AIR spotlight summary on “India-Afghanistan Relations”
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani held a close consultation on key issues with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Afghanistan has been demanding increased defence supplies; with rising violence by Taliban in the region, India is one of the biggest donors to Afghanistan pledging $2 billion in support for reconstruction.
Relations between India and Afghanistan
- The relations between India and Afghanistan go back to 1000s of years. We are much more than strategic partners; there are a number of agreements signed between both the countries.
- Since 2002 when Taliban went out of Afghanistan, India has lent more than $2 billion and now India has promised to provide $1 billion in aid for development, reconstruction and economic progress.
- India has invested $10.8 billion in Afghanistan which includes setting up of Iron mines, 6 steel plants and 800 Mega Watt power plants, hydro electric power projects, roads and other investments. India is also involved in many projects like building hospitals and parliament building.
- The Salma Dam known also known as Afghanistan-India friendship dam took 40 years for its completion.
- Indian government intends to complete all the pending projects going on for a long time.
- In recent time we can see collaboration in outer space, capacity development, pharmaceuticals, and solar alliance between the governments and between the private sectors of the two countries.
- Another issue is connectivity where India is helping Afghanistan-Iran Connectivity. India is building Chabahar port in Iran and has built the zaranj delaram highway.
- Afghanistan is a landlocked country and it does not have access to sea. The Chabahar port will connect through zaranj delaram highway to Afghanistan and from there to central Asia.
- The development of Chabahar Trilateral Agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran will prove to be a game changer.
- India and Afghanistan are collaborating and have signed a strategic partnership Agreement; India has gifted 3 MI-25 Helicopters. They were used earlier while dealing with Taliban and they had established control over Kunduz in the north of Afghanistan.
- There is discussion going on between the two governments that more equipments, armaments, and weaponry should be supplied to Afghanistan to take care of its security, stability and introducing peace.
- Both India and Afghanistan should work closely to deal with the menace of Terrorism.
- After Ashraf Ghani came to power, he had great hopes on Pakistan that Pakistan will be able to bring Taliban to the negotiating table and Pakistan will be able to impress Taliban that they should stop their attacks on Afghanistan. After a year all these hopes are belied.
- Pakistan does not permit Afghanistan to send its products through its land route to India. So Afghanistan is not able to take advantage of the Indian market by supplying Afghan’s Hirati saffron and they are not able to take benefits of what India can provide them.
- Afghanistan has said Pakistan is lying when it says it is restraining Taliban, but they are actually helping Taliban to launch attacks against Afghanistan.
- Afghan president has threatened Pakistan to allow Afghanistan the access to Indian markets; otherwise Afghanistan will stop the access of Pakistan to central Asian countries.
- India, Afghanistan, Iran and Bangladesh have become the victim of Pakistan militancy. Pakistan is trying to destabilise the whole region. Pakistan has emerged as the epicentre of Terrorism. We see the signature of Pakistan in the Terrorist attacks all over the world. The whole international community should come together to sanction and act against the state sponsoring Terrorism.
- After the withdrawal of US forces, NATO and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) the responsibility devolves upon the neighbouring countries. China does not seem to be interested because even the initiative taken by India in UN to have people like Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Masood Azhar to be designated as terrorists. All the countries should work together and draw up security architecture.
- We now have the option of Heart of Asia taking place in Amritsar and the trilateral initiative between US-Afghanistan-India and all countries should work together to ensure that terrorism is not able to play a havoc with the life and stability of Afghanistan.
- There is responsibility of international community to deal with the militancy, sanction those and not allow them to promote terrorism. Terrorism should not be viewed from the prism of politics and is the need of the hour. The world needs to come together and present a solid unified front against the menace of terrorism.