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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 25 November, 2020

  • 8 Min Read

India's assistance to Afghanistan

Afghanistan - India Relations

Recently, at the Afghanistan 2020 Conference, India has announced about 150 projects worth USD 80 million. Also, the USA has decided to reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan to about 2,500 by January 2021.

India - Afghanistan relations:

  • India will launch phase-IV of high-impact community development projects, which include around 150 projects worth USD 80 million. It has signed an agreement for building the Shahtoot dam, which would provide safe drinking water to 2 million residents of Kabul city.
  • It builds on the 202 km Pul-e-Khumri transmission line of 2009, through which India provides power to the city.

India - Afghan relations:

India’s development programmes in Afghanistan are focused around 5 pillars:

  1. Large infrastructure projects.
  2. Human resource development and capacity building.
  3. Humanitarian assistance.
  4. High-impact community development projects.
  5. Enhancing trade and investment through air and land connectivity.

Since 2001, India has committed USD 3 billion towards rebuilding and reconstruction of Afghanistan. During the Taliban years from 1996 to 2001, India did not invest in Afghanistan.

Chabahar Port in Iran, which provides alternate connectivity to Afghanistan.

  • Afghanistan’s growth has been constrained by its landlocked geography and Pakistan blocking transit access made the situation even worse.

Pandemic Support

  • India sent more than 20 tonnes of medicines, other equipment and transported 75,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan to address the Covid-19 challenge.

Shift in Indian Perspective:

  • The Indian government’s decision to invest in Afghanistan’s future, where the Taliban is set to play a dominant role, is being seen as a major departure from the past.
  • India also participated in the commencement ceremony of the intra-Afghan talks in Doha in September 2020, where a 21- member Taliban team was also present. It reflects India's realisation of ground realities and shifting sands in Kabul’s power structure.

Reduction of Troops by USA:

  • In February 2020, the USA and the Tabilan signed an agreement in Doha, (Qatar’s capital).
  • According to it, the USA would withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan in 14 months and would also release Taliban prisoners, held captive by the Afghan government.
  • In return, the Taliban assured that they would not allow transnational jihadist organisations such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to use Afganistan as their base and also committed to start direct talks with the Afghan government, which began in September 2020.
  • With the USA leaving at such a crucial point, it not only deprives Afghan forces of the support they need, particularly the airpower, but also affects their morale.
  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has committed to funding Afghan troops for four more years.
  • However, this decision will leave Afghanistan with an uncertain future as the Taliban is expected to take over after the troops’ withdrawal.
  • The Taliban, who were ousted from power in 2001 after the USA invasion, have since been fighting both foreign troops and the Afghan government.
  • It now controls more than half of the country and contests the whole of it. Since the agreement was signed, the Taliban have conducted more than 13,000 attacks nationwide.
  • According to a UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UMAMA) report in October 2020, nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians were killed in the first nine months of the year and 45% of the deaths were by the Taliban.

Conclusion

  • The increasing level of violence in Afghanistan is a pressing concern. India calls for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire and also believes that the peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
  • India looks forward to walking hand in hand with the people of Afghanistan and the world community to work towards a peaceful, prosperous, sovereign, democratic and united Afghanistan.

Source: Livemint


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