India should caution Obama against ‘good Taliban’ approach: Mishra

March 21st, 2009 - 8:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meeting with US President Barack Obama early next month, former national security adviser Brajesh Mishra Saturday said the Indian government should try to convince Washington about the fallacy of making a distinction between “good Taliban” and “bad Taliban”.
“There is nothing like good Taliban or bad Taliban. Taliban is bad. All Taliban are equally bad and dangerous. We should try to make President Obama and his team understand this,” Mishra said at a seminar here.

The seminar was organised by the Observer Research Foundation, a public policy think tank.

Mishra suggested that there are many occasions over the next month where India can make this point to the US and the international community.

The prime minister should raise this point when he meets Obama in London on April 2 on the sidelines of the G20 summit, said Mishra, a close aide to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

India should project its viewpoint on the dangers of opening negotiations with the so-called good Taliban at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Moscow and at an international conference on Afghanistan at the Hague March 31, Mishra said.

Saying that India is now low on the US radar, Mishra said the Obama administration was shifting its policy regarding the Taliban and was eager to ensure more Pakistani assistance to fight a section of the Taliban.

Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Pakistan Satinder Lambah is likely to represent India at a regional security conference organised by the six-nation SCO in Moscow March 27 that will focus on promoting stability in that country.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has repeatedly expressed India’s unease about the speculated US move to involve the “good Taliban” in a future power-sharing arrangement in Afghanistan.

Alluding to the festering boundary dispute between India and China, Mishra, who held negotiations with Beijing during the Vajpayee government, said the Chinese are keen to solve the boundary dispute, but they felt the present government lacked the political will to do so.

He said India had got two good opportunities to solve the boundary problem - once during the prime ministership of Jawarharlal Nehru and another during the period of the Indira Gandhi government in 1980. “There was no political problem then, but we created problems ourselves,” he said.

He said if the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance came back to power, it would make significant progress in resolving this dispute.

The seminar was inaugurated by M.K. Rasgotra, a former foreign secretary. China experts and former diplomats, including Salman Haider and K. Raghunath, C.V. Ranganathan and Srikanth Kondapalli also participated in the seminar.

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