Taliban recognize goodwill of Afghans towards India and want to profit from it: ex-envoy Yogendra Kumar

File photo of members of the Afghan Taliban delegation before an agreement is signed between them and US officials in Doha, Qatar, February 2020 | ANI via Reuters

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New Delhi: The Taliban regime recognizes that there is great goodwill among the Afghan people towards India, and wants to build on it, former ambassador to Tajikistan and the Philippines Yogendra Kumar said on Wednesday.

“The Taliban have welcomed Indian (humanitarian) aid even when it was provided under the previous government. In a way, they recognize that there is tremendous goodwill among the Afghan people for everything India has done there and they want to tap into that goodwill, ”Kumar said, speaking at the event. of a webinar organized by the Institute of China Studies, titled “India, China, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and regional geopolitics”.

The webinar revolved around India’s engagement with the SCO and Afghanistan, and how it will balance this with its Indo-Pacific agenda. ThePrint was the digital partner of the event.

Founded in June 2001 and based in Beijing, the SCO aims to provide security and maintain stability throughout the Eurasian region. Its member states are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. Iran joined the organization earlier this month.


Read also : Taliban chancellor bans women at Kabul University from creating “true Islamic environment”


“Growing resentment among Central Asian countries towards China”

Happymon Jacob, associate professor of diplomacy and disarmament studies at the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, who was also on the panel, explained that China intends to use the OCS to promote issues such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at the international level.

The BRI seeks to build rail, sea and road links from Asia to Europe and Africa, as part of a revival of the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

“Beijing will seek to use the OCS as a promotional vehicle for the BRI. And at the moment, it seems to be working, ”said Jacob.

Yogendra Kumar noted that although there is no reaction from Central Asian countries against the BRI, resentment is definitely growing.

“More so, this (resentment towards the BRI) is combined with the situation in Xinjiang, where some Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Tajiks are in (Chinese) detention camps,” he said.

Since 2019, China has come under scrutiny for its treatment of Uyghurs, a Turkish ethnic group, in Xinjiang province, and the alleged detention of people in internment camps. Muslim minority ethnic groups such as the Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Kazakhs have also been subjected to alleged inhumane conditions.

Neighboring countries like Kazakhstan have seen surges in protests in which protesters demanded the release of detainees, some of whom were family members.

“India should work with Russia to defend the interests of the SCO”

According to Jacob, the SCO will try to fill the void left by the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. He also noted that the group has “anti-American streaks”, which will only grow.

It will be tricky for India, which is a member of the SCO and is now a close ally of the United States. But he had a suggestion for New Delhi.

“There is some resentment in Russia about Chinese hegemonic behavior in its neighborhood. I think New Delhi would do well to use its relations with Russia to defend its interests in the SCO, ”said Jacob.

(Edited by Rachel John)


Read also : Saudi Arabia recognized the first Taliban government in 1996, but the geopolitics of the Gulf have changed


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