Indian and Afghan His Excellency Mr. Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan recently met President Mr. Ramnath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
- Afghanistan is not only a strategic partner for India but also a symbol of affection.
- The strategic partnership between the two countries has increased recently.
- Businessmen of the two nations have united and carried more than 200 million US dollars by the India-Afghanistan trade and investment exhibition organized in New Delhi.
- The Air Freight Corridor was started between Kandahar and Kabul and Delhi.
What are the different Areas of Cooperation between the two sides?
- India is the second largest destination for Afghanistan exports.
- Afghanistan possess many minerals like gold, iron, copper etc. Indian companies have invested in its mining sector
- More than 100 companies have invested in various sectors of its economy including agriculture, communications, Information Technology etc.
- The proposed TAPI (Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan and India) pipeline passes through Afghanistan. It is for importing Natural Gas from Turkmenistan to India.
- India, Iran and Afghanistan have jointly signed a trade deal. The deal aims at investment in Chabahar port for accessing landlocked Afghanistan by circumventing Pakistan.
- India provides training to Afghanistan military officers in Indian military academies
- In 2014 India signed an agreement with Afghanistan and Russia. According to this agreement Russia will provide all military equipment needed by Afghanistan and India will pay for it
- India has directly provided three Russian-made Mi-25 attack helicopters to Afghan Air Force in 2015
Corporation in fighting Terrorism:
- India wants a democratic and peaceful Afghanistan for stability in its relations. But the country faces terror threats in the following ways
- Afghani Taliban is a majorterrorist group. They are attempting to take over the democratically elected Government in Afghanistan
- Al Qaedaand many other terrorist groups like Haqqani Network are very active in Afghanistan
- The recent rise of Islamic Stateterrorists may have spillover effects on India in future
How are relations between India and Afghanistan in the present scenario?
Strategic partnership agreement:
- Strategic Partnership Agreement of 2011 strengthened the relation between India and Afghanistan.
- The construction and opening of Afghanistan’s parliament building and the Afghanistan-India friendship dam (Salma Dam) stands out.
- India’s timely provision of a few helicopters, which has contributed to an enabling environment for stabilization, and development of Afghanistan.
- India helps Afghanistan to rebuild its infrastructure and institutions, education and technical assistance, encourages investment in Afghanistan’s natural resources, providing duty free access to the Indian markets for its exports.
- India aims for an Afghan-led Afghan-owned, broad based and inclusive process of peace and reconciliation and advocates the need for sustained and long-term commitment to Afghanistan by the international community.
- India and Afghanistan have a strong relationship based on historical and cultural links, it’s focal point have been trade and commerce.
- The Silk road has proved to pave the way of forever existing equation between the two countries.
- Their corridor is important for the geo-strategic location connecting the East and the West Asia.
- India’s bilateral trade with Afghanistan stood at $684.47 million in 2014-15, an increase of 0.20% over $683.10 million a year ago.
- India’s export to Afghanistan in 2014-15 stood at $ 422.56 million, while its imports from Afghanistan were worth $261.91 million.
- India delivered three Russian made MI-25 attack helicopters to Afghanistan in December 2015..
- The Preferential Trade Agreement signed in March 2003 under which India allowed duty concessions, and removed custom duties for all Afghan products.
- With the Operation of Chabahar Port in Iran, Afghan exports would receive further boost, as a new transit route for trade.
- Steel authority if India is setting a plant in Afghanistan’s Hajigak iron ore reserves
- The volume of Indo-Afghan trade stood at $680 million during 2013-2014, a figure that should exponentially rise, following the full implementation of the Afghanistan and Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement (APTTA).
- Indian investors remain deeply interested in the many “virgin markets” of Afghanistan, including mining, agriculture and agribusiness, information and technology, telecommunications, and others
What is the way ahead?
- Maintaining peace and security to keep Afghan on the path of economic reform and development is important principle.
- India has also been suffering from terrorism arising from countries sponsored and cross border for decades.
- India believes that whatever steps are taken to bring peace in Afghanistan, it should be under Afghanistan’s leadership and control of Afghanistan.