India rethinking strategy on Afghanistan; changing situation challenging: Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Sunday said the "changing equation" in Afghanistan is a "challenge" for India, and it has compelled the government to rethink its strategy. He further said the formation of QUAD is in line with this "changing strategy." This comes a day after External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the Afghanistan crisis.
What did Rajnath Singh say?
Speaking on Afghanistan, Singh said, "The changing equation in Afghanistan is a challenge for us... These situations have forced our country to rethink its strategy. We are changing our strategy and the formation of QUAD underlines this strategy." Singh said the Centre is considering forming Integrated Battle Groups, which will facilitate faster decision making and increase the number of integrated fighting units.
Jaishankar, Blinken discuss Afghanistan crisis
Singh's comments came in the backdrop of a telephonic communication between Jaishankar and Blinken on the latest developments in Afghanistan on Saturday. "Spoke to US Secretary of State Blinken. Continued our discussions on Afghanistan. Also exchanged views on the agenda of UNSC (United Nations Security Council)," Jaishankar tweeted. Blinken, too, tweeted that he discussed shared priorities including continued coordination on Afghanistan.
13 US troops died in bombing at Kabul airport
The discussion between Jaishankar and Blinken followed two days after a bomb attack by Islamic State-Khorasan outside Kabul airport killed 13 American troops and around 170 Afghans. After the bombing, India said the attack reinforced the need for the world to stand united against terrorism.
What else did Rajnath Singh say?
Singh's comments on Afghanistan were made during his address at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington. Talking about the India-China border standoff, Singh said the situation was "very critical" as Chinese forces were trying to march ahead on Indian territory. He termed the standoff with China as a "unilateral attempt made to change the status quo on the border."
Singh praised Indian Army's efforts amid border row with China
Praising the Indian Army's stance during the Indo-China border standoff, Singh said, "With this, our security forces once again proved that we are committed to facing any enemy anytime and in any situation, to ensure our national security, regardless of the cost."
'India wouldn't hesitate from leading counter-terrorism ops in Pakistan'
On Pakistan, Singh said, "If a ceasefire (between India and Pakistan) is successful today, it is because of our strength. In 2016, cross-border strikes changed our reactionary mindset into a proactive mindset, which was declared in 2019 (Balakot air strike)." He further asserted that India would not only end terrorism on its land but also not hesitate to conduct counter-terrorism operations on Pakistan's land.