Why in News?
Recent efforts to end two major conflicts in India’s neighborhood have become intense.
Syllabus– GS2: India & Its Neighbourhood Relations.
- Foreign policy of India has always regarded the concept of neighbourhood as one of broadening concentric circles, around a central axis of historical and cultural commonalities.
- Millions people of Indian origin, live and work abroad and constitute an important link with the mother country.
- An important role of India’s foreign policy has been to guarantee their welfare and wellbeing within the framework of the laws of the country where they live.
- The Myanmar crisis between the military & civilian administration is not new.
- In 1988, the army annulled the huge mandate won by Suu Kyi & unleashed massive repression.
- The political reconciliation was found in 2010, but the uneasy coexistence has broken down in early February, when Myanmar’s army known as the Tatmadaw, took charge of the nation in a coup & has cracked down hard on protestors since.
- Recently, ASEAN has started diplomatic talks with Myanmar’s military leadership to end the coup.
- But Political forces in Myanmar that the ASEAN initiative will only legitimize the coup & give the military leadership time to consolidate.
- The sources of the Afghan conflict dates back to the 1970s & underwent the following stages
- Rise & fall of a left-wing govt
- Soviet occupation & the jihad against it
- Chaos after Russian retreat
- 9/11 attacks
- US military intervention
- A peace summit on Afghanistan seeking to end decades of internal conflict was scheduled to take place in Istanbul.
- But due to the Taliban’s refusal to join in any peace conference until all foreign forces leave Afghanistan, the conference got postponed.
- Before talks begin it wants to denude the Afghan govt & its international supporters of their declining military leverage.
- Ever since the US began engaging with the Taliban in 2018, the skepticism about the Taliban’s willingness for peace has been high.
- The concerns of legitimizing the Taliban over the elected Afghan govt are very high.
Unsuccessful Negotiations: –
- It is easier to produce peace settlements between states by finding equal ground for compromise by glossing over complex problems with diplomatic language.
- But in a Civil wars scenario, the above techniques are harder to apply.
- Because stakes for warring parties within the nation are much higher.
- The fear of the winner taking all real power makes it difficult to negotiate & implement.
- The next challenge is that the civil wars have their origin in either sharply divergent perceptions about political power or in deep ethnic, religious cleavages.
- Unlike states can negotiate in a cold-blooded manner about their interests & find ways for reconciling them.
- Civil wars are driven by political passion which is hard to step back & accept solutions that do not meet their original demands.
- Although no two civil wars are the same, the context & issues at the hand in Afghanistan & Myanmar are different.
- Though the Taliban stopped violence against US forces but it is near impossible to get the Taliban to agree to stop its attack on its own people.
- In the Myanmar case, the ASEAN initiative calls for an immediate cessation of violence & utmost restraint from all sides.
- But similar to Afghanistan, in Myanmar persuading the military to stop violence is not a easy task.
Need of Peaceful Solution:
- ASEAN initiative for “Constructive dialogue among all parties to seek a peaceful solution” is common to all peace processes.
- But it is very difficult to engage parties in a productive engagement.
- In Afghan, Taliban is unwilling to engage with elected govt since the Taliban sees it as illegitimate.
- In Myanmar, though the army to defuse international pressure would engage dialogue with the opposition but victims of the coup cannot accept dialogue on the army’s terms.
- Role of Mediators:
- The Afghan conflict has long been internationalized where all major powers including regional powers have acquired stakes in the way conflict is resolved.
- But unfortunately, the construction of its settlement became harder due to external actors’ divisive nature of the solutions.
- In the Myanmar scenario, ASEAN has been rolling the ball agreeing to engage with all parties to the conflict.
- The US hopes that the Taliban will moderate its hardline positions given its need for significant economic assistance for reconstruction, political legitimacy & awareness of the costs of winning power in opposition to the West.
- In the Myanmar case too, the international community hope that the Military would avoid the risks of political & economic punishment.
- It is not clear how far efforts of the international community resolve the conflicts. The prospects for positive change in the near term for both nations do not look bright.
- But the ultimate analysis shows that the sustainability of any peace dialogue depends on the strong internal forces that are capable to endure the nations in a peaceful & democratic manner even against any adversaries.
India’s immediate neighbourhood directly impacts it geopolitically, geo-strategically, and geo-economically due to its closeness to the Indian boundaries. Explain in terms of India’s Neighbourhood First policy.