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Changing dynamics in Afghanistan needs India to safeguard its interests

| Updated: July 16, 2021 20:19

The United States-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) coalition has confirmed and fast-tracked the process of withdrawal of its armed forces in Afghanistan. Subsequently, the security condition in Afghanistan has been deteriorating as The Taliban insurgents gain territory across the country.

A dynamic change in the existing status quo is inevitable and will be evident in the days to come. This may impact India-Afghan relations. For 2 decades, the U.S. presence in Afghanistan helped India to maintain relations with the Afghanistan government peacefully, without the intervention of militant or terrorist organizations. The U.S. fast-tracking its withdrawal has drawn criticism from experts, who were critical of their presence in the first place, citing reasons such as an abrupt withdrawal might reverse the gains made in the region.

India has specifically been wary in the past about the Taliban taking control over the country. Its militant aggression and extremism might affect India’s presence in Central Asia. The bilateral trade between the two countries stands at $1.5 bn for the year 2019-20. India has been involved in making developmental projects, like the Zaranj-Delaram highway which is imperative for transport and facilitating trade. The Chabahar port in Iran serves the purpose of India’s presence in Central Asia, including Afghanistan, effectively bypassing Pakistan for cross-border trade dependency. India-Afghan friendship project- The Salma Dam, constructing the Parliamentary building and library is a sign of the cordial relationship between the two countries. 

Security concerns and cross-border terrorism might also aggravate in India if the direction of events is militant and extremist in nature. Geographically neighboring country- Pakistan was one of the few to recognize the Taliban regime in the 1990s.  It houses homegrown extremists and is responsible for state-sponsored terrorism. It might realize the opportunity in Afghanistan and seek advantage on the Line of Control (LOC) and disturb the domestic security of India. Pakistan might also check India’s influence in Central Asia and appropriate it by violent means at its disposal. Holistically, such means do not serve the long-term interests of Pakistan as it is already under the Grey List of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This means that any kind of support in terror funding would only mean prolongation of staying on the list or even worse, pushing them to the Black List. This would deepen the economic crisis and financial crunch faced by Pakistan currently.

Significant progress has been made in terms of trade, diplomacy, the bilateral friendship between India and Afghanistan. Dialogue and deliberation are imperative with all stakeholders, including the Taliban as it has become a powerful force that cannot be neglected to maintain peace. Violence does not serve anyone’s interminable interests.

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  1. Abhishek bhardwaj

    Great piece of analysis. The information shared truly needs to be observed on the basis of international relations , and actions to be taken before the next surgical strike.✌️

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