JAMMU: Department of Strategic and Regional Studies, University of Jammu and White Knight Corps jointly conducted a two day Seminar on Afghanistan Dynamics at General Zorawar Singh Auditorium. The Seminar concluded today with a round table discussion on India’s policy options in Afghanistan.
The seminar titled ‘Afghanistan Dynamics : Impact on Regional and Strategic Environment’, was graced by eminent strategists and luminaries who generated discourses on present situation in Afghanistan. It started yesterday with the Inaugural Address by Lt Gen Balbir Pama, SM, Chief of Staff Northern Command, who defined the aim of the Seminar as being two folds. One, to see how India as a friend could contribute in Afghanistan’s rebuilding and secondly to see as to how the unfolding situation may affect India in general and J&K in particular, in the backdrop of US drawdown.
The key note address was delivered by Ambassador KC Singh. Mr Singh highlighted how the society in Afghanistan was segmented and why the US withdrawal at this juncture was not in anybody’s interest. He said that Pakistan had overplayed its hand in opposing US and is now desperately trying for a reset of their equation.
Prof MPS Ishar, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor Jammu University presided over the inaugural session. In his address The VC said, we should understand that countries act as per their permanent interests. The interests of big powers may not be in our favour and we should act as per our own strategic concerns.
Among the other eminent speakers were Ambassador MK Bhadrakumar, Dr SS Bloeria, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor Central University, Prof GN Khaki from Kashmir University, economic expert Prof Nisar Ali, Prof Gulshan Dietl from JNU and many senior serving and retired army officers.
Spanned over four sessions and a round table, the Seminar covered subjects like Afghan political situation, resurgence of Taliban, stakes of India and other regional countries in Afghan nation building, implications of impending US withdrawal and India’s policy options.
Ambassador Bhadrakumar, who headed the Pakistan desk in MEA in the first half of nineties, said that we should not see Taliban from the prism of Western countries. We should endeavour to open our own communication channels with them and look for a regional cooperation framework. Good relations with Pakistan are a key to peace in the neighbourhood and Indian Government has initiated right steps in that direction. However, Mr Bhadrakumar said, the situation is fluid and we need to remain vigilant. We should not lower our guard on the border management front and do everything to prevent overflow of terror into our territory.
Most of the speakers in the final session were of the view that India faces a threat in the eventuality of US withdrawal and consequently Taliban regaining space in the polity of Afghanistan. It may have adverse impact on our security and India needs to gear up for the challenge by putting in place its internal security framework and revisiting the counter mechanisms.
In his concluding remarks Lt Gen A S Nandal, AVSM, SM, GOC White Knight Corps said, “There is an increasing realization amongst the world community today that dealing with terrorism is an extremely complex process and there are no quick fix solutions”. He further added that “India’s strategic vision for Afghanistan is based on belief that economic and human resource development is the best way to deal with myopic ideologies which are trying to push mankind back to medieval times.
It is heartening to see that most countries in the world, including bulk of our neighbors, today agree with our vision and policies. Our challenge lies in preventing the spillover of Taliban ideology and the resultant violence into our country, especially in J&K. The challenge is immense, but not insurmountable. By employing skillful diplomacy and other means available to the state we can overcome this challenge”.
The Seminar was attended by students of Jammu University in large numbers. It set another milestone by involving Bhaderwah Campus also through a video conference. Students of Bhaderwah raised relevant issues at the end of each session and the initiative was appreciated by one and all.