TopicsGeneral TopicsIndia Versus Afghanistan Relations, History, Political, Economic

India Versus Afghanistan Relations, History, Political, Economic

The India Vs Afghanistan relations date back to ancient history. Since ancient times, India and Afghanistan have maintained a strong bond. In this article, we will highlight the critical history of India versus Afghanistan and the economic relations between these countries. Read the complete article to learn more about their relationships and ties.

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    India versus Afghanistan Relations

    Based on historical and cultural ties, India and Afghanistan have a strong relationship. India has played an important role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction and rehabilitation. We believe that democracy and development are the key instruments to ensure that Afghanistan becomes a source of regional stability.

    This can be seen in the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed between Afghanistan and India during Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s October 2011 visit to India, which reinforced the two countries’ strong, vibrant, and multifaceted relations while also formalizing a framework for cooperation in various areas between the two countries: political and security cooperation, trade and economic cooperation, capacity development and education, and so on.

    India and Afghanistan have long-standing bilateral ties, and both are members of regional organizations such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

    According to the MEA, friendly relations date back to January 1950, when then-Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Afghanistan’s then-Ambassador to India, Mohammad Najibullah, signed a five-year Treaty of Friendship.

    History of India-Afghanistan Relations

    Let us know some of the important facts about India and Afghanistan dating back to a longer time in history.

    • The India-Afghanistan relationship dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization. One of Alexander’s successors controlled most of Afghanistan before ceding much of it to the Mauryan Empire in 305 BC as part of an alliance party.
    • Between the 10th and 18th centuries, many invaders, including the Ghaznavids, Mughals, and Suris, invaded the northern regions of India.
    • Due to political instability, many Afghans began to enter India during these eras, particularly during the Mughal period.
    • Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was a prominent leader of the Indian independence movement and a member of the Indian National Congress.

    India versus Afghanistan Political Relations

    In 2005, India proposed Afghanistan’s membership in SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).

    Three memoranda of understanding (MOUs) were signed between the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the Afghan National Standardization Authority to strengthen cooperation in the fields of rural development, education, and standardization.

    During Hamid Karzai’s visit to India in April 2006, an agreement providing $50 million to promote bilateral businesses between Afghanistan and India was signed during the visit of Afghan Foreign Minister Dr. Spanta between June 29 and July 1, 2006. During the same year, India increased its aid package to Afghanistan by $150 million, bringing the total to $750 million.

    India and Afghanistan have a strong historical and cultural bond. The relationship is founded on historical contacts and exchanges between the people. The Strategic Partnership Agreement signed by India and Afghanistan in October 2011 has recently strengthened bilateral relations.

    The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the two countries calls for assistance to rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure and institutions, as well as education and technical assistance to rebuild indigenous Afghan capacity in various areas, as well as encouraging investment in Afghanistan’s natural resources.

    It also provided duty-free access to the Indian market for Afghan exports, advocating for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, broad-based, and inclusive peace and reconciliation process and advocating for the international community’s sustained and long-term commitment to Afghanistan.

    Economic Relations between India and Afghanistan

    As the international alliance fighting the Taliban begins its withdrawal, India seeks to expand its economic presence in Afghanistan. It is particularly interested in improving transportation connectivity and economic collaboration with Central and South Asian countries. As of 2012, India had already invested $10.8 billion in Afghanistan. More of these projects are likely to follow once NATO leaves Afghanistan.

    Setting up iron ore mines, a 6 MTPA steel plant (by SAIL—Steel Authority of India Limited), an 800 MW power plant, hydroelectric power projects, transmission lines, and roads are all part of the plan.

    India assisted in the rebuilding of the Salma Dam in Herat province. This Indo-Afghan friendship dam, in addition to producing 42 MW of power, also provides irrigation for 75,000 hectares of farmland in the Chisti Sharif district.

    Salma Dam, officially the India versus Afghanistan Friendship Dam, is a hydroelectric and irrigation dam project located on the Hari River in the Chishti Sharif District of Herat Province in western Afghanistan. In order to strengthen bilateral relations, the Afghan cabinet renamed the Salma Dam the Afghan-India Friendship Dam.

    The hydroelectric plant generates 42 MW of power while also providing irrigation for 75,000 hectares of farmland (stabilizing 35,000 hectares of existing irrigation and developing irrigation facilities on an additional 40,000 hectares).

    The India-Afghanistan Air-Freight Corridor has seen nearly 1,000 flights carrying goods worth more than USD 216 million. This has increased Afghan exports to India, directly benefiting Afghan farmers, small traders, and exporters. The Corridor will now be extended to other cities in both India and Afghanistan.

    Another significant initiative that boosted bilateral trade was the December 2017 operationalization of the Chabahar Port, followed by a commercial agreement to manage port operations in February 2018. Over 5,000 containers have passed through the port, carrying over 110,000 tons of wheat and 2,000 tons of pulses sent by India as aid to Afghanistan via Chabahar. These were distributed throughout Afghanistan, and the average transportation time (excluding processing time) was less than two weeks.

    In 2019, Afghanistan shipped approximately 700 tons of agricultural and mineral products to India via the Chabahar Port, demonstrating the port’s viability as a transit point for Afghanistan and, eventually, Central Asia.

    Following the success of the first and second editions of the India versus Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show, titled ‘Passage to Prosperity,’ held in September 2017 in New Delhi and September 2018 in Mumbai, respectively, the third edition was held on September 24-26, 2019 in Delhi. The show, like previous editions, was produced in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 105 Afghan businesses participated in the event. A trade worth $33.6 million was signed, and pre-contract agreements worth $23.3 million were discussed.

    India Versus Afghanistan FAQs

    What is the relationship between Afghanistan and India?

    Although contact between Afghan populations has existed since the days of the Indus Valley civilizations, diplomatic relations between the two countries were only established in the 1950s. In January 1950, the two countries signed a five-year Treaty of Friendship in New Delhi.

    Is India friendly with Afghanistan?

    India pursues a policy of close collaboration with countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, and Iran in order to strengthen its regional power status and contain its rival Pakistan, which is accused of aiding and abetting Islamic militants in Kashmir and other Indian states.

    Why is Afghanistan important to India?

    Afghanistan, located at the heart of the historic Silk Road, has long served as a crossroads of commerce between Asian countries, connecting them to Europe and strengthening religious, cultural, and commercial ties.

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