India-Afghanistan Relations


Official Name: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Major Events: 

  •   Indian rulers Mauryas, Kanishka etc
  •   Genghis Khan took over in 1219 CE
  •   Babur took over in early 16th century CE
  •   1st Anglo-Afghan War 1838
  •   British retreat in 1842
  •   2nd Anglo-Afghan war 1878
  •   Durand Line 1893
  •   3rd Anglo-Afghan War 1919
  •   Afghan Civil War 1928-29
  •   Mohammed Zahir Shah reign 1933-73
  •   Communist Coup 1978 (Saur Revolution)
  •   Second Civil War 1979
  •   Soviet Invasion 1979
  •   Soviet withdrawal 1989
  •   Disintegration of Soviet Union 1991
  •   Collapse of Communist Government 1992
  •   Civil Wars (92-96)
  •   Taliban takes over Kabul 96
  •   Civil war continues (96-2001)
  •   US Invasion 2001


India's Relations with Afghanistan

  • During Ancient times India and Afghanistan were closely related and were often ruled by same dynasties such as the Mauryas, Guptas and Kushanas
  • Hinduism and Buddhism were widespread in both the countries.
  • During Medieval Period the Delhi Sultanate was formed by rulers who migrated from Central Asia and Afghanistan
  • The founder of Mughal Empire Babur was ruling Kabul before his conquest of Delhi
  • During British Era Afghanistan was acting as a buffer zone between the British possessions in India and the Russian Empire in what was called as the Great Game.
  • After independence India had friendly relations with the various monarchies that ruled Afghanistan.
  • India was also in favour of the Soviet Intervention in 1979 and was one of the only 18 countries to vote in favour of USSR in UNGA when the western countries wanted to censure USSR intervention.
  • After the Taliban takeover of Kabul, India supplied arms and other support to the Northern Alliance (Democratic forces against Taliban) and used the airbase in Tajikistan for this purpose.
  • The first major contention after the fall of USSR between India and Taliban came in 1999 when the Indian Airlines flight IC 814 from Kathmandu to Delhi was hijacked by terrorists and flown to Kandahar. While initially the Taliban appeared to be favourable to Indian side, it soon became clear that they were associated with ISI and the hijackers. This led to a souring of relations which continues till date.
  • The US war on terror from 2001 as a result of WTC attacks have helped India to improve the relations in the region and India has invested heavily in education and infrastructure development in the region
  • The resurgence of Taliban and US's decision to withdraw from the region hence poses a threat to Indian interests in the area especially since that will open the doors to an enthusiastic China with its BRI and an eager Pakistan with ties to Taliban to create their own spheres of influence
  • Afghanistan poses a great deal of interest to India's national interests
  • Taliban trained terrorists have been used to create chaos in Kashmir Valley in the past
  • India's development of Chabahar port also aims at creating an alternate inroad into central Asia which is supposed to go through Afghanistan
  • India has already invested millions of dollars into the development of Afghanistan and has a multitude of ongoing projects whose future has suddenly become murky.


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