1. Afghanistan after America’s Withdrawal
One of the biggest questions that looms over world politics is what happens to Afghanistan after 2014 when international involvement, especially American military presence, reduces significantly. Kabul has remained the centre of geopolitics for hundreds of years. World powers—Britain, Germany, the Soviet Union, the US—and their allies have all played the Great Game here. But the stakes are highest now, more than ever. US President Barack Obama is committed to withdraw his troops by 2014, though he has said some presence will remain to support Afghans in keeping the security situation stable. That is hardly likely. Even with heavy international military support, the Taliban have grown increasingly powerful and combative over the past few years. The group has increased attacks all over the country and have assassinated several influential figures such as President Hamid Karzai’s brother and Burhanuddin Rabbani, an ex-president and the key interlocutor in peace talks. After the US withdrawal, the country is expected to plunge into chaos.
India is one of the very few international players with no military involvement but a huge stake in Afghanistan’s redevelopment. It has only now signed a strategic pact with it. It has invested billions in building bridges and community institutions and is also developing mines in the Bamiyan province. Pakistan, however, has an even bigger stake and believes that it needs to control that country for strategic depth. It has been keen to thwart India from increasing its influence and is likely to step up its efforts after 2014 when Karzai, who is seen as close to India, steps down.
No one knows what will happen after two years, but everyone is aware that Afghanistan holds the key to stability in not only the region but also the world. Indian policymakers need to be prepared for a radically changed situation in Afghanistan and its impact on its own security.
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(This story appears in the 11 January, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)
More important than \"job creation\" is creation of governance and a justice system in India. Since 1947, the rule of law has been subverted into an Orwellian nightmare with an \"Animal Farm\" Constitution and the majority of Indians have been held as vote fodder in a state of servile fearfulness by ensuring that they go to sleep starving, defecate in the open and remain uneducated. In all but insouciant profligacy and corruption, India is a chronic under achiever.on Dec 22, 2012
Hi Dinesh, This was a good read. What are your thoughts in improving the job creation situation in India? How could India scale up in creating jobs? Regards, Manavon Dec 21, 2012
Dear Manav, Thanks for the comment. There are a number of measures that the government can take to create jobs. It will take very long for me to explain. I will mention just one step that will show results quickly. The small and medium scale sector in India is one of the most neglected from a policy perspective. In fact, a number of ridiculous legal and tax provisions governing them actually disincentivises their expansion and growth. Inspector Raj in this segment is pervasive, resulting in bloated costs. An overhaul of this sector alone can create millions of jobs. Dineshon Dec 21, 2012
Dear Dinesh, Your point is valid. However, shouldn\'t there be some concrete/positive reforms in the education space as well? I read recently in the TIME magazine about how China is investing heavily in education with stress on liberal arts education. I believe the time has come when one needs to have a multi disciplinary thought process in order to make a mark. The education sector needs to incorporate the ways in which to impart such knowledge. Stress should be on improving various communication (oral, written, inter personal) skills as well. Warm Regards, Manavon Dec 22, 2012