India`s motivation in Afghanistan is very clear, nothing further than upsetting Pakistan. Why should they (India) have consulates in Jalalabad and Kandahar? What is their interest ? There is no interest other than disturbing Pakistan, doing something against Pakistan.
By Zosheen Riaz
Indian role in Afghanistan threatens Pakistan and China; as Indian influence can bring threat to Pakistan. Afghanistan has been best shield to Pakistan but it seems that with the Indian influence in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s shield is broken. South Asian region has always been in the limelight owing to its geostrategic significance and distinct characteristics. While the region on one hand, is home to most colorful heterogeneous socio-religious groups; on the other it is a simmering pot of rivalries among three nuclear powers (Pakistan, China and India) and one most destabilized state i.e.
Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s instability is a matter of growing concern for all the stakeholders in region specifically Pakistan as a bordering state. Significance of Afghanistan cannot be denied as it is situated in a trade buffer zone nearby Central Asia. It has a landscape that protects India and Pakistan from the outer enemy and has prevented Eurasian states from spreading in the region. Due to its high mountains and landscape it serves as a shield against locomotion of modern army. As regards trade and oil, Afghanistan can be fruitful for India and Pakistan both as it has become oil trade route for USA. It seems quite obvious with the current movements in the Afghanistan that Americans wish India and Pakistan to develop a role in Afghanistan as they cannot stay here forever. The Russo-Chinese factor of having access to the Eurasian Heart-land is an additional possibility but this in turn enhances geopolitical importance of Afghanistan.
Moreover War on Terror has not been concluded yet nor is any end in sight yet. The possibility of spread of Taliban havens in Afghanistan would permit al-Qaeda to return to its historical operating areas. This has made Afghanistan one of the most important, vulnerable and front line states. On the other hand the U.S.A invasion and development of war stages in Afghanistan ensures direct Indian influence in Afghanistan. Since 2001, India has restored diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, invested heavily in reconstruction projects, and increased bilateral trade. India has launched major developmental projects in Afghanistan, which include Salma Dam power project in Herat worth 109.3 $ million envisaged to produce 42 MW of power. India has pledged 750 $ million aid to the beleaguered Muslim nation. It is presently involved in generating hydro-electricity, construction of roads, creating telecommunication network and development of agriculture, industry et al. It has substantially regained its pre-eminence there and ‘strategic foothold’ in Afghanistan, an impoverished nation of 30 million people. India has been involved in multifarious reconstruction activities in Afghanistan ranging from building roads, bridges and power stations to quick gestation grassroots projects involving ordinary Afghans. India has pledged USD 1.3 billion for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, making New Delhi the biggest regional donor to that country. India is involved in training Afghan military personnel. It has “exchange of intelligence” accords that have enabled Kabul to track down groups linked to the Taliban.
India is the second-largest aid donor to Afghanistan, behind the US and ahead of Iran. It has allocated about $750 million to rebuild the war-shattered infrastructure. This includes strategic roads that have helped the Afghan Army and NATO allies to pursue Taliban fighters in previously inaccessible areas. Of the regional powers, only India has offered full support to post-Taliban Afghanistan. China regards the regime of Hamid Karzai as too beholden to the US and too hostile to Pakistan, its traditional ally in South Asia, while Russia cannot come back because of memories of the Soviet invasion in the 1980s. The only power likely to offer Afghanistan long-term support is India. Helping Afghanistan would weaken radical Islamism and prevent Pakistan acquiring a hinterland through Afghanistan in Muslim Central Asia. At some point, Delhi might consider military commitment, an idea that is surprisingly popular in India but regarded with horror in Pakistan.
India wants to change the face of Afghanistan by rebuilding its shattered economy. Several thousand Indians are working round the clock in Afghanistan to speed up the development process. India’s concern has been to strengthen Afghanistan, which has been destabilized by several forces, including Pakistan, for vested interests. Pakistan expressed its concern about Indian interest in Afghanistan that is not its immediate neighbour. When India opened its consulates in Afghanistan, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf gave vent to concern as: “India’s motivation in Afghanistan is very clear; nothing further than upsetting Pakistan. Why should they (India) have consulates in Jalalabad and Kandahar? What is their interest? There is no interest other than disturbing Pakistan, doing something against Pakistan”.