North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

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  • Ganesh asked: What would be the status of India in restructuring Afghanistan after departure of NATO?

    Vishal Chandra replies: The US and NATO are likely to remain engaged in Afghanistan for years to come. I do not foresee complete withdrawal of American forces anytime soon. Even if the Obama Administration sticks to the July 2011 time frame, the withdrawal of American troops will still be a long drawn affair. Similarly, most of the European countries may pull out bulk of their troops in the next 2-3 years, but that would be no affirmation of West ‘departing’ from the region. They are likely to maintain minimal number of troops inside Afghanistan in support of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the Afghan government. The pace of withdrawal will also depend on the ground situation in Afghanistan; threat perceptions among the Western countries; and the preparedness of the ANSF. Transfer of security responsibilities to the ANSF itself will take at least 4-5 years or even more. Both the US and NATO will have to fund and provide mentors and trainers for the ANSF for years to come.

    As for the Indian presence, much will depend on the security situation in Afghanistan, the strength of the Afghan government, and how Washington and Islamabad reconcile to each other’s interests. India is likely to continue with its reconstruction assistance to the Afghan people and government to the extent possible. As a neighbouring country, India is expected to take a long-term view of the Afghan situation. The current policy may not be sustainable if the West fails to manage and stabilize the Afghan situation. India response will thus depend on the situation as it evolves on either sides of the Durand Line. In all circumstances, Indian response and policy towards Afghanistan must factor in the views and perceptions of various sections of the Afghan people. India has to be patient and cautious in its response. Any misadventure will prove counter-productive and further work to the advantage of forces inimical to the Indian interests.

    Afghanistan: India should keep a low profile for the present

    India must stay engaged, keep a low profile, earn the goodwill of the Afghan people through its multifaceted assistance programme, and stay away from any costly misadventure in the security sector.

    October 18, 2010

    Peacekeeping Partnerships: Cooperation or Conflict

    This paper seeks to understand the nature of cooperation between the UN and other IGOs in ongoing conflicts. It will examine the security framework in which these multilateral arrangements were created, the gaps they were trying to cover, and the problems and areas of opportunities.

    May 24, 2010

    Exit from Afghanistan: Playing the Game and not learning the lessons

    US calculation in backing Pakistani designs for controlling Afghanistan will bring even greater dangers to its own doorsteps.

    March 03, 2010

    Dutch withdrawal from Afghanistan may have cascading effects

    The Dutch withdrawal from Afghanistan may have cascading effects, as smaller European countries notwithstanding their importance in contribution or numerical strength, may also announce their exit citing their own national caveats in the months to come.

    February 23, 2010

    Obama’s Afghan Strategy: Surge or Retreat?

    Obama’s signal that the United States seeks to exit in 18 months will be viewed with scepticism by fence sitters in Afghanistan who will identify the victor as the one who endures.

    December 14, 2009

    AfPak : Muddled Strategies and Expectations

    Ideally, ISAF and NATO should concentrate on urban population centres along with the ANA, and the ANA should also deploy outside the towns and cities to dominate the hinterland and crack down on Taliban controlled areas.

    December 11, 2009

    Will NATO Stay On in Afghanistan?

    A new actor was inducted in the decades-old Afghan conflict when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) assumed command of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in August 2003. NATO's entry into the Afghan theatre took place in the backdrop of the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003. With the United States diverting its resources and greater attention to Iraq, NATO was to expand its operations throughout Afghanistan in support of the US-led coalition force in a phased manner.

    September 2009

    Afghanistan: Stability on the Cheap?

    Eight winters since the launch of Enduring Freedom, the turmoil in Afghanistan continues. When contrasted with the progress in Iraqi Freedom, the gloom only deepens. Having applied the necessary mid- course corrections to the ‘ wrong war ’ (Iraq), there is hope on the horizon; despite the Obama administration’s shift of gaze and focus to the ‘ right war ’ (Afghanistan) to include a renewed and reworked military thrust, the initiative continues to rest with the Taliban.

    August 17, 2009

    Nuclear Weapons and India-Pakistan Relations: A Complementary Comment

    Nuclear weapons deter by the possibility of their use, and in no other way. Although US and Soviet arsenals became grotesquely excessive in both numbers and diversity in the late 1960s, by the later 1908s there had been very extensive reductions in both numbers and types. NATO's collective doctrine had accepted that the only sen-sible role for its nuclear weapons was for war-termination. Western governments had increasingly accepted the idea of sufficiency, recognizing that notions of nuclear supe-riority were vacuous.

    May 2009

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