1.Unquiet in Ethiopia

GS1: Post Cold War developments


  • The author talks about the Ethiopian civil war.

Editorial Insights:

What’s the matter?

  • Ethiopia the only African nation that never has been colonized is suffering brutal divisiveness.
  • The Civil war is broke out between the Ethiopian govt led by PM Abiy Ahmed & the forces of Tigray (TDF).
    • During the course of the 1-year war, the TDF has joined hands with its arch-enemy the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), While the Ethiopian govt has joined hands with its old enemy Eritrea to jointly attack the Tigray region.
  • A recent joint human rights report by the Ethiopian & UN Commissions for Tigray shows the abhorrent brutality by parties to the conflict.
    • While the Ethiopia-Eritrea coalition is determined to diminish Tigrayan power with finality, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is resisting to survive & retaliate.

The Five facets of the War:

  • The need of the hour is a ceasefire by all sides.
    • But calls of the UN & other major bodies have fallen on deaf ears.
    • The failure of negotiations & efforts through special representatives led to the belief that PM Abiy will be ready to negotiate with other Tigrayans except for TPLF.
      • The same goes for TPLF leadership.
    • This impasse leads to the quest for military domination.
      • The military situation has turned away from the Ethiopian govt, While the TDF & OLA believes that only military push can bring Abiy to negotiate.
    • However, the truth is that there is no military solution to the Ethiopian imbroglio.
  • Issue of Ethnic Federalism: that was invoked by the 1995 constitution.
    • This provided stability & peace in Ethiopia that allowed it to grow rapidly at about 10% annum for several years & become a leader in Africa.
    • However, all the work done till now gone disarray, when the current regime started to undo the ethnic federal principle & move towards a centralized Prosperity Party.
    • The undoing of ethnic principles caused concern in Tigray & that ultimately led to a civil war.
    • Now any discussion of ceasefire/peace needs to include the ethnic federalism debate.
  • The attitude of fighting to the death on both sides is causing immense harm to Ethiopia.
    • Both leaderships must take responsibility cease violence & allow talks to take place.
    • The toxic propaganda war must cease.
  • Till now nearly 2.7 million Ethiopian citizens displaced.
    • Humanitarian access needs to be secured & civil society organizations & the UN must be allowed to operate without hindrance.
  • Though UN Security Council held 12 meetings on the Ethiopian issue but no single resolution passed.
    • The US is deeply concerned & it now found time to focus on the issue & the consequences.
    • The US decided to keep economic sanctions on Ethiopia & create leverage for US-led mediation.

The Way-Ahead:

  • The people of Ethiopia wait with bated breath for a resolution.
    • The 2018 transition within the EPRDF ruling coalition by PM Abiy to lead a new generation of leaders & provide political reforms began optimistically.
      • However, nothing brought relief.
  • Against this backdrop, it is best to allow Africa to resolve the Ethiopia problem.
    • Help to overcome stumbling blocks can be provided.
    • However, its friends & allied must guarantee peace & a ceasefire.
    • Then a group of diplomats, civil society, interfaith Council & former diplomats set talks to decide on the agenda.
  • During this period, humanitarian corridors should be established.
    • A ceasefire & a status quo on the position of forces should be maintained.


  • Though a return to the pre-2018 TPLF-led position will not be easy since the anger against the Tigrayans has been stoked to a high level.
  • However, it is the need of the hour for the decent & hardworking people of Ethiopia who have been a beacon of hope in Africa have withstood travails before, again need to stand up themselves again.

2) NSAs’ agenda on Afghanistan

GS2: India & Its Neigbhourhood


  • The authors talk about the NSA’s agenda on Afghanistan.

Editorial Insights:

What’s happening?

  • India is hosting the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan, where National Security advisers from 7 other countries will attend.
  • The idea of such a dialogue was 1st mooted in 2018 when the US decided to withdraw troops from Afghan.

Significance of the meeting:

  • The meeting is being hosted by the National Security Council Secretariat that operates behind the scenes & reports directly to the NSA.
  • This would be the 1st time that all Central Asian countries not just Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors would be participating in this format.
  • The enthusiastic response is a manifestation of the importance attached to India’s role in regional efforts to promote peace & security in Afghanistan.
  • It is important to differentiate this process from other processes on Afghanistan.
    • Because this is not among diplomats, nor is it led by foreign ministries but is among the heads of the security establishments in these countries.
    • So it is not a protocol-oriented meeting.
  • The NSA heads will now engage on the security concerns meeting out of Afghanistan & will discuss practical cooperation from intelligence sharing to counter-terrorism capacity-building.

Challenges ahead:

There are mainly five sets of challenges that New Delhi would want to discuss with the other countries:

  • Terrorism within Afghanistan and its spilling beyond its borders
  • Radicalization and extremism in the population in Afghanistan, and in each of these countries
  • Cross-border movement of people, including ordinary Afghans and Taliban fighters
  • Drug production and trafficking
  • The vast amount of weapons and equipment left behind by the US and its allies in Afghanistan.
  • The most important deliverable will be if all these countries agree on the threats they all face, and on what can be done in the future.
  • Absence of China & Pakistan:
    • Having skipped both previous meetings because of India’s presence, Pakistan was unlikely to have attended this one, especially in light of the current state of bilateral relations.
    • Pakistan has sat on an Indian request to send 50,000 tonnes of wheat as humanitarian aid to Afghanistan through the land route crisscrossing Pakistan.
    • Although China had attended both previous meetings due to its own security concerns originating from Afghanistan, its absence now sends out a signal that it doesn’t want to associate with any process led by India.
    • Given China’s proximity to Pakistan and potential to emerge as the Taliban’s new financiers. China’s leverage at the UN Security Council is something that the Taliban will be banking on.

India’s move:

  • Until the fall of Kabul, India had not engaged with the Taliban through publicly-announced official channels.
    • Now, the complexion of the Taliban cabinet shows that India is not in the game.
  • This meeting could be India’s way to get a seat at the table to decide the future course of action on Afghanistan.
  • It is an important play since India has made it clear that it has redlines on the new Taliban dispensation that it should not allow safe havens for terror on its soil, the administration should be inclusive and protect the rights of minorities, and women and children must be protected.
    • But so far, the signs from the Taliban have not been encouraging.
  • So, the challenge for India will be to protect its national interests and security interests and frame an approach to deal with what it calls an uncertain present and future in Afghanistan.

The Road Ahead:

  • India is confident that there is unanimity, and all participating countries are concerned about the difficulties faced by the people of Afghanistan. So, the aspect of delivering humanitarian aid will be on the priority agenda.
  • India hopes that it can emerge as the location for future dialogue processes, the grouping can be expanded in the future.
  • India feels that the high-level participation at the meeting reflects the widespread and growing concern of regional countries about the situation in Afghanistan and their desire to consult and coordinate with each other.



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