Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif arrived in Kabul on Sunday on a day-long visit for dialogue on the re-initiation of the Afghan reconciliation process. When the COAS visited Washington earlier this year, he was urged to take matters in his hands and visit Afghanistan to put the negotiations back on track. In view of the recent tumultuous events, at the heart of which stands Mr. Modi, it had become pertinent to ease tensions between the two neighbouring countries.

It does not come as a surprise though that the popular opposition leader in Afghanistan has strongly opposed the inclusion of Pakistan in the peace talks with the Taliban, mirroring the widespread sentiment that Islamabad wants to control the insurgency. What Afghanistan must realise is, that it a peace deal with the Taliban is extremely necessary not just to end the decades long conflict in the country, but also to prevent an potential deal between the Taliban and Russia to counter the growing influence of IS in the region. Even though the Taliban have denied this claim, it is possible for loyalties to shift to address the greater, common enemy, backed with free guns and money. Like the Iranian militias Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Kataib al-Imam Ali fighting ISIS in Iraq, the Afghan Taliban are a ready made militia that just have to be redirected into a new conflict.

The security dilemma in the Middle East has made its way to Afghanistan, and there is no way to avoid it now. We have India and Russia to thank for this: with its 16 arms deals, Russian support for India’s permanent seat on the UN Security Council and India’s vocal support for Russia’s role in Syria. We can only wonder what the US thinks of all this; their darling Modi, armed to the hilt with Russian missiles…

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made clear that he saw Pakistan as a potential bridge between South Asia and Afghanistan. By striking breakthrough deals across Russia and Afghanistan, Modi has cemented his ties with his allies, bring Pakistan in the mix with diplomatic ingenuity. It is up to Pakistan now, to decide what role it wishes to play in this love triangle. The economic bloc that is forming in the region can only be beneficial to all parties involved if there is peace in the region- something that does not seem to be what Russia wants, from Turkey to Pakistan, and something the US might want, but has not had the guts to really set in motion. Pakistan should leverage the influence of members, such as China and Russia instead of calling upon its unreliable friend across the Pacific. Modi has realised the importance of this knowledge; that the Asian continent is where the power is.