Is the Indian foreign-policy ship changing course?: About India-Afghanistan relations

Synopsis: India announced hosting a summit on Afghanistan. This opens up many opportunities and new dimensions to India’s foreign policy.


Recently, India announced an international conference on Afghanistan in the second week of November. While India kept its relationship with the Taliban or Afghanistan under the wraps, this is certainly an unconventional step from India.

Read more: Regional powers and the Afghanistan question
Why this conference is significant?

It is for the first time that India’s National Security Council is wading into regional diplomacy. India has also invited two of its neighbours with whom the relations are frozen i.e. Pakistan and China.

Read more: Evaluating India’s options in Afghanistan
How does it impact India-Pakistan relations?

This invite puts Pakistan in a tough position. If Pakistan rejects the invite, it would be seen as Pakistan not seeking to amend its ties with India. If Pakistan accepts the invitation, then it would create a dilemma for Pakistan’s foreign policy regarding Jammu and Kashmir, as it would seem like Pakistan’s validation of India’s move in Kashmir.

What challenges led to this conference?

In the region that India lives in, Quad and AUKUS are of little help when it comes to Afghanistan. Pakistan and China are consolidating their positions in the Hindu Kush. Moscow and Beijing have erected concrete relations in Central Asia. So, India’s “influence” in Kabul is now significantly reduced.

India’s attempt to align with Iran seems to be coming to an end. India has swung to the other extreme by identifying a new Quad framework along with the UAE, USA, and Israel.

Coming to Afghanistan, India seems no more concerned whether Russia accommodates India in the “Moscow format” or the privileged grouping known as the Troika Plus (comprising US, China and Pakistan)

So, India has itself moved to the centre stage by announcing a new dialogue with Afghanistan in Delhi.

Thus, it can be said that India is adapting to the changes in geopolitical climate and making necessary changes in its foreign policy to ensure its internal security and continued growth.


Source: This post is based on the article “Is the Indian foreign-policy ship changing course?published in Indian Express on 20th October 2021.

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