India’s Stance on Afghanistan

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India and Afghanistan, neighbours in Asia, have a historic and powerful bilateral relationship and are a part of many regional partnerships and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). 

According to the MEA, the friendly relations are often traced back to January 1950 when a five-year accord of friendship was signed by then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and Afghan’s then Ambassador to India Mohammed Najibullah.

India’s aid to Afganistan and stance on it

The first cluster of projects relates to India’s assistance in constructing, upgrading, rebuilding or restoring buildings and varied types of infrastructure. This first aid category also includes many smaller projects, like establishing schools and primary health clinics or digging wells.

A lot of this work had been completed before the approaching of the Taliban to Kabul, although a part has not. The Salma Dam was reconstructed.

The infrastructure and buildings constructed or funded by India will, in several cases, be utilized by the Taliban. Several Afghans are sure to bear in mind that the help had come from India.

This may matter little as long as the Taleban dominate the Kabul government and hold power in most territories. However, suppose their rule is overthrown in the future. In that case, it seems probable that a constellation of groups that would take over from them would come with those with a history of friendly relations with India and who benefited from New Delhi’s aid.

The second category of India’s aid relates to people-to-people exchanges within the variety of offers for Afghan citizens to gain knowledge and experience from India, provide Indian technical advisers to Afghan institutions, and provide scholarships for Afghan students.

Receiving education in another country, mainly when supported by government aid, is often assumed to get at least some emotional bond or fondness for the hosting country. At the very least, it helps the scholar perceive the hosting country better.

However, this doesn’t guarantee that former students can pursue friendly policies toward that state should they ever reach a position of power. Overall, a country’s policy can still rely on its interests, and one person rarely outlines these.

Karzai’s pro-Indian stance was as much a result of New Delhi’s friendly perspective toward his administration as his past connections to India. Similarly, Stanikzai’s future stance is first and foremost based on his group’s general position – and because the Taliban remain backed by Pakistan, their approach toward India is improbable to be positive.

The third broad category of India’s aid relates to transporting assorted objects: ambulances, buses, biscuits, medicine, military vehicles and helicopters, etc.

The fate and the political significance of this aid will more or less be similar to the first category. However, military help – a form that includes each donating military vehicles and training troopers – could have been treated as a separate group of interactions, given its political and strategic importance.

This can be a form of aid that’s nearly sure to disappear currently. It can not translate to further Indian influence because it was utilized by the Kabul government against the Taliban, not for the common, neutral good of Afghan people.

There is a way this explicit form of assistance could continue: If New Delhi decides to support – and therefore arm – the resistance against the Taliban.

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