India is concerned about the proliferation of conventional weapons and night vision technology among Taliban and Haqqani Network connected jihadists in Pakistan, with the United States leaving billions of dollars worth of military gear in Afghanistan.
The Indian military brass, commanded by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, is due to meet this week to discuss the impact of a Taliban administration in Afghanistan on India and the subcontinent's security.
Given that the Taliban, a global terror group named by the United Nations, is ideologically and operating affiliated to terrorist groups based in Pakistan such as the tehreek-e-Taliban, the jaish-e-Mohammed and the Haqqani network, the military brass will examine and evaluate Taliban security needs in Kabul including all three chairmen of the service. The issue is of significance because there will not be Unites States military in Afghanistan for the first time.
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The Indian military is concerned about a few security issues. First, with the United States leaving billions of dollars worth of equipment in Afghanistan, jihadists in the Indian subcontinent will have a severe proliferation of conventional weaponry, with advanced M-4 and M-16 rifles replacing the common AK-47. The military-grade night vision systems, which are generally subject to the United States export control regimes, tactical drones, and loitering ammunition are the main sources of concern. These United States made military weaponry is likely to end up in the hands of Punjabi Islamist groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayebba (LeT) who are waging a Kashmiri insurgency against India.
Another concern is that the Taliban's ties to Pakistan-based terrorist groups may provide Islamabad with plausible deniability in the event of a terror attack in India. Terrorist groups are expected to relocate training camps to Afghanistan under the protection of Taliban 2.0 and the Haqqani Network, which has ties to Pakistan's deep state, as they did with Taliban 1.0. China would feed jihadists from the west through Pakistan and Islamabad to put pressure on India on the western front, while the eastern and northern fronts remain unresolved due to the People’s liberation army belligerence.
While the Indian military is confident in its ability to deal with increasing jihadist pressure from the west, it is anxious about a terror attack on India's vast coastline, with Pakistan-based groups providing logistics at sea. The Indian Navy and Coast Guard will have to prepare for such an event in this scenario.
Experts think that New Delhi opened with the Taliban late. If India had done this earlier and had a more balanced approach in Afghanistan, things would have been very different instead of placing all of its chances on the unstable Ghani leadership. However, India and New Delhi can still manoeuvre by improving their diplomatic relations with the Taliban, though their tough current situation, to safeguard their Afghan interests.
To carry weapons within India and to use them to drop explosives on important locations, the Indian Air Force will have to reinforce its radar air protection networks because Pakistan based jihadists do not want to employ drones. Only the beginning was a drone attack on Lashkar-e-Tayebba Jammu Air Base in late June.