'Afghanistan crisis poses security challenge for India'

India does not want forces inimical to it to get an edge after Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi has been concerned over the possibility of the change of regime in Afghanistan being exploited by Pakistan

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Credit: PTI File Photo

India does not want forces inimical to it to get an edge after the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday.

Singh said that the “recent developments” in Afghanistan had posed a “new security challenge” for India. His comment came a fortnight after the Taliban militants marched into Kabul after occupying many provincial capitals in a swift blitz across Afghanistan – taking advantage of the withdrawal of the troops by the United States and its NATO allies.

The Government is closely watching the recent developments in Afghanistan, as they have posed new security challenges for India. “The security of Indians is a cause of concern for the Government. We also do not want that anti-India forces to take advantage of the evolving Afghan situation for cross-border terrorism,” the Defence Minister said while delivering a lecture on national security.

New Delhi has been concerned over the possibility of the change of regime in Afghanistan being exploited by Pakistan and its “iron-brother” China to gain a strategic edge against India.

The Taliban and its affiliate Haqqani Network are known as creations of the military-security establishment of Pakistan, which has been keen to gain a “strategic depth” in Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s links with the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) as well as other Pakistan-based and anti-India terrorist organizations have been well documented.

Singh, however, did not directly refer to the Taliban or its imminent return to power in Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan particularly fuelled speculation about n imminent rise in terror attacks in India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). But Singh on Monday said that the J&K would always remain an integral part of India. “The anti-India forces have understood that they are no longer in a position to do much in the Kashmir Valley, especially after the abrogation of the Article 370 (of the Constitution of India). I want to assure you that no power in the world can separate J&K from India,” said the Defence Minister.

He lauded the Indian Army for responding with “bravery and restraint” to the unilateral moves by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to alter the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto boundary between India and China – in eastern Ladakh. He said that any border dispute could only be resolved peacefully and through dialogue. He, however, also said that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would never compromise when it comes to the borders, honour and self-respect of India. 

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