Besides, given the indifference with which successive governments in India have treated the issue of modernisation of the armed forces, it is doubtful if today they are fully geared to undertake offensive operations against Pakistan or China.
Alternatively, India would have to depend on the Central Asian Republics such as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to induct and support forces in Afghanistan. Both diplomatically and militarily, either of the options would be infinitely complex and logistically unsustainable. Besides, given the indifference with which successive governments in India have treated the issue of modernisation of the armed forces, it is doubtful if today they are fully geared to undertake offensive operations against Pakistan or China. To expect India to dispatch an expeditionary force into Afghanistan capable of confronting Pakistan and possibly China while under attack from all directions by the Taliban, will be unreasonable and unrealistic. Such a move under the prevailing circumstances would without doubt, be highly detrimental to the image, prestige and morale of the armed forces if not suicidal. Besides, in the last two centuries, the British, Russian and now American experience with military intervention, leave little scope for doubt that the Afghan cannot be subdued easily, at least not for long.
Relations With India and Pakistan
An Indian expeditionary force pitted against the Taliban would inevitably be seen to be colluding with the Northern Alliance. This is likely to antagonise the Pashtuns in general which is the majority community in Afghanistan fiercely opposed to the non-Pashtun Northern Alliance. Currently India enjoys goodwill of the inhabitants of the Afghan nation regardless of ethnic or tribal affiliation. India and Afghanistan have had long historical and cultural ties cherished by both sides and despite the decades of turmoil and conflict in the region, the sentiments have not diminished. India need not be unduly concerned about the fundamentalist nature of the Taliban. It needs to be understood that the Taliban are largely Pashtuns and for this community, tribal values are as important, if not more, than fundamentalist Islamic values. Talibanisation of Afghanistan therefore ought to be seen as a temporary aberration arising out of the force of circumstances and under external influence. Essentially, it is a by-product of the decade long Soviet occupation and consequent upheavals in Afghanistan especially the ethnic conflict post Soviet withdrawal.