Understanding the India- Afghanistan Conundrum_00.1
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Understanding the India- Afghanistan Conundrum

 

Relevance

  • GS 2: India and its neighborhood- relations

 

Context

  • US has been pulling out its troops from Afghanistan. Consequently, it has resulted in Taliban increasing influence over the Afghan territory and India is wary of some of the events that followed.

 

Recent developments

  • India pulling out its nationals from its consulate in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
  • Killing of India-based journalist in Afghan territory.

 

Why is India worried?

  • India is cementing relations with Afghanistan since last 20 years.
  • India has many developmental works in the country including Salma dam, Parliament building, Zeranj Delaram highway, etc.

 

Why is Afghanistan important?

  • Strategic Importance
    • Considering the worsening India-Pakistan relations, Afghanistan becomes important for India.
    • India could keep an eye on terrorists at Pakistan soil and its supporters in Afghanistan.
    • The country has Central Asian Republics to the North, Pakistan to its East, and through Iran and Pakistan the Indian Ocean deeper south.
  • Economic importance
    • Afghanistan provides us an alternate door—completely bypassing Pakistan—to reach the world.
    • The proposed INSTC (The International North–South Transport Corridor) of India with Iran and Russia could increase connectivity with Afghanistan and Central Asia.

 

India’s importance for Afghanistan

  • India’s generous humanitarian aid and infrastructural development assistance like building hospitals, enhancing power infrastructure has put it considerably high position in the eyes of Afghan people.
  • India has always followed a principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and always abided by the principle of Doha agreement—not letting any foreign country use Afghanistan for perpetuating violence.
  • India’s engagement has not been at military level, this makes India a desirable country for Afghan people.

 

Why Taliban will keep relations with India intact?

Even if Taliban forms government, there is a little chance that it will return like 1989 because:

  • There are more educated people in Afghanistan as compared to 1990s.
  • Technology, social media will make the activities of Taliban global. The group would not like to be tagged as a terrorist organisation if they need to govern Afghanistan.
  • The goodwill that India holds for the Afghan citizens are immense, it is unlikely that Taliban will do anything will could endanger India’s position vis-a-vis Afghanistan.
  • India holds a sizeable population of Afghans Taliban is well aware of importance of India in the development of Afghanistan.

 

Way forward

  • India should remain in contact with the Taliban through indirect channel, if not directly.
  • India’s strategy to build relation with Afghanistan population should continue.
  • India could play a proactive role in stabilising Afghanistan through enhanced advocacy of 6+1—Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and the US— dialogue.
  • India’s soft power diplomacy has reaped multiple benefits so far. Taliban to be a people’s government, must acknowledge India’s importance in maintaining the stability of Afghanistan.
  • Though establishment of a democratic Afghan government is in the best interest of India, being ready for any eventuality in future will only strengthen our approach to deal with this issue comprehensively.

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