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India's options in Afghanistan

India's options in Afghanistan


India's options in Afghanistan in 2020-21

With the new year, there is hope that it will be better than the previous year. Last year too, US President Trump's unpredictable attitude persisted, in which he decided to withdraw the US Army from Afghanistan apart from Syria. For India, the situation in Afghanistan is very worrying, because neither its evergreen friend Russia nor the new-born friend America is paying attention to its concerns. Even though more than seven and a half thousand American soldiers will still be stationed in Afghanistan, but the situation in which America is pulling back from here raises some questions. When the army returns and the American role declines, regional geopolitics will come to the center with new players emerging as the new heirs of the old great battle. In the 19th century, some British military and political officials were the architects of this contest. The stakes were supported by veterans such as Arthur Connolly, Olaf Caro and Rudyard Kipling. It was seen as a response to the frustration of the Tsar-ruled Russia, which wanted to reach the Arabian Sea through infiltration into Afghanistan and British India. The Russians cared more for British Indian influence and trade routes that ran from Afghanistan to Central Asia. In such a situation, Afghanistan was at the center of this great battle, on which the British India and Russia were like rivals on two ends.


Today, along with Afghanistan, the Indo-Pacific region remains an arena of great competition. In this, apart from India and Pakistan, the successors of British India, the Central Asian countries separated from the Soviet Union are the major players. Iran's role has also expanded, but the most important aspect of this is the rise of China which did not have such influence in the 19th century in Tibet and Xinjiang to become a player of this match. After the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the situation here changed drastically. For example, Pakistan's activism about its strategic interests, increasing penetration of China and requests from Central Asian countries besides Iran. Today, even though the geographical boundary of India does not touch Afghanistan, it remains an important contributor to the development of Afghanistan. Therefore, India has also become the player of this new great match after partition, because the influence of Pakistan and China in Afghanistan is a matter of concern for which will require competent diplomacy.

Like the original Maha-combat, in its new version, the battle to reach the Arabian Sea and the South Indian Ocean is an important issue. Now its form has changed in which preparations have also been made to capitalize on the opportunity. The Sino-Pak Economic Corridor that India is opposing, connects China's Xinjiang province to the Arabian Sea through the Gwadar port in Pakistan.

Developing relation between India and  Afghanistan

Developing relation between India and  Afghanistan

Similarly, India is also developing a North South Transport Corridor by placing bets on the Chabahar Port which connects Iran to Central Asia via Afghanistan. This will open up new opportunities for Central Asian countries surrounded by terrestrial borders with the use of Iranian ports. The success of the magnificent infrastructure that India has developed in Afghanistan has been less talked about while the work has been done at a much faster pace than India's notorious lethargy. The North South Corridor needs peace and stability in Afghanistan. India also has its own interests in this and that is why the American presence there is still important. If the Taliban government returns there, then the scope for India will be reduced and the infrastructure work will also be affected. It is in the interest of China and Pakistan to bring the Taliban to power and reduce the Indian influence to fulfill their strategic interests, because India is the most vocal opponent of the Taliban in this great battle. Russia is following the path of China in this matter, but it is embroiled in its puzzle about Europe. Iran is an active player, but US sanctions have also tied it up. This has greatly increased the importance of Chabahar for him, but to deal with the foreign exchange crisis, he will need allies like India to make his port and corridor operations more effective.

Foreign realtion and Policy

The Arabian Sea and the South Indian Ocean have emerged as new points of rivalry in the new great battle. While ports like Chabahar and Gwadar are connected by the same sea, China's economic and military hold in islands such as Sri Lanka, Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean is becoming stronger. However, there is no threat to the Chinese Navy here as it is in the South China Sea where America is also more interested. The main responsibility in the South Indian Ocean rests with India, because despite the Japanese base in Djibouti, the US, Japan and Australia do not have an expected presence in the region. China is increasing its naval capabilities here. Given this, India needs to be cautious. The recent developments in Maldives and to a lesser extent Sri Lanka are a good sign for India, but it will have to continuously increase economic cooperation, infrastructure development and naval front.

Departmental and security relation

Departmental and security relation

Even though globalization is under threat in the Western world, the developments in this mega-competition and the Indo-Pacific region show that a regional strategy is emerging as a global partnership. Therefore, now players have also increased and the balance of power is also taking a new turn. So the rules of the game are also changing and its scope is also expanding. Meanwhile, another new structure is also coming out and it will also be solved by the late-morning Maha-Combat. This structure is the SCO. It was established during the year 2000-03 with six members. This mainly involved coordinating Russia and China's engagement with Central Asian countries. Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia have been given observer status, with India and Pakistan as its members. Sri Lanka and Turkey have been made dialogue partners. The work of this organization is to work for peace and stability in the region. In this, while all of India is friendly, most of the countries are those who do not want to target China. In fact there was no structure of the original Maha-combat, but it has. At the same time, it also shows the limitations before India, it also recognizes India as an emerging power, which cannot remain a hanger.

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