The US’ hasty troop pullout in Afghanistan has become a subject of criticism in India, with officials worried that a Taliban regime in Kabul could align with Pakistan and threaten Delhi’s security interests. At the same time, the US views Delhi as being central to counter China in other parts of Asia.
India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday that “intelligence inputs” from Delhi’s “Quad” allies in dealing with potential terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan would be “helpful” for the South Asian nation.
The Indian general’s remarks were made in the presence of Admiral John C. Aquilino, the commander of the US’ Indo-Pacific Command.
Rawat said at the summit that one shouldn’t look at the challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and the unfolding security situation in Afghanistan through the “same prism”, although added that “both pose challenges to the security in the region”.
The Indian general revealed that the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban had been anticipated by Indian policymakers, but admitted that the developments unfolded quicker than Delhi had expected.
“India was anticipating the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan a couple of months down the line…The timelines have surprised us”, he said.
Rawat’s remarks are reflective of Delhi’s evolving needs from the US-led, four-nation “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue”, which the US says is focused on addressing the challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. Afghanistan is separately dealt with under the US’ Central Command (CENTCOM).
China has been scathing in its criticism of the US-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, describing it as an effort to contain the rise of Beijing in the global world order. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has referred to the Quad as an “Indo-Pacific NATO”, also terming Washington’s policy in the region as posing “a big underlying security risk”.