India's Afghan Policy Pakistan Perspective and China Factor

By Firdous, Tabasum; Nazir, Tajalley et al. | The Journal of Central Asian Studies, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

India's Afghan Policy Pakistan Perspective and China Factor


Firdous, Tabasum, Nazir, Tajalley, Ali, Ashfaq M., The Journal of Central Asian Studies


Post-World War II era witnessed the ideological conflict between two power blocs that was termed by Bernard Baruch as 'Cold War'. This confrontation inseminated the seeds of conflict at certain places in a way that, even after twenty-five years of post-Cold war, achieving peace and stability has become a complex task. Afghan conflict also represents the same legacy of Cold war that has not only dismantled the country, but has emerged out as a most serious threat to the regional and global peace. Thus, it is obvious for the world-nations to dwell in for seeking a viable solution to assure peace. With the NATO (Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization)-drawdown from Afghanistan and designs to withdraw International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) completely in near future, the regional actors including Pakistan, Iran, India, China, Central Asian Republics (CARs) and even Russia have to share the burden for assuring stability and prosperity of the region. The main issues of concern for these regional countries in relation to Afghanistan include terrorism, religious extremism and drug trafficking. Besides it, there are better prospects for enhancing inter-regional trade via Afghanistan as the country has the geo-strategic advantage of connecting South, West, Central and East Asia. The vital energy resources of the Central Asian region further adds to the significance of regional economic ties with Afghanistan as a connecting bridge. However, the ambiguities in the foreign policies ofthese regional actors regarding their relative gains has enhanced the complexities for designing any such regional cooperation.

India, being vulnerable to security threats and an energy-deficit nation, also aspires for same in relation to Afghanistan. Thus, the country has invoked a pro-active Afghan policy since the fall of Taliban regime. However, there are certain disturbances regarding her interests and concerns that are preventing the country to move smoothly for addressing her needs. The fundamental challenge is the perspective constructed by Pakistan in relation to India's presence in Afghanistan. This has been accompanied by the pro-active diplomacy of China in Afghanistan since 2012 and her support for Pakistan regarding certain issues that does not augur well for the interests of India. In this regard, it is significant to analyze India's Afghan policy from Pakistan perspective and subsequent stand of China.

India's foreign policy aspirations are at securing a stable, secure and prosperous neighbourhood and Afghanistan constitutes a road for such design. Thus, India's Afghan policy aims at promoting development, peace, security and stability of the Afghan nation. Besides promoting commercial relations, her investments in Afghanistan have been largely developmental. The country is seeking to explore new opportunities in Afghanistan to address her foreign policy aspirations. The country is helping this war-torn nation to promote democracy, strengthen political institutions and ensure security. Taking into consideration the changing circumstances at international scene, India has some considerable interests in Afghanistan. The country has a strong security interest in ensuring that Afghanistan remains a sovereign, stable, united and free from external influences. There are certain economic interests as well to explore the mutual benefits while connecting Afghanistan through wider road networks within the region. Afghanistan too provides a space for Indian companies currently engaged in the reconstruction process, and has repeatedly expressed her will to enhance Indian business while developing the manufacturing hubs in different sectors as cement, oil, gas, electricity, banking, communications etc.1 India's efforts are to gain strong foothold in the South, West and Central Asia by strengthening trade ties with Afghanistan.2 The country is also one of the fastest growing economies of the world and requires external energy resources to sustain her economic growth. …

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