With India’s relations with Pakistan entering a period of turbulence, Afghanistan could acquire an unusual prominence in India’s regional strategy.
A more complex phase in the long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan has begun. Modi must retain strong control over the inevitable escalation that will unfold and sustain relentless pressure on Rawalpindi’s political vulnerabilities.
Afghanistan’s geopolitical situation means it must either normalize relations Pakistan or partner with India to balance it. After having attempted the former, Afghanistan is pursuing the latter.
The fact that it has taken more than a decade for India to begin work on the Chabahar port project reveals the deep-rooted internal constraints on India’s regional economic strategy.
Delhi finds Washington’s argument that the F-16s will help Pakistan counter terrorism in the region somewhat incredulous.
Even if Pakistan succeeds in getting the new Taliban leadership to the table, there will be enough Afghan elements to challenge the terms.
Beijing has begun to see that political stability and moderation in Afghanistan are vital to counter the rise of Islamist extremism and ethnic separatism in its restive far western province, Xinjiang.
To be an effective player in Central Asia, India must find a way either through Pakistan, or around it.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to New Delhi offers an opportunity for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to recalibrate India’s Afghan policy toward greater realism and more modest goals.
As the United States ends its combat role in Afghanistan, strategic cooperation with Iran has become absolutely critical for securing India’s interests in Afghanistan and Central Asia.