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Taliban Unlikely to Support Anti-India Activities From Afghan Soil: Experts

© AP Photo / Ebrahim NorooziA Taliban fighter checks an Islamic State group house that was destroyed in the ongoing conflict between the two in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023.
A Taliban fighter checks an Islamic State group house that was destroyed in the ongoing conflict between the two in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 16.03.2023
New Delhi may not have recognized the Taliban*, but India's engagement with the hardline Islamic group in Kabul appears to have escalated in recent months.
The Taliban is unlikely to support or facilitate activities that could be detrimental to India from its territory, New Delhi-based geopolitical pundits said on Thursday.

Their remarks come at a time when the participation of a Taliban delegation in an online course called "Immersing with Indian thoughts" conducted by the country's premier Indian Institute of Management in Kozhikode has raised eyebrows.
After the Taliban stormed to power in Kabul in August 2021, India pulled out its staff from the war-ravaged country, including shutting down its embassy in the Afghan capital.
Months later India announced that it would provide 2,500 metric tonnes of wheat as humanitarian assistance to address the growing food crisis in Afghanistan. New Delhi subsequently opened its embassy in Kabul in August 2022.
Earlier this month, during a meeting of the India-Central Asia joint working group on Afghanistan, another tranche of 20,000 metric tonnes was announced by New Delhi as humanitarian aid to Kabul.

India's Main Objective is Counter-Terrorism

However, according to Dr. Shalini Chawla, a distinguished fellow at the New Delhi-based defense think tank, Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), India's gesture shouldn't be seen through a particular prism.
"India has been always committed to humanitarian and developmental assistance to the Afghan people. The Taliban delegation participating in a four-day online course is an extension of India's policy towards Kabul," she told Sputnik.
"The exposure is intended to provide the Taliban with a better understanding of India. It could be seen as a part of India's initiative towards capacity building which India has done in the past as well," she added.
The geopolitical expert who specializes in India-Afghanistan relations reckons that one of India's critical objectives in Afghanistan has always been to ensure that Afghan soil is not used by non-state actors against India.
An Afghan police officer stands guard during a campaign rally in the Paghman district of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, June 9, 2014.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 09.03.2023
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Chawla stated that India's relationship with the Taliban will certainly carry this message, as New Delhi would want to guard itself against any spillover from the alarming security situation in its neighborhood.

Afghanistan Engulfed in Deep and Multiple Crises

On the other hand, Ajai Sahni, the executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management and runs the South Asia Terrorism Portal, believes that a single event (Taliban's participation in the course) of this nature has very little significance.
However, it may signal an openness on the part of the Taliban for a deeper engagement.

"The Taliban regime is facing deep and multiple crises and has few partners in the international community. Its relationship with Pakistan is fractious, and is likely to worsen over conflict along the Durand Line," Sahni told Sputnik.

"It is unlikely to support or facilitate anti-India activities from its soil. Further strengthening of relations between the Taliban regime and India would make any such activities more unlikely," he concluded.
*under UN sanctions for terrorism