India’s Policy Towards Afghanistan
WHY In News?
Recently, The Afghanistan Embassy to India informed that it was being forced to close down, given the lack of resources with the Taliban regime.
Situation in Afghanistan
- Afghanistan has historically been a theatre of great-power politics, from the British colonial period to when the United States (US) launched its ‘War on Terror’ in the early 2000s.
- The Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan in August 2021 changed the strategic dynamics in the region.
- Afghanistan found itself sinking further into destitution due to international isolation and the economic turmoil.
- The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported a staggering increase in poverty, with 97% of Afghans living below the poverty line, a stark rise from 47% in 2020, according to Amnesty International
- The absence of social safety nets forced desperate families into distressing measures such as child marriages and organ trafficking.
- India and Afghanistan have a strong relationship based on historical and cultural links.
- India, owing to its strategic location straddling Pakistan and Iran and other Central Asian Republics (CARs), has had a keen perception of the threat of terrorism emanating from the region.
- As a contiguous neighbour and long-standing partner of Afghanistan, and given strong historical and civilisational linkages to the Afghan people, India has direct stakes in ensuring the return of peace and stability to the country.
- When Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021, India was compelled to rethink its policy towards its western neighbor.
- India’s collective approach to Afghanistan has been articulated in Security Council Resolution 2593, which was adopted on August 30, 2021, following the fall of Kabul and the subsequent Taliban takeover.
- India made a statement that Afghanistan’s land should not be utilized for the purposes of harboring, instructing, organizing, or financing terrorist operations.
- India’s permanent representative to the United Nations has reiterated the country’s steadfast dedication to peace, stability and humanitarian support for Afghanistan.
- India has played a significant role in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan.
- Peace and stability in Afghanistan are critical imperatives that need to collectively strive for.
- India will continue to play its constructive role in the pursuit of this objective.
- The interests of the Afghan people will always continue to be at the core of all efforts.
Economic Relations between India and Afghanistan
- India seeks to expand its economic presence in Afghanistan as the international coalition fighting the Taliban have begun their withdrawal process. Especially, it wants to improve transport connectivity and economic collaboration with countries in Central and South Asia. India has already invested $10.8 billion in Afghanistan as of 2012. More such projects are likely to come once NATO withdraws completely from Afghanistan.
- This includes setting up Iron ore mines, a 6 MTPA steel plant (by SAIL—Steel Authority of India Limited), an 800 MW power plant, Hydro-electric power projects, transmission lines and roads. India helped in the reconstruction of Salma Dam in the Herat province. Besides producing 42 MW power, this Indo-Afghan friendship dam provides irrigation for 75,000 hectares of farmland in the Chisti Sharif district.
SOURCE – PIB