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Afghanistan and the Indian support

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  • Afghanistan and the Indian support

    Reading the gloomy picture expressed in the other threads and the skepticism regarding Indian involvement and support in Afghanistan; I thought it would be better to open a thread highlighting India's moves in Afghanistan, as a better way to gauge India's confidence in helping to build a stable Afghanistan post-2014.
    Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
    -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

  • #2
    Some significant developments in the past few months;


    Indian consortium wins $10bn Afghanistan mines deal


    A consortium of Indian companies has won the right to develop some of Afghanistan's large iron ore deposits, Afghan mining ministry officials say.

    Seven Indian companies, led by the state-owned Steel Authority of India, won a $10.3bn (Ł6.6bn) deal to mine three sites in central Afghanistan.

    A fourth site was awarded to Canada's Kilo Goldmines. All the contracts are due to be signed early next year.

    Last month, Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership deal with India.

    In a development that correspondents say caused some concern to India's strategic rival Pakistan, the two sides said the aim was to boost trade, security and cultural links.

    Exploitation of the estimated two billion tonnes of iron ore deposits in Hajigak mine - located in Bamiyan - is expected to begin by 2015.

    Officials say that the project has the potential to be Afghanistan's single biggest foreign investment project.

    The Hajigak deposit contains an estimated 1.8 billion tonnes of iron ore, with an iron concentration of 64%, the mines ministry said in a statement. The figures are based on a survey carried out in the 1960s.

    The ministry said last year that Afghanistan could be self-sufficient within a decade if its mineral resources - which some estimates have valued as high as $3tn - are properly exploited.

    But correspondents say that questions are certain to be asked as to whether investors will want to advance the large sums of cash required to start building mine and rail infrastructure in the country, which at the moment is almost non-existent.

    Their unease is almost certain to be enhanced given the renewed uncertainty in Afghanistan ahead of the planned withdrawal of most Nato troops from the country by late 2014.

    The mines ministry says that Afghanistan has vast reserves of oil, gas, copper, gold and lithium.

    BBC News - Indian consortium wins $10bn Afghanistan mines deal
    Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
    -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

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    • #3
      India plans 'world's most dangerous railroad' from Afghanistan to Iran


      India is planning to build what could be the world's most dangerous railroad from Afghanistan's mineral-rich heartland to an Iranian port on the Arabian Sea in attempt to open a new trade route and reduce Kabul's dependence on Pakistan.




      Details of the new plan emerged on the eve of the Istanbul conference on security and economic development in Afghanistan in the run-up to the planned withdrawal of American troops in 2014.

      Washington has urged India, Pakistan and Afghanistan to co-operate in creating a new 'Silk Road' of trade ties to break the current suspicion which mars political relations and restricts potential trade.

      India expects American hostility to its plan, however, because it will bolster Iran's sea capability by developing a major port at Chabahar on the southern tip of the country facing out over the Gulf of Oman.

      For India, the prize is a potentially highly lucrative contract to mine Afghanistan's iron reserves, which are estimated to be worth up to $3 trillion – several times the size of India's growing economy – and the strategic advantage of a new trade and logistics route to Afghanistan which bypasses Pakistan.

      Despite recent improvements in diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan, trade is still highly restricted and while Afghan imports trickle slowly through Pakistan into India at the Wagah border, between Amritsar and Lahore, Indian exports to Afghanistan through Pakistan are almost non-existent.

      The new route would allow Afghan minerals and products to be shipped to Surat, Mumbai or private ports in Gujarat on India's Western seaboard.
      Sources close to the project said an Indian delegation from its foreign, railways, shipping and commerce ministries, will visit Iran next month to continue negotiations on the plan which are understood to have been discussed between the two countries when Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met in New York in September.

      The plan is a revival of an idea which has been discussed infrequently between the two countries since 2003, but it has regained momentum following the discovery of vast reserves of iron ore and other coveted minerals in Afghanistan in the last few years.

      While earlier plans extended the current Iranian rail network to the Afghan border in the north and linked to Chabahar via a spur from Bam and Faraj in the south, the new plan extends the rail link to Hajigak in the heart of Afghanistan's Bamiyan province, 80 miles north-west of Kabul.

      India accounts for more than half the 22 companies bidding for iron ore mining contracts in the region.

      A leaked memo from India's Ministry of External Affairs to its Railways ministry said the economic potential of the mineral reserves called for a new approach. "To coordinate the strategy for investment in Hajigak in the backdrop of the security, infrastructure, financial and regional challenges involved, there is a need to plan and craft our strategy to address these challenges," the memo stated.

      The plan appears to have Afghanistan's backing. An Afghan official last night told The Telegraph:"Whenever it suits them, Pakistan can close the border. We don't want to be dependent on them."

      One figure close to the project said although India's plans look to exploit Afghanistan's mineral reserves, the threat to any rail development from the Taliban and other militant groups would be so great that it would have to be regarded as a strategic rather than commercial project. "They could blow it up at any time," he said.

      India plans 'world's most dangerous railroad' from Afghanistan to Iran - Telegraph
      Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
      -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

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      • #4
        India to help train Afghan security forces

        India will help train Afghan security forces under a deal signed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, according to a copy of the agreement released by India.

        The two nations agreed on a wide range of political, trade and person-to-person links under the strategic partnership deal signed Tuesday.

        The agreement comes at a time of increasing tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan, India's fiercest regional rival.

        Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday downplayed the significance of the agreement.

        "It does not make a difference to Pakistan, nor does it cause Pakistan any harm," he said on GEO TV.

        But Kanwal Sibal, a former Indian foreign secretary, laid out the regional tensions to CNN on Wednesday.

        "Pakistan continues to press the international community to reduce India's role in Afghanistan, but that position has been effectively rejected by the United States," he said at a conference on the region in London.

        "Pakistan cannot have a veto over the right of a sovereign, independent Afghan government to have a relationship with India," he said.

        But, he added: "We have no interest in getting involved in the military situation in Afghanistan, so Pakistan has no reason to worry."

        One expert on the region refused to predict what effect the deal would have.

        "South Asia is a paradox. There are no consistencies in relationships between countries," said Sajjan Gohel, director for international security at the Asia-Pacific Foundation. "What may be the current understanding could well be very different in six months' time."

        Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan are particularly poor at the moment.

        Afghanistan said this week that Pakistan's intelligence agency played a role in the assassination of a former Afghan president turned key peace negotiator.

        Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was spearheading the reconciliation process with the Taliban in Afghanistan, was killed in a September 20 suicide bombing at his home.

        "There are no doubts that ISI had its involvement in the plot," Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi told Afghan lawmakers, referring to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency. "We have handed over the documents and proof to the Pakistani government."

        Pakistan's Foreign Ministry denied the claims, calling them "baseless allegations."

        Pakistan did not comment on the India-Afghanistan agreement and did not respond to questions from CNN about it Wednesday.

        The deal notes that it is "not directed against any other state or group of states."

        It also includes a promise of Afghan support for India's quest to get a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

        India to help train Afghan security forces - CNN
        Although this had already been going on for some while on a smaller scale; a more recent development;


        India plans to train 30,000 Afghan soldiers

        NEW DELHI// India plans to fly 20,000 to 30,000 Afghan troops to training bases in India over the next three years and is expanding its presence in Afghanistan as US troops leave.

        The US is reportedly eager for more countries to take on part of the US$12 billion (Dh44bn) training bill for the Afghan security forces, and is also running out of time, having set 2014 as the deadline for transferring combat duties to local troops.

        With the Afghan government unwilling to let Pakistan take over any of the training, it has fallen to India to assume much of the burden.

        A report in Jane's Defence Weekly this week says that up to 30,000 recruits will be flown to India for training in regimental centres across the north and east of the country as part of the strategic partnership signed between the two countries in October. The best soldiers will receive additional training at the army's Counter Insurgency Jungle Warfare School in the state of Mizoram.

        Military sources also say the Afghan troops will be supplied with assault rifles and other small arms, with the possibility of later transferring "heavier weaponry such as rocket launchers, light artillery and even retrofitted Soviet T-55 tanks that the Indian Army is retiring".

        Until recently, India had avoided military aspects of the Afghan conflict, preferring to focus on "soft power" projects such as road-building, electrification and the construction of the new parliament in Kabul.

        But India has grown increasingly concerned about the quality of the Afghan National Army and its ability to combat the Taliban after the drawdown of Nato forces, despite being on track to meet its target strength of 240,000 troops by 2014.

        "I detest these numbers that are put forward," said retired General Ravi Sawhney, an adviser to the Indian government. "Unless it is properly trained, cohesive, and has proper logistical support, this army risks turning into a mob.

        "India has a clear interest in creating a stable Afghanistan, and we have the capacity and capabilities to train a large number of their troops."

        India is also eyeing closer ties with Central Asian countries as it seeks strategic bases to ensure stability in the region.

        It recently announced the reopening of a military hospital at Farkhor in Tajikistan, close to the Afghan border. The hospital was established by the Indian medical corps in the late 1990s as part of the extensive support India gave to Northern Alliance rebels fighting the Taliban regime.

        It was here that the Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah Massoud was rushed after being attacked by suicide bombers just two days before the September 11 attacks. His death marked a severe blow for anti-extremist forces in Afghanistan.

        The hospital was later abandoned and rumours that India would station military aircraft at another base in Tajikistan were never realised. Many in New Delhi's military circles feel it is time to re-establish a presence in the region.

        "We need a footprint north of Afghanistan," said Ramesh Chopra, a former chief of Indian military intelligence, who is now an adviser to the government. "The hospital is a start, but we need to increase our presence without stepping on anyone's toes."

        Others are quick to point out that India, famously cautious in its foreign policy, is unlikely to station any military assets in Central Asia.

        "Tajikistan is extremely important to India strategically, and we are concerned about its vulnerability to terrorism and drug smuggling," said Meena Singh Roy, a Central Asia expert with the Institute for Defence and Security Analysis in New Delhi.

        "But the hospital is part of India's soft power strategy - it is not part of the military cooperation."
        India plans to train 30,000 Afghan soldiers - The National
        Last edited by Tronic; 14 Feb 12,, 06:07.
        Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
        -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

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        • #5
          The flip side is that Pakistan will continue to pump the Taliban with weapons and cash to keep Afghanistan on the boil.
          The Indian presence in Afghanistan puts Pakistan within a picer grip, that takes away the strategic advantage that it had of concentrating its armed forces towards India. To address the pincer, Pakistan will have to use its reserves.

          Cheers!...on the rocks!!

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          • #6
            Captain, when Pakistan insists on playing diplomacy by the barrel of the gun, than what can others do?

            Btw, I'd actually like to leave discussing Pakistan out of this thread and focus solely on India vis-a-vis Afghanistan. There is really nothing new about the Pakistani stance.
            Last edited by Tronic; 14 Feb 12,, 08:10.
            Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
            -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

            Comment


            • #7
              Tronic Reply

              "...I'd actually like to leave discussing Pakistan out of this thread..."

              That will prove difficult when considering the context of Indian civil and military aid. Consider this comment made by an Afghan official WRT the railroad article-

              "The plan appears to have Afghanistan's backing. An Afghan official last night told The Telegraph:'Whenever it suits them, Pakistan can close the border. We don't want to be dependent on them.'"

              A strong, independant and viable Afghanistan with unresolved border disputes against Pakistan poses an unacceptable nat'l security threat to Islamabad. Everybody knows that.
              "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
              "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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              • #8
                S2, I realize that, but once Pakistan gets involved you will start to see people dropping by with pointless and baseless accusations about Indian intent and motives (Balochistan, covert war, consulates; I'm sure you've heard it all). As far as I am concerned, Indian intent is very clear; an aim to help empowering the Afghans build a strong independent state free from Pakistani reliance.
                Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
                -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tronic View Post
                  S2, I realize that, but once Pakistan gets involved you will start to see people dropping by with pointless and baseless accusations about Indian intent and motives (Balochistan, covert war, consulates; I'm sure you've heard it all). As far as I am concerned, Indian intent is very clear; an aim to help empowering the Afghans build a strong independent state free from Pakistani reliance.
                  And this is exactly the opposite of what Pakistan wants, right? They might feel encircled. Also, from what I understand their political/military/intelligence structures benefit from destabilized Afghanistan.

                  In my mind there are no pure, altruistic, intentions in high politics - it is all math.
                  No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

                  To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

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                  • #10
                    Its all fine and dandy to have an InA trained ANA doing the bulk of CI operations against the Taliban. However, in absence of NATO and its Air Support, I doubt that the newly raised/hurridly raised ANA can take on the enemy all alone. They would still require Air Support to keeping scoring sustained victories, in order to frustrate and eventually demoralize the militants. Where do they get that?
                    sigpicAnd on the sixth day, God created the Field Artillery...

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                    • #11
                      The ANA has sufficient and competent ability to take on the Taliban, but not the combined might of Taliban and Pakistan Army. Something is needed to tie down or prevent the Pakistan Army from openly aiding the Taliban.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        DCL & Blademaster Reply

                        "...I doubt that the newly raised/hurridly raised ANA can take on the enemy all alone. They would still require Air Support to keeping scoring sustained victories,.."

                        Major,

                        After ten years it's not been "...hurridly...". Further, it's not as though a goodly number of those guys hadn't fired a weapon in anger before joining the ANA. It'll take more than air support. Down on the ground, it'll take Indian troops to stiffen their moral spine.

                        That's the real issue. Short of that, nine times out of ten they'll look the other way and avoid a fight.

                        "The ANA has sufficient and competent ability to take on the Taliban, but not the combined might of Taliban and Pakistan Army..."

                        They've never had to fight the P.A. Those troops aren't crossing the border. Nor would they. Select officers and, maybe, N.C.O.s are doing so as cadre and liaison.

                        As such, the ANA have sufficient numbers. Training? Plenty...if they've been listening and are prepared to apply their lessons. Doubt it, though.

                        It's going to take some ballsy Indian officers and N.C.O.s acting in the same capacity as our S.F.-mentoring, comms to air support and arty. It'll take better air support and arty than the afghans can or would likely provide. 24/7 fire support isn't part of their lexicon.

                        It'll take actual ground forces to provide the backbone to any meaningful ops...or they just won't be all that meaningful.

                        Sorry but I'm convinced of that. India will have to replace ISAF with significant numbers of troops and cadre IN AFGHANISTAN. Short of that and that government and military will have a projected life-span of, maybe, five years.
                        "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                        "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          S-2,

                          You misunderstood me. When I said the combined might of Taliban and PA, I meant PA's logistics and support staff, not combat troops. Without the PA's help, Taliban is nothing but an insurgency force. No artillery or armor (light) support or aerial support. ANA will get artillery, aerial support, and very basic armor support. I don't think that the US would totally leave Afghanistan. I think US would leave a sufficient contingent group to aid the support of ANA's organic assets while being in the rear guard. The best thing for US to do is to train ANA in the basics of artillery support and aerial recon and continue the supply of cheap artillery and aerial drones and supply cheap air to ground attack propeller planes. Those drones and planes won't be seen as a threat to PAF. And PAF won't go after the ANA as long as ANA has the support of US. The main thing is that US cannot do a repeat of the 1991 events where USSR/Russia completely cut off all support to the pro-communist regime in Kabul or a repeat of the 1975 events in South America after Congress cut off all support from the South Vietnam regime.

                          With all those things, I think ANA can survive the Taliban and improve for the better. Oh one more thing, Afghanistan need to further develop its intelligence services to counter the ISI and Taliban infiltrations.

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                          • #14
                            S2,

                            They've never had to fight the P.A. Those troops aren't crossing the border. Nor would they. Select officers and, maybe, N.C.O.s are doing so as cadre and liaison.

                            As such, the ANA have sufficient numbers. Training? Plenty...if they've been listening and are prepared to apply their lessons. Doubt it, though.

                            It's going to take some ballsy Indian officers and N.C.O.s acting in the same capacity as our S.F.-mentoring, comms to air support and arty. It'll take better air support and arty than the afghans can or would likely provide. 24/7 fire support isn't part of their lexicon.

                            It'll take actual ground forces to provide the backbone to any meaningful ops...or they just won't be all that meaningful.

                            Sorry but I'm convinced of that. India will have to replace ISAF with significant numbers of troops and cadre IN AFGHANISTAN. Short of that and that government and military will have a projected life-span of, maybe, five years.
                            i've seen some widely varied open-source assessments of ANA performance. for the most part, it is widely negative, but even in the pessimistic reads there are some bright spots, particularly within what constitutes the ANA SOF (commandoes, really, as opposed to how we think of SOF).

                            makes me wonder what it will look like come withdrawal in 2014. isolated pockets of excellence in a sea of mediocrity; wonder if that will be enough to keep it all from collapsing. the commie gov't did pretty good even after soviet withdrawal; the big issue was the cut off of funds by the soviets, which shouldn't...i hope...be as much of an issue here.
                            There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Doktor View Post
                              And this is exactly the opposite of what Pakistan wants, right? They might feel encircled. Also, from what I understand their political/military/intelligence structures benefit from destabilized Afghanistan.

                              In my mind there are no pure, altruistic, intentions in high politics - it is all math.
                              Doktor, the important thing here is that the Afghans share the same interests as us.
                              Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
                              -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

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