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India Afghanistan Relations – Things You Must Know

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India Afghanistan Relations – Things You Must Know

This is a very important topic. Afghanistan is a neighbouring country of India and has been a supporter of India at world forums. What goes on in Afghanistan impacts India. And not that the USA will remove its troops from Afghanistan, and its changed stance of talking to the Taliban, this becomes more crucial than ever.

Works by India in Afghanistan

India has been doing a lot of work in Aghanistan. Construction of Salma Dam (known as Afghan-India Friendship Dam), making electricity transmission lines, financial support, cricket stadiums in Kandahar etc are few examples.

You must be aware that India has made Afghanistan’s parliament, known as, “National Assembly“.

Afghanistan’s Army officers are trained in IMA (Dehradun)

India also trains its Police Officers and Civil servants.

India’s constructed Chabahar port in Iran which will help Afghanistan a lot.

India is doing all this and more for Afghanistan. This just goes on to show how important Afghanistan is for India.

Let’s see about those things,

Historical Facts

Alexander attacked India after winning Afganistan. In 305 BCE, most of that was given to Mthe aurya Empire by a peace treaty. The Mauryans brought Buddhism from India and controlled the area south of the Hindu Kush.

From the 10th century to the mid 18th century, northern India has been invaded by a such as Ghaznavids, Khaljis, Mughals, Durranis etc.

India-Afghanistan: Strategic interests

Pakistan. Afghanistan is a neighbour of Pakistan and India can keep a watch over Pakistan’s activities from Afghanistan.

India’s influence in Afghanistan is crucial for India’s presence in Asia as a regional power.

India-Afghanistan: Economic interests

  • Afghanistan has a mineral wealth of about $1-3 trillion of Iron ore, Lithium, Chromium, Natural Gas, Petroleum etc.
  • India’s presence in Afghanistan can help us increase trade with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tazakistan etc.

Safeguarding Indian investments and personnel in Afghan is utmost important to India as Indian investment in Afghan amounts to about $3bn.

India-Afghanistan: Security interests

Pakistan has raised and supported several militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen/Harkat-ul-Ansar, and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami among others, which operate in India. All of these groups have trained in Afghanistan, with proximity to the Taliban and by extension al-Qaeda.

Thus India is concerned that Afghanistan should not again become a terrorist safe haven.

Radical ideologies and terrorism spreading in this region are a security threat for India.

With Pakistan increasing its strategic depth in Afghan, it can reverse the gain of India in Afghan. Pakistan’s ISI can also make use of this against India.

The golden crescent comprising of Iran, Afghan, and Pakistan is a worry for India, especially with respect to the issue of drug abuse in Punjab.

ISIS is using Afghan as an outpost in Asia as it comes under stress in Iraq and Syria.

So what steps is India taking?
  • In 2011 India became the first country Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership agreement. Until then India was following US demand of India’s limited cooperation with Afghan.
  • India has repeatedly stressed that its relationship with Afghan is independent of Pakistan.
  • India argues that the tripartite relationship between India, Pakistan, and Afghan are mutually independent:
    • In both the 1965 and 1971 wars, Afghanistan was non-committal and did not support India.
    • On the Kashmir issue, Afghanistan has not publicly supported India
    • India has not entered the debate on the Durand Line.
  • In 2018, in a first major offensive military platform to Kabul, India gifted a Mi 25 attack helicopter.
    • The delivery marks the first time India has gifted offensive combat capability to Afghanistan, a sensitive topic in the past due to strong objections by Pakistan.
    • Under the agreement, India will also train Afghan defense personnel on operations.

Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while visiting the US, put forward India’s Afghan strategy:

  • There will be no Indian boots-on-ground in Afghan.
  • India will provide economic assistance and capacity building.
  • India will sign MoU with Afghan to train its police force.
  • India will assist Afghan in its own way and not the way desired by the US, that is boots-on-ground.
  • Countered the argument of Pakistan Prime Minister that India has zero political and zero military role in Afghan.

Chabahar Port

India and Iran signed a transit agreement on transporting goods to landlocked Afghanistan.

  • Indian investment in Chabahar port in southeastern Iran will serve as a hub for the transportation of transit goods.
  • India builds Deleram- Zaranj highway in Afghan.
  • India-Afghan established two air corridors to facilitate bilateral trade.

India Afghanistan Friendship Dam

Salma Dam, officially the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, is a hydroelectric and irrigation dam project located on the Hari River in Chishti Sharif District of Herat Province in western Afghanistan. The Afghan cabinet renamed the Salma Dam to the Afghan-India Friendship Dam in a move to strengthen relations between the two countries.

The hydroelectric plant produces 42 MW of power in addition to providing irrigation for 75,000 hectares of farmland (stabilizing the existing irrigation of 35,000 hectares and development of irrigation facilities to an additional 40,000 hectares of land).

The dam was opened on 4 June 2016 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Hope you liked the post.

Do let us know about any queries or comments you may have.

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Jai Hind

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BlogsIndia Afghanistan Relations - Things You Must Know
BlogsIndia Afghanistan Relations - Things You Must Know
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