India, China almost on the same page on Afghanistan

Monday, 30 April 2018 02:35 Written by  Read 121 times

It is without a shadow of a doubt that Afghan war has internal factors, yet the foreign causes are greater and also more important than the internal ones. It seems impossible to put an end to the ongoing conflict unless the foreign causes are stamped out. As long as the regional and global powers continue to challenge and confront their rivals in Afghanistan, stability in the country will remain elusive.
Forging a regional and then global consensus on Afghanistan is a key step forward towards eliminating the foreign causes of Afghan conflict. Of course such consensus should not be on papers only; it should be backed by practical actions, too. When the parties to the Afghan conflict come to the conclusion that only stability can better serve their interests, that will be the moment peace efforts will begin to come to fruition.
Although Afghan government has not yet been able to forge such consensus, there are some promising developments, one of which is the agreement of India and China to undertake joint economic projects in Afghanistan. According to Indian media, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed during Modi’s visit to China to invest in a joint economic project in Afghanistan. While details of the project in the pipeline are unknown, it is a positive development indeed.
Although India and China maintain state-to-state relations with Afghanistan, they were considered apparent rivals because of Beijing’s close ties with Islamabad. New Delhi thought China views the Afghan imbroglio through the prism of Islamabad, but the recent agreement for joint China-India investment in Afghan infrastructure bolsters the belief that Beijing doesn’t link its bond with Kabul to that with Islamabad, and it rather fosters mutual relations.
The united stance of China and India on Afghanistan also sends a message that the sides of Afghan conflict, which seem to be on opposing fronts, can find a common ground by virtue of successful diplomatic efforts. If other foreign sides of the Afghan conflict – the United States, Pakistan, Russia and Iran – also seek commonalities, they too can achieve the same synergy. Afghan government must take the initiative to encourage all sides to seek a common ground than confront each other.

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