OneWorld is publishing the full text that Andrew Korybko sent to The New Indian Express’ Pushkar Banakar in response to his inquiry about the significance of the Taliban requesting the resumption of flights with India.
The Taliban is trying to show India just how sincerely it hopes to have pragmatic relations with it in spite of New Delhi’s lack of recognition of their de facto government. India invested over $3 billion in hundreds of development projects in every Afghan region so it’s a valuable partner for whoever runs the country. Afghanistan cannot be reconstructed without some form of Indian assistance. The Taliban hopes that New Delhi will also help the Afghan people avert their impending humanitarian crisis.
The first step to that is resuming flights, which could allow Indian officials and businesspeople the opportunity to return there and consider whether to invest some more or at least send some targeted aid. This move should therefore be seen not only as a political one, but also as an economic and humanitarian move as well. The Taliban is approaching India because they truly appreciate its investments in Afghanistan over the years.
They don’t want India to remain excluded from the so-called “Afghan Game” since they’re wagering that it might reconsider “playing” in order to compete with China and Pakistan there in a “friendly” economic way that would ultimately help the Afghan people avert their impending humanitarian crisis and reconstruct the country. It would therefore be wise for India to objectively assess the pros and cons of doing so, though returning to this “game” would require it to accept the Taliban’s de facto government and all that entails for the BJP’s image at home and abroad.
An excerpt from this text was included in The New Indian Express’ front-page news brief titled “In first missive, Taliban seek flight resumption”