India Calls for 'Intelligence Inputs' From Quad Allies to Deal With Terror Threats From Afghanistan
© AP Photo / Rahmat GulIn this Aug. 19, 2021 file photo, Taliban fighters display their flag on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan. When U.S. President Joe Biden took office early this year, Western allies were falling over themselves to welcome and praise him and hail a new era in trans-Atlantic cooperation.
© AP Photo / Rahmat Gul
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.
"Any support forthcoming from Quad nations in getting some intelligence inputs to fight with the Global War on terror... I think that would be welcome”, Rawat said at a conference organised by Indian think tank the Observer Research Foundation.
— Dhairya Maheshwari (@dhairyam14) August 25, 2021
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”.
“Our nation is committed to ensure that we have a terrorist-free environment in the region. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, any activity that is likely to flow out of Afghanistan and find its way into India will be dealt with in the manner we are dealing with terrorism in our country”, stated Rawat.
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).
“Four like-minded countries, India, the United States, Japan, Australia, coming together to work collectively, on some of the most important issues of our time, are going to have a real impact on the lives of our people. And to do it in a way that hopefully ensures a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and peace, security and prosperity for the people of that region”, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked at a press availability in Delhi on 28 July.
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”.