The Hindustan Times ran the story on July 19 marking the arrival of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Indo-US Strategic Dialogue at New Delhi. It said: The US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, held security and counterterrorism talks with Indian officials as the two countries try to broaden their relationship and manage mutual concerns about Pakistan and Afghanistan. Post Obama promulgation of USAs exit strategy, India has remained worried about its role in Afghanistan, especially when it counts the cost of its painstaking investment targeted against Pakistan in the so-called extended neighbourhood of Afghanistan. In the last 10 years, India in connivance with the coalition, built up an extensive network of terror in Afghanistan specifically designed to target Pakistans interests. On the northern flank, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was the ultimate boggy and frontrunner of this malicious design, whereas sub nationalist dissidents from Balochistan in the southern Afghanistan were trained and supported to keep the province on fire. New Delhi also initiated and completed infrastructural projects in Afghanistan to create an Indian imprint on the Afghan national psyche, especially in the non-Pashtun areas; this was supported by an intelligent Bollywood media machine and RAW guided education schemes. The message to the Afghan people was very clear, it is India that they should look for strategic relations and not Pakistan for it was responsible for all the ills in Afghanistan. What India and the US led coalition did not realise was the term AfPak coined by the Obama administration (with sinister designs against Pakistan) had already taken a physical form in the last 20 years. Pakistan was home to three million Afghans, half of them still prefer to stay in the country; Pakistani wheat, sugar, rice, oil and lentils feed majority of Afghans; the porous border and cultural affinity on both sides of the Durand Line makes it difficult to differentiate between a Pakistani and an Afghan Pashtun. The President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, normally refers to both countries as the twin brothers, and that is true: You cannot cut the millennia old blood lines with 10 years old coalition presence in Afghanistan and few reconstruction teams of the Indian industrial houses, like Tatas and Ambanies. And what for, you come in, raise half of Afghanistan to ground with an estimated loss of $500 billion to the Afghan economy, destroy the civil infrastructure, bring back warlords and poppy cultivation, kill almost 100,000 Afghans, make similar number as orphans, then bring in your so-called reconstruction teams and spend a couple of billions through your own contractors and NGOs and call this policy as people friendly. Betting on India to take a leading role in Afghanistan in the post-coalition Afghanistan will be betting on the wrong horse at the most inappropriate time. President Karzai had already realised that the twin brothers could coexist through a regional mechanism supported by Iran, China, Turkey and the Central Asian states. The Afghans do not suffer from short-term memory loss. They still remember the Indian role during the Soviet Unions occupation of Afghanistan, and how not a single statement of condemnation came out of the South Block in a complete decade of this occupation. Some of the Indian self-declared strategists, like Subhash Kapila and Bharat Verma, have been suggesting to their political leadership to adopt a military role in Afghanistan and take la coalition a strategic stand against the forces of terrorism (read Pakistan and Taliban) by extension of Indias security parameters beyond Afghanistan well into Central Asia. Frankly speaking, if I were in the Foreign Office, I would not only welcome Subhash Kapila and Bharat Verma into Kabul, but also arrange for their stay there for at least one year. The only question I have for Mr Obama and Dr Manmohan Singh is: What end state are you looking at in the AfPak region after the exit of the US-led coalition of the unwilling? The end state reminds me of how it is perceived in the minds of the policymakers, generals and political leaders, and how does it differ on ground, why Churchill finally concluded after World War II that we won the war, but lost the peace and why the triumph became a tragedy. The answer is simple, in war or conflicts you deal with the most complex phenomenon on this earth, the human beings - you can initiate a war on your terms, but cannot finish it at will without taking into consideration the other side and how it fights. The recent example of end state can be gleaned from ex-CENTCOM Chief General John Abizaids interview with the Washington Post in 2004. When he was asked about the end state of the long war, he replied: The long war is only at its early stages. Victory will be hard to measure, because the enemy wont wave a white flag and surrender one day.. Success will instead be an incremental process of modernisation of the Islamic world, which will gradually find its own accommodation with the global economy and open political system. If you look at the end state after seven years of this interview, what do you have? A destroyed and truncated Iraq simmering under sectarian violence, Afghanistan and Pakistan suffering more than 140,000 killed, many more wounded, their economies in tatters, the spectre of sectarian and tribal conflicts looming large in the so-called 'Greater Middle East, the war on terror becoming highly unpopular in the West, President Obama chairing the $4 trillion debt debate on weekly basis in the Oval Office and tsunami of immigrants from North Africa (courtesy Libya war) hitting the shores of southern Europe, accentuating the demographic problems of the white man. To conclude, I would plead to Mr Obama to listen to the voices of rationality, let the Afghan people and their neighbours decide about their future and dont bet on the wrong horse. India is not only a poor option, but a 'no go to start with. n The writer is a freelance columnist and A-levels student.