Indian reactions to Afghan developments are cautious. In fact not much has been stated officially in the first few days of the success of the Afghan revolution. Authorities in Delhi are known to have been making preparations to receive Dr. Najibullah and to give him political asylum but these attempts have been frustrated effectively by the Afghan revolutionaries. No Afghan group has a soft comer for India notwithstanding their mutual differences. India’s betrayal of the people of Afghanistan during the past 14  years    has been too glaring to allow any softening of attitudes in Kabul An important Afghan Mujahid leader Ahmed Shah Masood has gone on record stating that his country’s relations with India will remain “poor.

The emergence of an independent Islamic government in Afghanistan is bound in due course to have a profound {impact on the constellation of forces in south-east Asia against the backdrop of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The two developments will weaken India and its ambitions to dominate the region. Notwithstanding the growing U.S. interest in India the latter would find the going tough in its dealings with Pakistan. Rawalpindi does not appear to be as vulnerable to Indian pressures as it has been all these decades. Relations among some of the Russian states and Pakistan are far more cordial than their ties with India.

On the other end of the spectrum are the sour relations between India and Bangladesh between India and Burma and between India and China. Delhi’s constant refrain has been that these countries provide shelter and arms to Indian rebel groups out to dismember the country. The latest report by the Indian external affairs ministry also talks of deterioration in Indo-Pak relations owing to the support extended by Rawalpindi to Sikh and Kashmir militants “Against this background and in the context of the emergence of an independent Afghanistan what are the options available to India not only in coping with the rush of international events but also in handling the local rebel groups in Kashmir Punjab and Assam? For one thing India’s political structure does not appear to provide a significant scope for its regime to maneuvers internationally or nationally. India’s ruling classes love the status quo far too much. A few clever moves are what one can expect from Delhi. A goodwill delegation going to Moscow another to Tehran and yet another to Beijing. India would certainly like to correct the disturbed balance.

Internally India does not have strength enough to think anew in the changed situation No wonder the country’s ruling class is frequently talking of a “package” for Sikhs which amounts to taking away Punjab’s rights to its river water beyond that India has no thinking on Punjab or Kashmir or Assam. As such it is hard to believe that Delhi will take any initiative to make radical changes to arrest the political rot. The events in Afghanistan are bound to give further push to dissidence in Punjab Kashmir and Assam. The stepped up militant actions against the Indian state in Punjab over the week provide a clue to the new shape of things in the region

But it must be admitted that Akali groups are no match to the emerging new situation in India and its immediate neighborhood. The Akali groups still revolve round men like Badal and are in no hurry to make known their goal in precise and clear terms. This casts a big responsibility on the shoulders of Sikh militant leadership. It is hoped that this leadership will undertake a fresh analysis of the entire political situation and will provide effective leadership to further weaken the Indian state and will rise above such premature moves as the introduction of Punjabi and the grant of increments to the professors and teachers of Punjabi. The challenge is bigger. This could be met with guru’s grace the events in Kabul augur well for Sikhs.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 8, 1996