THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 13 October 2020 Talking peace (Indian Express)

Talking peace (Indian Express)

Mains Paper 2: International Relations 
Prelims level: Afghanistan and Taliban talks
Mains level: India and its neighborhood- relations


  •  Abdullah Abdullah is no stranger to Delhi, and his visit last week as the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation in Afghanistan was part of building a “regional consensus” for the Afghan talks.
  • Afghan talks were held in Doha between the Taliban and representatives of the Afghan government, civil society and others.
  • India, with its age-old ties to Afghanistan, as well as its strategic interests in the region, is an important link in this process. The ball, now, is in Delhi’s court.

Violence stands unabated:

  • As the US and the Taliban engaged in talks to fix a timeline for the exit of American and other international troops from Afghanistan, it was Pakistan that played the facilitator in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.
  • The memory of the Kandahar airstrip in 1999, where India had to give in to the demands of the hijackers in a deal negotiated by the Taliban, who were acting at the behest of Pakistan, has been the ghost at this table for Delhi.
  • And the fears have only grown as, facilitated by the US’s urgent desire to quit Afghanistan, the Taliban looks set to make a comeback in Kabul, with Pakistan playing a supportive role.
  • In the best-case scenario, the Taliban will return in a power-sharing arrangement with the elected government.
  • In the worst-case scenario, it could be a return to chaos, or a violent take-over as in 1996, should the talks collapse.
  • Along with the struggle by the two sides in the Afghan talks to find common ground, the violence in Afghanistan has continued, underlining the need for a ceasefire.

Delhi’s dilemma:

  •  Delhi appears to have accepted that it has to play a role in the emerging Afghanistan.
  • From Abdullah’s visit, it is apparent that Kabul also wants more Indian engagement in the process. But India seems as yet unsure as to what that role should be.
  • Certainly, opening channels of communication with the Taliban now seems inevitable even though concerns about the Taliban’s links with the Pakistan-nurtured Haqqani network and the ISIL are only growing.
  • India must also resolve a contradiction inherent in any outreach to the Taliban.
  • Can Delhi continue to maintain that it will have nothing to do with Pakistan?
  • At the very least, it would mean an acknowledgement that Pakistan has an equally important role in any regional consensus.
  • Considering the differences in what each country and the two sides in the Afghan talks want as outcomes of the process in Doha, this is Delhi’s difficult dilemma to solve.


  • India is an important link in the ongoing process in Afghanistan. Delhi needs to define its role in a time of transition.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1)With reference to the expansion scheme of National Cadet Corps, consider the following statements:
1. A total of one lakh cadets from 173 border and coastal districts will be inducted in the NCC.
2. One-third of the Cadets would be girl Cadets.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer:  C

Mains Questions:

Q.1)What are the impacts of Afghanistan and Taliban talks on India- Afghanistan relations? By so far, India’s policy towards peaceful Afghanistan, do you think there is need of change in India’s Afghan policy? Comment.