top of page

Quiz Society SRCC

THE AFGHAN CATASTROPHE: INDIA’S STAKE IN AFGHANISTAN



Afghanistan is an ironic dilemma when it comes to the questions of modern civilization and the human rights accompanying it. It is one of the costliest laboratories where the West has experimented with its alien democratic formulas. With the West absconding from its moral commitments, the ill-executed US exit has left a political vacuum in the war-ravaged country.


When the world awaits the cruel desecration of Afghan people’s aspirations, there is a larger concern for India as its camaraderie suffers at the hands of human hawks. The heart-wrenching scenes from Kabul showing youth clinging to the aircraft and falling to their deaths, mothers handing over their babies to American soldiers for evacuation, and the brunt of an obscurantist regime that the Taliban tends to offer; these grounds are sufficient reasons for invoking the sentiments of any civilized nation.


INDO-AFGHAN RELATIONS: FROM CULTURES TO ECONOMY


India was amongst the visionaries who dreamt of a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. It was this stern conviction in the upcoming future of Afghan land that led to an overwhelming quantum of Indian investment in the country adding up to $3 billion, even elevating India to the stature of being among the largest regional donors of the war-torn country. India has deep strategic interests in the region and it has always tried to strengthen the bilateral relations with Kabul by way of pouring pious developmental assistance under the protective shadow of the US. India raised integral roads, dams, schools, hospitals, and electricity transmission lines in Afghanistan. The $29 crore Indo-Afghan Friendship Dam stands as a testimony of India’s impressions in the Afghan economic landscape. The Afghan Parliament was built by India and is seen as India’s tribute to Afghanistan’s efforts towards democracy. Indian industrialists and contractors have also restored the telecommunication infrastructure in many provinces.


Culturally, India has always enjoyed brotherly ties and a broad cultural footprint in the history of Afghanistan. In the late 2nd century BCE, the country has been influenced by Buddhist, Hindu, and Zoroastrian cultures. Monks, Merchants, and monarchs have linked both nations through knowledge, religion, and commerce. The once majestic Bamiyan Buddhas were seen as the symbol of timeless bilateral relations that both countries cherish. This legacy of multiple identities established a culture of tolerance and acceptance which could be seen through the prism of Indic religions existing side by side with Islam. Indians still remember the support of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan in the Indian freedom struggle. Perhaps, it’s this inner love and affection in the hearts of folks of both countries that has made India a national destination for Afghans seeking education and health. India is considered a relatively friendlier nation by the common Afghan people compared to other SAARC countries.


NEW DELHI’S STRATEGIC INTERESTS IN KABUL


There are multiple reasons for New Delhi to be interested in Afghanistan. On the front of diplomatic relations, India has tried to avoid opening any diplomatic channels with the Taliban making its stand against religious extremism crystal clear. Presently, India and Tajikistan are the only two nations that are not formally in talks with the Taliban owing to the debate which seeks to balance people’s sentiments along with strategic interests. No doubt, India has been a giant stakeholder in maintaining national peace and has desired to enforce a reconciliation process that is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled.


The Taliban's dawn in the country has put the future of Indian infrastructure projects in sheer uncertainty. The recent Talibani attack on Salma Dam has been seen as a failure of India’s Afghanistan policy. Moreover, History contains in itself that a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan has served as a breeding ground for terrorists augmenting militancy and conflict in the Kashmir valley. Rawalpindi’s geopolitical stature has unquestionably risen in the region. Beijing seeks to fill the vacuum left by Western superpowers by way of extending economic aid to the mineral-rich country; consolidating its ever-expanding footprint in the region and amplifying new concerns for New Delhi.


FUTURE OF INDIA’S ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN


The end of the 20-year US war and the crowning of Taliban 2.0 have shaken the power balance in the region from its very bottom. There are numerous questions with no straight answers. What does that mean for Afghan Gen-X? Would the Taliban try to preserve any of the advances made in modern civil liberties and rights granted to women under the democratic Government? Will the Afghan people fight for democracy without the interference of a foreign body? What would India do under the changed circumstances?


It is not that all is lost for India. The UN Security Council has resolved not to grant legitimate recognition to any regime which comes to power through violence. The new Talibani dispensation has vowed not to use its soil for promoting terrorist activities against other nations along with promising the continuation of Indian projects. Experts believe that it should adopt a pragmatic approach and find ways of engaging with the Taliban to ensure that its present development assistance continues in the direction of saving Afghan people from a humanitarian crisis while maintaining its gains in the region. The new stakeholders like China, Pakistan, Russia, and Iran would be elated to see that the US influence is reduced to negligible. Further, China and Pakistan will surely try to minimize Indian influence.


Deserting its old stand when India refused to recognize the Talibani regime, fresh considerations can be at work now. In the upcoming future, India will carefully calibrate its security interests with the cause of larger humanity. Many believe that India's policy in the past has been to blindly follow the US keeping it without any partners in the region. India must understand the new reality and should be acting in its interest, independent of the West. At the same time, India needs the goodwill of countries like Russia and Iran which are still within its radar. In times of multi-polarity, it's quite possible to sometimes side with some powers and become neutral to others. India’s foreign policy has proved its mettle in the past and can even blow the storm now.


REFERENCES-

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page