Importance to India and Afghan, Relations, Background and Strategic Partnership Agreement

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  • Republic of India was the only South Asian country to recognise the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s, its relations were diminished during the Afghan civil wars and the rule of the Islamist Taliban in the 1990s. India aided the overthrow of the Taliban and became the largest regional provider of humanitarian and reconstruction aid.
  • India՚s influence in Afghanistan waned in the 1990s after Pakistan-backed Taliban rose to power. During this period, New Delhi provided assistance to the anti-Taliban resistance, the Northern Alliance, comprised mostly of Tajik and other non-Pashtun ethnic groups, according to a 2003 Council Task Force report. After the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, New Delhi reached out to renew ties with Kabul.

Importance to India

Afghanistan holds strategic importance for India as New Delhi seeks friendly allies in the neighbourhood, and because it is a gateway to energy-rich Central Asian states such as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. ″ India is looking to ensure that other countries in the region favour or at least are neutral on its conflict with Pakistan

Importance to Afghan

Afghanistan, on the other hand, he says, looks to India as “a potential counterweight in its relationship with Pakistan.”

2b aid:


  • In January 2009, India completed construction of the Zaranj-Delaram highway in southwest Afghanistan near the Iranian border; it is building Afghanistan՚s new parliament building set for completion by 2011; it is constructing the Salma Dam power project in Herat Province; it has trained Afghan police officers, diplomats and civil servants; and it has provided support in the areas of health, education, transportation, power, and telecommunications.
  • India hopes its investment in the Iranian port at Chabahar will allow it to gain trading access to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan. Pakistan currently allows Afghanistan transit rights for its exports to India but does not allow goods to move from India to Afghanistan.
  • But soft power is “India՚s greatest asset” in Afghanistan, writes Shashi Tharoor, their says the positive thing about such influence is that it engages the population in a way that takes into account what they want.


  • Strong historical ties
  • India was the only South Asian nation to recognize the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
  • During Soviet presence in Afghanistan, India sheltered over 60000 Afghan refuguees.
  • Tumultuous times during the regime of Taliban. Diplomatic ties were snapped.
  • Re-establishment of diplomatic ties after the overthrow of Taliban in 2001

Table 1

India՚s Concern (India՚s interests in Af)Afghanistan՚s concern
SecuritySecurity and stability of the region after the withdrawal of Western forcesAfghanistan looks to India as ‘a potential counterweight in its relationship with Pakistan’
Security of Indian personnel. Embassy bombings. Killing of personnel involved in reconstruction work.
Pakistan՚s growing influence in the region
Energy securityAfghanistan is key to our energy security because of geopolitical reasons. It is a gateway to energy-rich Central Asian states such as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan

Table 2

Significant cultural and economic links. Films and music of India popular in Af and products such as carpets, nuts and fruit are exported to India.
India՚s popularity in Af high due to the no-strings attached economic assistance

Table 3

Lot of Indian developmental projects in Afghanistan. India provides technical and monetary assistance. India is the largest regional donor to Afghan reconstruction
MMS՚ visit to Af in May 2011
Af՚s entry into SAARC
The two countries have declared that Strategic Partnership should be developed between the two countries
TAPI may promote regional integration. Af to earn about $ 500 mn in transit fee in TAPI.
India implemented Small Development Projects (SDPs) scheme for grass-root level development in all parts of Afghanistan
India has promised to increase the total development commitment to Afghanistan to USD 2 bn
Bilateral trade of $ 358 mn in 2007 - 08
India has opened consulates in Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, Kandhar

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