Brief Introduction about Afghanistan
- India Afghanistan relations are among few bilateral ties that include elements of civilizational, emotional and strategic imperatives and bonds
- However, given the current scenario in Afghanistan with simultaneous influence of external powers and Taliban. Afghanistan has become a hotbed of political instability which has become a matter of deep concern for India
BODY PART 1
SCENARIO IN AFGHANISTAN
- Influence of external powers in Afghanistan has led to a new great game with china, Russia, us, being key players. It has impacted the political scenario in Afghanistan.
- This is further aggravated with recent announcement of withdrawal of US troops by President Trump
- Given the increasing influence of the Taliban, it could further complicate the peace, security and stability of the region.
- Pakistan has been utilizing Taliban and other terror outfits as tools to hinder political development in Afghanistan, preventing it from becoming sovereign.
- The following developments also need to be seen in context of delay in Afghanistan elections, which could raise question on functioning of its democracy with politico social ramifications.
BODY PART 2
INDIA’S ROLE : NEED
- Thus, given the current situation, it can deeply impact stability in the region. Regional instability in India’s neighbourhood has direct ramifications on India’s Internal security and other strategic interests.
- Terror outfits like LeT, ISIS as well as organized crimes sustaining in the region directly impact India’s national security
- On strategic front, Afghanistan location has geoeconomic and geostrategic significance for India.
- Land bridge between South Asia, Middle East and Central Asia
- Thus, India has been actively engaging with Afghanistan and is widely accepted as its major development partner. The recent US South Asian Strategy is shot in the arm for India’s presence in Afghanistan.
INDIA’S ROLE SO FAR
- ECONOMIC & DEVELOPMENTAL :
- With development assistance of around USD 3 Billion, India has carried out development and reconstruction of the state
- Salma project, Afghan Parliament, Zaranj Delaram highway are a few projects India has undertaken
- DEFENCE : Under Strategic partnership, India has expansive bilateral military cooperation. It has primarily focused in training of Afghan troops
- CAPACITY BUILDING & EDUCATION : India has been actively engaged in providing capacity building through scholarships and skill training under various programmes and through organisations like I C C R (Indian Council for Cultural Relations). Other efforts include econstruction of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, reconstruction of the Habibia School,etc.
- India is widely recognized and appreciated for its developmental role in the region.
- On defence front, India has been reluctant vis a vis military equipment and technology transfers
- Also, India’s reluctance to engage with Taliban is criticized by some in the foreign policy circles. It is said that engagement at least at non official capacity is not equivalent to endorsement of the Talibani.
- Hence, given the geostrategic relevance of the region and current reluctances in India’s policy towards Afghanistan. New Delhi needs to think of a long-term strategy on how to end the Afghan conflict by supporting a genuine social reconciliation process
INDIA’S ROLE : WAY AHEAD
- This can be done through proactive diplomacy i.e. both official as well as non official engagement with all the stakeholders in Afghanistan (Taliban and Government)
- India needs to keep Wuhan & Sochi spirit alive, and actively engage and cooperate with China and Russia for working out modalities to peace and stability in the region.
- Given the limited military transfers, India needs to work on technology and military equipment transfer.
- India can also strengthen and consolidate global platforms like Heart of Asia.
- Revival of SAARC can also substantially impact regional integration, it can bring Afghanistan closer to the region and impact connectivity and economic development.
- Hence, continued and consistent efforts remain the key for a united, sovereign, democratic, peaceful, stable, prosperous and inclusive Afghanistan.