Afghanistan: Reconciliation through Regionalism
Paper presented at 25th annual conference of British Association of South Asian Studies (BASAS), University of Southampton, UK, 11-13 April 2011.
This paper attempts to explore the possibility of a regional solution to Afghan conflict involving simultaneous progress in three peace processes—within Afghanistan, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and between India and Pakistan. Each of these peace processes confronts considerable challenges, despite recent inclination of the state parties concerned to cooperate. The emergence of terrorism as a common threat in South Asia necessitates harmonisation of inter-state relationships and subsequent creation of a geopolitical framework that incorporates respective national security interests of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. However, for eventually avoiding unnecessary competition that often accrues from state interests defined in geo-political or security-strategic terms, the paper goes a step further in proposing a geo-economic framework for regionalism, which may help the three countries perceive a common stake in resolving the conflict in Afghanistan, tackle its terroristic and extremist manifestations in the region and resolve lingering bilateral disputes. It concludes by stressing the potentially significant value of recent inter-governmental initiatives indicative of a possible trend towards geo-economically-centric regionalism, particularly the conclusion of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline treaty in December 2010. The pipeline agreement has great potential for fostering a mutually beneficial economic link among Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, and bringing resource-rich Central Asia and energy-starved South Asia together for collective regional progress.

Full Text of the paper is not available, as it is in the process of publication in the forthcoming issue of Contemporary South Asia.