July 23, 2014

India and US should jointly work for Afghanistan stability

By Sayed Jawad - Mon Jan 07, 4:00 pm

India and USAccording to a report released by Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) of the US Army War College, India and the US have a historic opportunity to work together in bringing stability to the war-torn country, The Economic Times reported.

Washington-Kabul strategic partnership agreement provides India with crucial space for diplomatic maneuvering so as to regain lost ground and expand its footprint in a neighboring state where it remains hugely popular despite the “lack of seriousness” in its policy approach, Harsh V Pant, from King’s College London, said in a report titled ‘India’s Changing Afghanistan Policy: Regional and Global Implications’.

The report issued by SSI said, “”An attempt to beef up intelligence sharing between India and Afghanistan is the first step in the operationalisation of the India-Afghan strategic partnership, but much more concrete steps are needed to ensure that New Delhi maintains a substantial presence in Afghanistan.”

“Now that Washington is making it clear that it views Pakistan as part of the problem and India as part of the solution, New Delhi and Washington have a historic opportunity to work together in bringing stability and security in Afghanistan,” said the report.

In his forward to the report, Douglas C Lovelace, Director of SSI, said as the US-led NATO forces prepare to leave Afghanistan in 2014, India stands at a crossroads as it remains keen to preserve its interests in Afghanistan.

Although India has committed to increase its involvement in Afghanistan, there are some major limitations to its engagement that need to be highlighted but there is no doubt that India has played a major role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan since 2001. Having contributed close to $2 billion in aid over the past decade, India is the fifth largest donor nation to Afghanistan.

In the meantime a US congressional report earlier said India wants to deny Pakistan strategic depth in Afghanistan and ensure its interests are not attacked there but has little interest in inflaming Islamabad’s sentiments by playing a large security role, terming Kabul’s handling of its two crucial neighbours a “delicate balancing act”.

The report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), an independent research wing of the US Congress, which prepares periodic reports to help Congressmen make informed decisions, also detailed how India’s activities in the country are “inverse” of Pakistan and how New Delhi is wary of the reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.

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