We should prepare our security systems in such a way that no external force or terrorists dare meddle in our country and create law and order problems, writes former IAS officer V.S.Pandey
The Taliban recently announced the formation of an interim government which includes the names of some of those who are in the United Nation’s list of dreaded terrorists and are carrying millions of dollars ,as bounty, on their heads. The newly appointed interior minister of the Taliban government is a dreaded terrorist who is responsible for killing a large number of innocent people in terrorist activities, spanning decades. The interior minister is a declared stooge of our neighbor which is known to harbour terrorists as a state policy. Now the international community is more worried -not about the future of the Afghan people, who are opposing the Taliban take over, but about the peace and stability of the whole region. The role of regional players is also being watched closely by the international community because , as things stand today , there is every likelihood that some countries will fulfill their self interest, by supporting the Taliban regime . They will ignore the long term consequences of such brazen toppling of a democratically elected government, by force. One fact that has clearly emerged from the happenings of the past fifteen odd days is that the Afghan people , barring a miniscule minority, are totally opposed to the Taliban regime and its autocratic governance .
There are growing concerns in India about the developing situation in Afghanistan. With the appointment of the Pakistani supported Haqqani group leader, becoming the Interior Minister, it can be safely predicted which way the wind will blow in the near future. This appointment sends a clear signal to the world community that for the new Afghanistan regime, terrorism is not anathema , rather they reward those who kill thousands of innocent people just to achieve whatever they decided.
The moot question is what should India do and how it should react to what is happening in its neighbourhood. As we all know, in the realm of international relations , there are no real friends or foes but only self interest. This is the same Taliban against whom the Americans fought for decades- spending trillions of dollars. But this is the same America who sat to negotiate with them. America created the Afghanistan military , trained them , equipped them with all the hardware and fought Taliban. But when self interest became overpowering, America did not bother to safeguard the interest of the Afghanistan government or the Afghan population and vanished from the scene leaving the Afghan country chaotic. So talking to various countries to safeguard India’s interest will not bear any fruit. Every country whether in the neighbourhood or otherwise is interested only in protecting their own self interest and in furthering their own influence in the region . Action by other countries in their self interest may benefit India by default occasionally, but ultimately we have to protect the integrity , sovereignty and interests of our nation ourselves without waiting for others to act.
In the present scenario India has to decide whether it values democracy or not? It has to decide whether it is willing to talk to those who use only violence as a means to achieve their ends? The Taliban also could have become part of the political process of their country and come to power but they chose war and violence as a potent means to gain power. Do we want to have anything to do with those who have no faith in democratic way of coming to power? Should India ignore the fact that under the Taliban regime ,women and other sections of the population have lost their human rights which they enjoyed for the past two decades?
As far as our country’s security is concerned, we should be on our own and not be dependent on any other country . We should prepare our security systems in such a way that no external force or terrorists dare meddle in our country and create law and order problems . Undoubtedly we have huge and capable armed forces to ensure the integrity and sovereignty of our country. In addition to military power, we need to uplift millions languishing below the poverty line and ensure prosperity for all in the true sense of the term. We have to become a strong nation in every respect and then only we will be free from the pin pricks of our rogue neighbors.
We can change everything but not our neighbors, they are there for ever and they are not going to change . Instead of worrying about the consequences of any such kind of development beyond our boundaries, as has happened in Afghanistan, we need to focus all our energies and resources to build a strong defence system along side a fully educated, poverty free country . Then only our people will become secure and live happily in prosperity and peace. This is the task cut out for our nation’s government. The time has come to change the way our governments have worked in the past .The future is ours if we work hard today, with integrity, only in the interest of our people and our country. And not otherwise.
(Vijay Shankar Pandey is former Secretary to Government of India)