Key points of the bilateral relation between India and Afghanistan
- India and Afghanistan historically have shared close cultural and political ties, and the complexity of their diplomatic history reflects this fact. India supported successive governments in Kabul until the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, and was among the first non-Communist states to recognize the government installed by the Soviet Union after its invasion. But like most countries, India never recognized the Taliban's assumption of power in 1996 (only Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates recognized the Taliban regime).
- Following the 9/11 attacks and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan that resulted, ties between India and Afghanistan grew strong once again. India has restored full diplomatic relations, and has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Afghanistan's reconstruction and development.
- India has been the largest regional donor of Afghanistan.
- India's first overseas military airbase is in Afghanistan at Farkhor.
- It is no surprise then that Pakistan sees India's growing influence in Afghanistan as a threat.Pakistan's concern is that India is trying to encircle it by gaining influence in Afghanistan.Pakistan's support for the Taliban has led to increased instability in Afghanistan, from the growth of terrorism to increased opium cultivation. But Islamabad denies any support for the Taliban and says it is committed to fighting terrorism.Pakistan also competes with India for access to consumer markets in Afghanistan.
- Afghanistan holds strategic importance for India as New Delhi seeks friendly allies in the neighborhood, and because it is a gateway to energy-rich Central Asian states such as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.Also, the massive reconstruction plans for the country offer a lot of opportunities for Indian companies.Strategically, an actively pro-Delhi regime in Kabul (at the moment, fierce warlords rule most other parts of the country) would rattle Islamabad, which has traditionally seen Afghanistan as its backyard. Afghanistan, on the other hand, looks to India as "a potential counterweight in its relationship with Pakistan."
- India also supported Afghanistan's bid to become a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
- In August 2008, Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited New Delhi. This visit further strengthened bilateral relations, and Prime Minister Singh pledged further aid for Afghanistan
- During the 15th SAARC summit in Colombo, India pledged another USD $450 million along with $750 million already pledged for ongoing and forthcoming projects.
- In January 2009, India handed over to Afghanistan a crucial road link that will give India a trade route to Kabul through Chabahar deep sea port in Iran.
- India would build a dam for the Salam power project.
- India is building a 218 km long Zaranj-Delaram Highway.
Scpectrum's current events review 2009