India and Afghanistan in the Post 2014 Scenario
By Shaun Tandon (AFP), May 31, 2012
WASHINGTON — India called for greater coordination with the United States on Afghanistan, voicing fear that Islamic radicals would gain strength once Western forces pull out.
NATO leaders in a May 21 summit in Chicago committed to pulling combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 as Western nations grow tired of more than a decade of war and pessimistic on the chances of further progress.
India is one of the most vocal supporters of continued engagement and has given Afghanistan more than $2 billion since the US-led invasion in 2001 overthrew the Taliban regime, which sheltered virulently anti-Indian militants.
Ahead of high-level annual talks between India and the United States on June 13, Nirupama Rao, New Delhi's ambassador to Washington, said the two nations have been holding talks on building "a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan."
"These consultations must be strengthened," Rao said at the Atlantic Council, a think tank.
"We understand that after 10 long years of war there is a manifest and genuine desire to seek an end to conflict. But equally, we must ensure that the enormous sacrifices and efforts of the past decade have not been in vain," she said.
"Given the history of the last few decades in Afghanistan and the tide of extremism and radicalism that has swept across that country to the great detriment of its men, women and children, one cannot but help be concerned about what the future holds for that country" after the NATO pullout, she said.
India's involvement in Afghanistan has enraged neighboring Pakistan, which helped create the Taliban regime and accuses its historic rival of seeking to encircle it.
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