India's and Pakistan's Strategies in Afghanistan: Implications for the United States and the Region

India's and Pakistan's Strategies in Afghanistan: Implications for the United States and the Region

India's and Pakistan's Strategies in Afghanistan: Implications for the United States and the Region

India's and Pakistan's Strategies in Afghanistan: Implications for the United States and the Region

Synopsis

India and Pakistan have very different visions for Afghanistan, and they seek to advance highly disparate interests through their respective engagements in the country. This paper reviews the countries' interests in Afghanistan, how they have tried to further their interests, how Afghanistan navigates their rivalry, and the rivalry's implications for U.S. and Indian policy.

Excerpt

India and Pakistan are both keen to influence developments in Afghanistan, both to advance their own geopolitical, defense, and economic interests and to prevent the other from gaining any advantage. Their competition, however, complicates efforts to place Afghanistan on a sustainable path toward political stability, economic growth, and regional integration.

This report compares Indian and Pakistani interests in Afghanistan and the ways in which each state has sought to further its objectives. It also examines how Kabul navigates the Indian-Pakistani rivalry to protect and advance its own interests. Finally, the paper discusses the implications of the India-Pakistan rivalry for U.S. policy in the region and for U.S. efforts to sustain stability in Afghanistan after the drawdown of combat troops in 2014.

This paper should be of interest to analysts and policymakers concerned with U.S. policy in South Asia and nation-building efforts in Afghanistan, as well as those interested, more broadly, in Indian and Pakistani foreign policy. This research was conducted within the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy, part of International Programs at the RAND Corporation. The center aims to improve public policy by providing decisionmakers and the public with rigorous, objective research on critical policy issues affecting Asia and U.S.-Asia relations.

For more information on the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy, see http://www.rand.org/international_programs/capp/ or contact the director (contact information is provided on the web page).

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