Connect with us

World News

What is the future of Indian investment in Afghanistan?




What is the future of Indian investment in Afghanistan?

New Delhi spent billions of dollars on infrastructure and humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan after the United States toppled the Taliban regime in 2001.

From building highways to transporting food and building schools, India “invested time, money and effort” into rebuilding Afghanistan, according to an Indian business expert.

The expert, who asked not to be named, said Indian projects in Afghanistan would require regular maintenance and can only survive in a “conducive environment.”

India’s notable investments in Afghanistan

Aparna Pande, the director of the Hudson Institute’s Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia, said India’s investment in Afghanistan “will not disappear just because the Taliban have taken over.”

Some of New Delhi’s most important projects include a highway that helps connect India to Afghanistan. The $150 million (€130 million) Zaranj-Delaram highway in southwestern Afghanistan was completed in 2009. It allows India to trade with Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar port. The road link is significant for India because Pakistan does not allow New Delhi to transport goods to Afghanistan across its territory.

India also assisted in the construction of the Afghan parliament building in Kabul and a dam that generates electricity and irrigates fields.

India has also built schools and hospitals, trained Afghan officers in its military academies and offered other technical assistance.

In 2017, New Delhi and Kabul opened a direct air freight corridor, which boosted the trade between the two countries.

Apart from these projects, India has committed about $120 million to develop various small and medium-scale projects, including education, health, water management and sports facilities, since 2005.

India also helped set up a Medical Diagnostic Center in Kabul in 2015.

As of July 2020, India had signed another five agreements for the construction of schools and roads worth $2.5 million.

At the 2020 Geneva Conference, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said New Delhi would construct the Shatoot Dam in the Kabul district. The dam would provide drinking water to more than 2 million Afghans. Moreover, India would also undertake over 100 projects worth $80 million in Afghanistan, Jaishankar announced.

Additionally, New Delhi offered scholarships to Afghan students to study in India.

Why did India invest in Afghanistan?

India had supported the anti-Taliban resistance when the Islamic fundamentalist group ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. After the collapse of the Taliban’s first government in 2001, New Delhi found an opportunity to increase its influence in the country.

Gautam Mukhopadhaya, the Indian ambassador to Afghanistan between 2010 and 2013, told DW that the main purpose behind investing in Afghanistan was to gain public trust and political goodwill.

“They were ‘gifts’ for the Afghan people,” he said, adding that India, by no means, wanted to use the financial assistance as political leverage.

But some experts are of the view that India’s objectives also included the political and democratic transformation of Afghanistan.

Atul Mishra, an expert on international relations and governance studies at the Shiv Nadar University, said ndia projected itself as a state builder to “ensure that a secure democratic and inclusive regime would illustrate the importance of political transformation in a predominantly Islamic country.”

India and Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership agreement in 2011, under which India also assisted the Afghan military. New Delhi also wanted to make sure that anti-India Islamist militants didn’t launch attacks on Indian soil from Afghanistan, according to Mishra.

New Delhi has repeatedly accused Pakistan of backing Islamist militants in the region as proxies against India.

Can India work with the Taliban?

India has always been critical of the Taliban, whom it considers close to its regional rival, Pakistan. But the Islamist group has hinted that it would like to have good ties with all regional countries this time around.

Mukhopadhaya said working with the Taliban could prove to be difficult.

“For instance, extending humanitarian aid through the Taliban is a complicated affair,” he told DW.

Pande believes it is crucial that India continues to deliver humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, but not through the Taliban.

New Delhi is still skeptical of the Taliban, with Pande saying that the Taliban’s backing of the hijackers of an Indian Airlines flight in 1999 still lingers in the memory of most Indians.

Mishra is of the view that India has lost its leverage on Afghanistan after the US withdrawal from the country and the Taliban’s swift capture of Kabul on August 15.

The experts say India now must “wait and watch” to see how the Taliban’s new regime deals with regional neighbors. Until then, Indian investments in Afghanistan will be in a state of limbo.



Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

Follow Thaiger by email:

Tourism8 hours ago

Travellers after November 1 told to book quarantine hotels

Bangkok10 hours ago

Fire at Samut Prakan shoe factory rages for 3 hours

Thailand News Today10 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vax for south, Test kit bundle bungle | October 20

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Pattaya12 hours ago

Bangkok Hospital Pattaya giving expats free Pfizer vaccines

Thailand12 hours ago

Thailand corruption, Mixed vaccines, Delusions, The muppets | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 42

Technology13 hours ago

Facebook plans a name change and rebrand to a metaverse

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Covid-19 Wednesday: 79 deaths, infections below 9,000

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Bangkok authorities and hotels prepare for returning travellers

Weather15 hours ago

Korat’s largest hospital now flooded

Bangkok15 hours ago

GPO selling ATKs at 40 baht at 8 centres and online

Crime15 hours ago

Music teacher in Bangkok arrested for allegedly molesting young schoolboys

Thailand16 hours ago

Refund for Fraud victims, Retirement visa changes, Flood warnings | Good Morning Thailand | Ep. 113

Technology16 hours ago

Digital literacy a must for bank card holders after recent cyber fraud incident

Bangkok16 hours ago

93 arrested for alcohol in restaurant across from police station

Thailand17 hours ago

Thailand Top Stories | Requirement for health insurance policy for O-A visa | October 20

Thailand1 month ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism8 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11