ASSESSMENTS

For India, a Taliban-Led Afghanistan Marks a Painful Setback

MIN READSep 29, 2021 | 19:01 GMT

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) and then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani wave during the inauguration of the Afghan-India Friendship Dam in Herat, Afghanistan, on June 4, 2016.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) and then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani wave during the inauguration of the Afghan-India Friendship Dam in Herat, Afghanistan, on June 4, 2016.

(OMAR SOBHANI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has created political, economic and security challenges for India. New Delhi’s strategy will focus on preserving some degree of political engagement with Kabul while reaching out to countries like Russia and Iran to influence regional events and try to mitigate the risk of terrorism. Lodged between regional rivals China and Pakistan, Afghanistan has great strategic value for India. India’s relationship with Afghanistan has also helped India with its national security and economic goals for the region. For New Delhi, influence in Afghanistan by means of a strong engagement with the former democratic government has been helpful in keeping its neighboring nemesis Pakistan in check. Over the past 20 years, India has built up large strategic capital through developmental investment and people-to-people ties in Afghanistan. Economically, Afghanistan has also become an important node for facilitating India’s trade and connectivity with West and Central Asia. But with...

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