The Great Game in Afghanistan: Rajiv Gandhi, General Zia, and The Unending War. The book by Kallol Bhattacherjee is out Now.
Afghanistan was not destined for the kind of violence that rages in the country at present. In the 1980s, as Moscow planned to end the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, a cross-continent plan was put in place for which US, USSR, India, and Pakistan joined hands. The aim of this plan was to ensure a seamless transition of power following the Soviet withdrawal that would ensure that the hard line Islamists who fought the anti-Soviet jihad as part of the mujahideen would not get a monopoly over power in post-Soviet Afghanistan.
For this “scenario”, the United States reached out to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India. The role of Rajiv was specifically to connect the US with the USSR through a back-channel talks. The role of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, President Ronald Reagan of the US and General Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan was of utmost importance in this context.
Such was the consensus for a solution to the war between the mujahideen and the Soviet-backed government of Kabul, that India, US, USSR, and Pakistan supported the idea of a coalition government including all political segments should be formed in Kabul that would work as a transition arrangement and avoid bloodshed till a full-fledged government was formed.
However, international dynamics changed as General Zia’s condition at home improved and the Jihad in Afghanistan intensified. This book narrates the complex diplomacy that drew India and Pakistan together into a solution for Afghanistan and how that quest for peace and stability failed and triggered a long drawn war that rages in South Asia till now.
About the author:
Kallol Bhattacherjee is a post 9/11 journalist and he has been studying inter-state violence and political culture in South Asia. He studied international politics at the University of Delhi and JNU where his work focused on the American popular cultural campaign regarding West Asia. He has reported from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and has covered, the Arab Spring from Tunisia, Libya. He traveled to Syria and Iraq to report on the ongoing war in those countries.
He also reported on India-related issues from Central America and the United States. He has been a UN Foundation Fellow in 2013.
He is at present a Senior Assistant Editor with The Hindu newspaper where he reports on diplomatic issues. At The Hindu, his notable work has included the coverage of Nepal, India-Pakistan issues and the reports on the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
The book which is published by Harper Collins is an interesting take on the delicate subject and is available on all the online shopping portals and the book stores. Click here to order the book.