بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Answer to the Question
Relations between America and India, led by Modi, and the Kashmir Issue The Relationship of China and Afghanistan and the Taliban
My question is of the three parts, please pardon me:
First, the latest meeting between Obama and Modi has received intensive media coverage, but it did not result in any real decision, it seems that there is still a problem between the United States and between India and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Can you point out the disputed issues between the two parties?
Second, given that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India and Nawaz's party in Pakistan, are both loyal to the United States, and that the issue of Kashmir is draining India, then why is India stalling in resolving the Kashmir problem?
Third, China will meet with the Taliban to conduct mediation talks, did the United States permit this, or is it conducted independent of it? What is China's purpose behind this mediation?
Jazak Allah Khair
First, to understand the relations between America and India, led by Modi, the following points should be taken into account:
1. Modi has inherited a heavy legacy of problems in relations between America and the Congress party during their ruling period of ten years, before that during the years of the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) relations between New Delhi and Washington were unprecedentedly rejuvenated, but that all changed when the BJP lost in the general election in 2004 and the Congress party - pro-Britain - took over power. In 2010, the Indian Parliament passed the Nuclear Responsibility Law, which put excessive restrictions on suppliers for nuclear power plants; this is to deter the United States and its firms from entering into the Indian market, the implementation of the law made the conclusion of the civil nuclear deal with the United States in 2005 impossible. On the other hand New Delhi strongly rejected the US attempts to start a dialogue on Kashmir, and called on Washington to take tough action against Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai attacks in 2008, as well as its difference with Washington over its role against the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), and regarding many trade disputes.
It was expected that the two countries have many common trade relations, which originated during the years of the rule of the Congress Party, but the United States objected, for example, to use the seal "Made in India" in solar panels, describing it as a violation of the laws of the WTO, India remains busy in defending itself against the complaint submitted to the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization by the United States in 2013.
2. During the rule of the Congress party, the Indian public held a negative image of America, this worsened because of the contemptuous treatment of Washington to Indian diplomats. As a result, Modi's first mission was to improve America's image among Indians, especially among the political center. Modi polished the image of America in front of the Indian public, through Obama's visit to India as the chief guest of the Indian Republic, along with the signing of the nuclear deal.
3. President Obama now, before the general elections to be held in the United States in the fall of 2016, is like a lame duck, all his focus is on the Democratic Party's election victory. Whatever the case, Obama has to split his time between participation in local election campaigns, and focus on the many crises abroad, so it is unlikely that Obama could do much to overcome 10 years of rule by the Congress Party of India.
In light of these factors, it is difficult to see any tangible progress on the declarations made at the Obama and Modi Summit. At best, there will be close cooperation on issues that unite the American and Indian interests in the region, such as the fight against "terrorism" emanating from Pakistan, and reduce the influence of China. However, there are several obstacles that created a bit of a gap as a result of the ruling of the Congress party, it will take some time for Modi and Obama to overcome them and remove them. The Former US Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwell, said while he during a speech on the relations between America and India under the rule of Modi in New Delhi on January 2015, "... with respect to the United States strategy towards India during the next two years, in my view, at best our expectations should be modest, contrary to what it was at the beginning of the last decade, neither this prime minister or this president will be able to make a strategic shift in relations between the United States and India, so in my opinion there will be no real strategic partnership between the two in the next two years." ["The Atmosphere of the Relationship between the United States and India and Common Trade", January 24, 2015].
In other words, Blackwell expected the relations between the two countries to catch their breath and regain full strength during the time of Obama's successor and not before.
Second: As for the issue of Kashmir, it was surrounded by many complications during the rule of the Congress party making Modi in need of some time to be able to put the Kashmir issue on the table:
1. Since the rise of the Congress Party to power in 2004, and the issue of Kashmir has mainly been put on the shelf, despite the fact that Pakistan, under Musharraf's rule, made numerous concessions to start the stalled dialogue process between the two countries. However the Congress Party rejected any initiative by Musharraf and insisted that the Kashmir issue is an internal matter.
2. The situation remained as it is until the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 CE, after that all prospects of a resumption of dialogue on the issue of Kashmir were completely frozen, the Indian government changed its tone, and pressed Pakistan to recognize that it is guilty in the attacks, and must work to rein in all the armed groups operating inside Pakistan, especially the group "Lashkar-e-Tayba" ... The Indian government in October 2010 accused the ISI (Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency) for being responsible for the planning of the attacks, and said in a statement, "The ISI was involved in planning an attack in 2008 on the Mumbai terrorist ... " ["The Indian government: Pakistan agents are behind the Mumbai Attacks", The Hindustan Times, October 19, 2010].
3. In the wake of the Mumbai attacks, there was a strain in relations between Islamabad and New Delhi, and any attempt on the part of Pakistan or America to push for the resumption of dialogue on Kashmir was rejected by India.
4. At the time, America has been pressing India to ease tensions along the border with Pakistan, especially on the Line of Control, so as to allow Pakistan to re-deploy its troops on the border with Afghanistan to help the United States in the fight against the resistance in Afghanistan. But India did not shift from its position on Kashmir, and forced both Pakistan and America to accept the new reality.
5. During the rule of the Congress Party in India, public opinion about any concessions on the issue of Kashmir to Pakistan froze. Thus, when Modi took over the Prime Minister's Office on 26 May 2014 CE, he was in front of a 10-year challenge of the Congress Party's obstinacy to abandon its non-negotiable position on Kashmir.
6. America has tried to pave the way for the rapprochement between India and Pakistan as a step for the negotiation in order to find a solution to Kashmir, and therefore Nawaz defying the feelings of Muslims visited India, congratulating Modi and attended his inauguration ceremony, despite that he is known for his animosity to Muslims ... by such a step it made them further apart rather than closer.
7. Then there is another issue: all Indian political parties are committed to Kashmir as a part of them, so even if the BJP and Nawaz are loyal to America, it is not easy to solve the Kashmir issue as a negotiated solution, but the correct and fair solution is to end its occupation by the Hindus by force, which is an easy matter by the will of Allah if there was a sincere state in Pakistan to Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw), we pray that it will be soon, by the permission of Allah.
With all this, it is not unlikely that America will gather the two parties together, but this may take time.
Third: the relationship of China and Afghanistan ... and the Taliban:
1. China has focused considerable attention in the development of trade relations with Afghanistan, and the Mineral Group's state-owned company have spent $3 billion on a copper mine in Aynak Mine "about 50 kilometers south of Kabul." China National Petroleum Corporation (the largest oil company in the country) agreed in 2011 to develop the Amu Darya Basin in Afghanistan, which is a project that will generate $7 billion in profits. China National Petroleum Corporation has helped to create the first site for the production of oil in Afghanistan, with an annual energy estimated at 1.5 million barrels ["China and its presence in Afghanistan," The National Newspaper, November 1, 2014]. Moreover, China has recently announced the New Silk Road project costing billions of dollars, the project consists of three parts, the first part starts from Xi'an in China and passes through Pakistan and ends in Turkey. The second part extends from Bangladesh to Myanmar, while the third connects the Fujian coast of China with the rest of the world. And the revival of economic Silk Road belt was one of President Jean Ping's ideas, which is being implemented, developed and expedited in its implementation since the last quarter of 2013. Thus, Afghanistan is an important piece in this great project. Also, China's large appetite for resources will increase in Afghanistan, with the presence of more than $1 trillion in potential mineral wealth.
Thus it was not surprising that as soon as Ashraf Ghani became president of Afghanistan his first foreign visit was to China, where he was rewarded with new commitments from Beijing, and China has pledged to give Afghanistan 2 billion yuan ($ 327 million) in aid during 2017, in addition to the 250 million dollars that it contributed to Afghanistan since 2001. In addition, China has promised to provide training for 3,000 Afghan professional staff, as well as assisting in the development of the Afghan agriculture, hydropower, and infrastructure.
From the above, it is clear that China has a strong commercial interest in developing strong relationships with Afghanistan in the near future.
2. China cannot exploit its trade relations with Afghanistan, unless the country is stable ... and stability requires a strong government in Afghanistan, and that is why China is keen to support the Ghani's government as much as possible. Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, said during his visit to Kabul on 22 of February 2014, "The peace and stability in this country has an impact on the security of west China, and most importantly, it affects the peace and the development throughout the region, and we hope to see political reconciliation broad-based and inclusive in Afghanistan as soon as possible, and China will play a constructive role to facilitate this ... The country that is divided has no future." [Reuters, February 22, 2014].
Hence, the interest in the stability of Afghanistan by China. There is also another matter, China is afraid of the threat that emanates from the Afghan border with China, known as the Wakhan Corridor, it is a narrow strip of land in the northeast of Afghanistan, and extends from China and Tajikistan, and it separates between Pakistan and Kashmir region in Pakistan, and is located between the Pamir to the north and the Hindu Kush to the south, and its length is about 350 km, and of a width between 13-65 km. It forms a channel to facilitate the movement of Uighur Islamic fighters, who cause an internal security issue for China, where the Taliban are harboring and training militants from "East Turkistan Islamic Movement" of Uighurs in Afghanistan and the tribal areas in Pakistan, the Uighur fighters are fighting for an independent homeland free of Chinese domination. This has been clearly shown by the Chinese Foreign Minister during his visit to Kabul last year, in a statement published by the People's Republic of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the purpose of the visit, he said: "... to promote cooperation in the field of security, and cooperation in other areas such as counter-terrorism, and combating the East Turkestan Islamic movement Islamic" ["Wang Yi will hold talks with Afghan Foreign Minister", the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Czech Republic, February 23, 2014].
In light of the points mentioned above, China supports the continued US presence in Afghanistan after December 2014 to maintain stability. This has been highlighted clearly i.e. the public encouragement of China for Hamid Karzai to sign a bilateral security agreement. In September 2013, the spokesman for President Hamid Karzai, Aimal Faizi, said that the president of China provides support for Afghan foreign relations with regional and foreign countries, specifically with the United States, in an attempt to bring peace and stability in the region, and that China supports the conclusion of a security agreement between the Afghanistan and the United States, [China supports the security agreement between Afghanistan and the United States," Kama Newspaper, 28 September 2013]. The newspaper added that China also announced that it supports the peace process led by Afghanistan, and it is ready to play a role in the Afghan peace talks, i.e. peace talks with the Taliban ... from these statements, which are all in the same context, and other similar statements, it is clear that China supports America for the stability in Afghanistan, as well as it supports peace talks with the Taliban with the full knowledge of the Americans.
Also, China has set up in November 2014, a "forum of peace and reconciliation," as reported by Reuters, in an effort to play a greater role in Afghanistan in order to push the peace talks, [Reuters, November 11, 2014] and find ways to mediate in a peace agreement between the Government of Ghani and the Taliban. Thus, recently the Taliban has visited Beijing, and China is supporting Pakistan to put pressure on the Afghan Taliban movement to achieve reconciliation with Ghani's government. This cannot be interpreted as China wanting to take America's place in Afghanistan, but on the contrary, the interests of Beijing and Washington are in harmony with the issue of stability in Afghanistan. In this regard, a US official said, "The United States and China have agreed to work together to support the Government of Afghanistan, and national unity, and the security forces, and economic development; to ensure that Afghanistan is not used once again as a safe haven for terrorists." ["China progressing to mediate in the stalled peace talks with the Afghan Taliban," Economic Times, February 13, 2015].
All this shows that China is interested in stability in Afghanistan due to the development of its large economic interests there, which is consistent with the United States on the subject of the stability of Afghanistan ... and it is also interested in reconciliation between Afghanistan and the Taliban so that China benefits in tightening of the supply line of the fighters of East Turkistan, and this was the reason for communications by China with both parties, Afghanistan and the Taliban.
We hope that the Taliban is aware of this matter and repels the plots of China back to its land, and the brotherhood of Islam continues between them and the rebels of East Turkistan.