Guns of August. While in the first month of WWI the French were falling back on Paris, the BEF was in headlong retreat from Belgium, and Russians had been crushed at Tanneberg, equally absurd rumors were circulating in Britain and France. Apparently tens of thousands of Cossacks were being shipped from Archangelsk to Scotland, and then sent by rail to Southern England, where they would be taken to the Channel ports to reinforce the Western Front.

It was all wishful thinking and fantasy, of course.

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