India-Afghanistan relations

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by SANITY, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. SANITY

    SANITY Regular Member

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    'Soft power' not enough to serve India's foreign policy goal in Afghanistan

    Yet another dimension of Indian “soft power” in Afghanistan was reflected well when Prime Minister Narendra Modialong with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on 3 June jointly inaugurated the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, earlier known as Salma Dam. The dam was built at an approximate cost of Rs 1,700 crore by 1,500 Indian and Afghan engineers, technocrats and other professionals.

    This was the second time that Modi visited Afghanistan in the last six months. The Prime Minister was in Afghan capital Kabul last December to inaugurate the country’s new parliament building, which was built at a cost $115 million (Rs. 710 crore) by India.

    India’s Afghan policy, which is marked by its soft power projections in that country, has remained unchanged since the Vajpayee-era. The policy got a huge boost during the Manmohan Singh regime. Modi is continuing this legacy. The basic premise behind this policy has been that as the Western countries led by the United States fight with the help of Pakistan (a big question mark, in reality) the fundamentalist Taliban and al-Qaida so that Afghanistan is strengthened and consolidated as a stable, modern and vibrant democracy, India will concentrate on the country’s social and economic development. This policy has covered four broad areas: infrastructure projects, humanitarian assistance, small and community based development projects, and education and capacity building programmes.
    [​IMG]
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP
    Within this framework India has already invested $11 billion in Afghanistan. It has further pledged another $2 billion for new projects such as 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, roads etc. Then there is the India-Iran transit agreement on transporting goods to landlocked Afghanistan (Modi has just been to Iran to conclude the expansion of the Chabahar port through Indian investment of more than $100 million, which will serve as a hub for the transportation of transit goods to Afghanistan and Central Asia) at a cost of Rs.710 crores ($115 million). Besides, Afghan people have received aid from Indian people and private organisations such as TATA local busses for major cities and many other humanitarian aids.

    Overall, Afghanistan is now the second largest recipient of Indian aid just behind Bhutan. This just goes to show how important Afghanistan is for India. India gives more money to Afghanistan than even Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, both of whom have traditionally been dependent on India for their development. In fact, India is Afghanistan’s fifth largest bilateral donor after the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.

    Incidentally, India happens to be Afghanistan’s first strategic partner in the sense that the two countries signed in 2011 the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) to guide the contours of their overall relations. The SPA, inter alia, “provides for assistance to help rebuild Afghanistan's infrastructure and institutions, education and technical assistance to rebuild indigenous Afghan capacity in different areas, encouraging investment in Afghanistan's natural resources, providing duty free access to the Indian market for Afghanistan's exports support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, broad-based and inclusive process of peace and reconciliation, and advocating the need for a sustained and long-term commitment to Afghanistan by the international community.”

    The only military dimension of the SPA has been New Delhi’s pledge to increase training for Afghan soldiers and police within India. The agreement does not include the deployment of Indian combat troops in Afghanistan.

    That India’s soft power approach towards Afghanistan is a success story is evident from the fact that in a Gallup poll done in 2010, majority of Afghans preferred Indians over both Americans and Pakistanis. 71 percent of Afghans said that India was playing most positive role in country. A BBC guided opinion poll in Afghanistan has also established that India is the most popular country among Afghans.

    So far so good. Now, the bigger question is whether soft power alone will serve the larger foreign policy goal of India in Afghanistan. All told, Indian soft power in Afghanistan is based on New Delhi being a “service provider rather than a stake holder”. And this soft power cannot be stretched too far when almost all the mega projects in Afghanistan being built with Indian help have neared completion.

    In the ultimate analysis, India has three primary interests in Afghanistan. One is “establishing a secure, strong and democratic state in Afghanistan to prevent an extremist takeover, which could, in turn, lead to terrorism in the region”. Second is not seeing the hapless Afghanistan coerced to provide what is called “strategic depth” to Pakistan in the latter’s war against India. Third is ensuring Afghanistan providing the “connectivity” between India and the Central Asian Republics through Iran’s Chabahar port. Other interests include competing with China in exploring Afghanistan’s immense natural resources (minerals in general; oil and gas assets in particular).

    However, India’s growing activities in Afghanistan have not gone well with Pakistan. After India opened consulates in heart, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, and Kandahar, Pakistan has charged that these consulates provided cover for Indian intelligence agencies to run covert operations against Pakistan as well as foment separatism in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. Pakistan believes that India is trying to encircle it through Afghanistan. Therefore it is no secret that Pakistan through its intelligence agencies has always attacked Indian personnel engaged in developmental activities in Afghanistan. Indian embassy in Kabul as well as Indian consulates in other parts of Afghanistan have also been attacked by Pakistani agencies.

    What is the way out? American scholar Stephen Cohen, an authority on South Asia, argues that Afghanistan will be really safe and stable if India and Pakistan on the one hand, and the United States and Iran on the other, pursue a shared approach towards Kabul. But then, is such an approach realistic? “It is problematic but highly desirable,” says Cohen. According to him, one of the reasons why India and Pakistan are after each other in the subcontinent is that they share the same strategic legacy of the British Raj, and so both compete in the same space, including Afghanistan. The British had the same problem and the Mughals also fought for the same strategic space.

    “India and Pakistan share the British legacy in Afghanistan. Both India and Pakistan see Afghanistan as their strategic space. That means they compete with each other. Nobody has proposed – and I think America should have done – that the two countries sign an agreement to cooperate. An attempt should be made to bring them together in Kabul”, Cohen says. “Both can join to train Afghan soldiers and police. India has been doing a great job in helping in civil economic reconstruction and training of security forces of Afghanistan. But by training security forces, India is competing with Pakistan which is supporting the Taliban.”

    Cohen is emphatic that If India and Pakistan find a way to cooperate in Afghanistan it would be a win situation for all stakeholders, including the United States and Iran. He is clear that the Americans have no stomach to prolong their military presence in Afghanistan, or for that matter in any part of West Asia, given the rising unpopularity of American military involvement in the region within the United States.

    However, there is only problem with Cohen’s thesis. India wants a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. But Pakistan cannot be said to be sharing the same approach. Because, once Afghanistan becomes strong, secure and stable, it will demand the return of its territories (inhabited by Pasthuns), now parts of Pakistan because of the Durand Line, drawn arbitrarily by Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, who was foreign secretary in the colonial government of British India. He had signed a document with the king of Afghanistan Abdur Rahman Khan on 12 November 1893, relating to the borders between Afghanistan and the then India. However, no legislative body in Afghanistan has ever ratified the document and the border issue is an ongoing contention between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Be that as it may, the fact remains that India’s soft power in Afghanistan has reached its limits. Now is the time to develop a 'smart power' approach along with other stakeholders in Afghanistan. May be Modi will initiate a discussion on this when he meets the US President Barak Obama in the next few days.

    http://www.firstpost.com/politics/i...-to-develop-smart-power-approach-2817608.html
     
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  3. AnantS

    AnantS Senior Member Senior Member

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    ^ "In other words: "Hey India! Please be party with Pakis to ruin Afghanistan. Dont make Afganis too Happy, it makes Pakistan sad. Meanwhile, Can we use your goodwill to further our dirty work!? Only then you would be called smart in diplomacy" Yours truly: Cohen
     
  4. SANITY

    SANITY Regular Member

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    Pakistan can't tolerate increasing India-Afghan friendly ties: Karzai
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    KABUL: Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai said Pakistan does not want good relations between India and Afghanistan and wants "no bilateral trade and no access to Central Asia for India" which is unacceptable for Afghanistan.

    In an interview with BBC Urdu on Thursday, Karzai claimed that India is helping Afghanistan build its infrastructure and health facilities and has "filled Afghanistan with money despite being a poor country".

    "India wants to truly befriend Afghanistan and we want Pakistan to do the same," said the former Afghan president.

    He said Pakistan should also become a part of the regional coalition between Afghanistan, India and Iran, but "Pakistan's condition is that Afghanistan should not have contacts with India."

    "If this issue is resolved, our relations with Pakistan will improve rapidly," Karzai told BBC.

    'Result of British imperialism'
    Terming the formation of Durand Line a 'result of British imperialism' in the region, Karzai said that Afghanistan has never accepted this border since 1893, nor will they ever accept it in future.

    "When Pakistan came into being in 1947, they received it this way, so we are not blaming them but Durand Line is a blow which no Afghan can ever forget. We do not accept this border but will not fight over this issue," said Karzai.

    He stressed that Afghanistan is a sovereign country and is not taking dictation from any other country but "Pakistan government has taken some steps on Durand Line which are angering Afghans".

    When asked as to why Afghanistan does not approach UN or International Court of Justice over the Durand Line issue, Karzai said it is not an international issue but 'inheritance of imperialsm' and only the respective governments of Pakistan and Afghan can resolve this matter.

    Menace of terrorism
    He maintained that terrorism and extremism is a menace which has not only affected people of both Pakistan and Afghanistan but added that "we (Afghans) think they have found safe havens and are getting aid from Pakistan."

    "When this will stop, Pakistan too will see peace," said Karzai, who ruled Afghanistan from 2004 to 2014.

    Two-point solution
    He provided a two point solution to end hostility between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    • Both the countries jointly fight terrorism and make serious efforts for its elimination, this will bring peace to both of the countries.
    • Pakistan should accept that Afghanistan is a sovereign country and should respect it and stop dictating us about friendship with India. We will not back down on that.
    http://www.dawn.com/news/1265254/pakistan-cant-tolerate-increasing-india-afghan-friendly-ties-karzai
     
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  5. Neo

    Neo Senior Member Senior Member

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    From the horses mouth, Durand Line is not an international issue.
     
  6. Innocent

    Innocent Regular Member

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    India planning to send 15,000 troops to Afghanistan
    (Can Someone Verify??)


    http://pakobserver.net/india-planning-send-15000-troops-afghanistan/



    Special Correspondent

    Washington

    Diplomatic reports reaching here say that the Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is planning to rush to Afghanistan in an attempt to cash on the latest wave of terrorist attacks and make an official offer of sending Indian troops to defend Afghan Government leaders.
    A reliable report also claimed that Mr. Ajit Doval had recently met with Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar in Russia a few days earlier and had asked Afghan government to deliver an official invitation to the Indian Government to dispatch Indian troops.
    Reports reaching here from Kabul say that Afghanistan’s pro-Indian lobby had been trying to exploit the blast for its own gains and objectives and has increased anti-Pakistan propaganda despite the fact that Pakistanis had also become victims of Kabul blast.
    Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has strongly denied any involvement in the attack and said that Taliban leadership had issued instructions against targeting any civilian or civilian facilities. Afghan Talibans says it could be a conspiracy to pave the way for more foreign troops in Afghanistan.
    Despite strong condemnation from Pakistan the pro-India Afghan leaders and lobbies including former Afghan intelligence chief Saleh Amrullah have started a campaign against Pakistan. On May 28, 2017, just two day before the Wednesday Kabul attack the Afghan Pajhwok news agency had reported that India could send its troops to Afghanistan under “UN mission”. The Pajhwok dispatch from Washington which was published in the Outlook Afghanistan had quoted a “prominent Indian defense expert” told a Washington audience on May 18, 2017 that “New Delhi could perhaps be persuaded to send up to a division of Indian troops – around 15,000 — to Afghanistan under a United Nations Peacekeeping mission.”
    “If invited, if there is a UN peacekeeping force … it is my considered view that perhaps India could be persuaded to send up to a division, provided the logistics are in place, provided Pakistan’s so-called sensibilities can be put in place,” Brig® Gurmeet Kanwal, from the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis was quoted as telling audience in a close-door round table at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
    Gurmeet Kanwal, who is known for his close links with Indian military establishment visited Washington DC and tried to convince President Donald Trump Administration to allocate India an official role in Afghanistan.
     
  7. Villager

    Villager Regular Member

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    Security Council ignoring terrorists, terror-backers in Afghanistan: India

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    Indian Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin

    UNITED NATIONS: India has accused the Security Council and the international community of tending to ignore the terrorists ravaging Afghanistan and their backers while these forces "have stood up against one of the biggest collective military efforts in the world".

    "The international community's collective inability and unwillingness to see the problem for what it is has inflicted huge costs on the people of Afghanistan," India's Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin told the Security Council on Wednesday during a debate on the situation there.

    "The Council has even shied away from condemning some of the terrorist attacks in Afghanistan," he said.

    "Why is it that we are not hearing discussions about ideas and plans of action of the Security Council on a conflict which has left many Afghan lives shattered and brutalized," he asked, pointing out that the Council only meets every quarter on Afghanistan while taking up other such conflicts more often.

    Attacks by terrorists were played down as the work of "anti-government elements" or the result of civil and political conflicts, he said.

    Akbaruddin raised the Pakistan factor in the travails of Afghanistan and the cover it gets, without directly naming Islamabad or its patron, Beijing.

    He listed logical questions that the Security Council and world were shying away from asking and which would point to Pakistan's role.

    "Where are these anti-government elements getting their weapons, explosives, training and funding from? Where do they find safe havens and sanctuaries," he asked.

    "How is it that these elements have stood up against one of the biggest collective military efforts in the world? How is it that these elements collaborate with the world's most dreadful terrorists in killing and brutalizing the Afghans?"

    The sanctions that the Council is supposed to impose on terrorists in Afghanistan have been ineffective, he said, adding that the Council's sanctions committee has totally ignored "the phenomenal rise of opium production, accompanied with a rise in global narcotics drugs prices.

    "It is the international community's first and foremost duty to ensure that the resurgent forces of terrorism and extremism do not find sanctuaries and safe havens anywhere and at any level," Akbaruddin said.

    "We must not differentiate between good and bad terrorists, or play one group against the other."

    The Taliban, Haqqani Network, Al Qaeda, Daesh, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and others like them should be treated like terrorist organisations with no justifications offered for their activities, he added.
     
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  8. Villager

    Villager Regular Member

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    India-Afghanistan air corridor reflects New Delhi's stubborn thinking: Chinese daily
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    Pakistan lies between India and Afghanistan and has not allowed overland trade between both countries.

    BEIJING: Bypassing Pakistan in a direct air corridor with Afghanistan reflects India's "stubborn geopolitical thinking" and its opposition to Beijing's connectivity project, a Chinese daily has said.

    The Global Times in a commentary advised India "to develop economic and trade relations" with China's "all-weather ally" Pakistan where Beijing is building a multi-billion-dollar worth economic corridor that passes between Islamabad and New Delhi.

    Last week, India and Afghanistan opened a direct commercial air route, bypassing Pakistan with which ties of both the neighbours have soured over the issue of terrorism.

    Pakistan lies between India and Afghanistan and has not allowed overland trade between both countries.

    "India and Afghanistan inaugurated a direct air freight corridor last week, a dedicated route designed to give a boost to trade between the two countries. This begs a question: Will India bypass Pakistan to develop trade with Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries?" Global Times' reporter Wang Jiamei asked in the online commentary.


    "All such connectivity efforts have not only signalled India's desire to more actively participate in regional economic development, but have also highlighted the country's stubborn geopolitical thinking."

    "India has always been pushing back against the Belt and Road initiative, so its intention to create its own connectivity network appears to be a strategy to counterbalance the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), especially to bypass Pakistan, which has prohibited India from transporting any goods through its territory due to their tense relationship."


    India is opposed to the CPEC which cuts through Gilgit-Baltistan, in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir claimed by New Delhi.

    So much so that India boycotted a two-day Belt and Road Summit organised by Beijing in May, citing sovereignty issue over the project.

    "India has also started another project to develop the Iranian port of Chabahar, with the aim of opening another direct transport route to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries," the article noted, referring to a media report.

    India is a developing Chabahar port in Iran which is 72 km away from Gwadar port in Balochistan being built by China under the CPEC.

    "It is undeniable that geopolitical issues are complicated in this region, but it would still be better for India to develop economic and trade relations with Pakistan."

    "From the point of view of connectivity, regardless of India's mindset behind the air freight corridor, the new route will somehow boost the development of trade relations, which will of course facilitate regional economic growth, but the big question is whether the air route is commercially viable and sustainable for trade exchange."

    "No matter how India is thinking, if the country really wants to participate more in regional economic development, it should not bypass Pakistan, which offers the most efficient and cost-effective land route. Regional connectivity cannot live without the cooperation between both India and Pakistan."

    "In this sense, the Belt and Road has actually created the opportunity and platform for cooperation between India and Pakistan, and now we will see if India can eventually seize the opportunity," the commentary concluded.
     

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