The only solution to the Afghan conflict is a political one. An open-minded approach by India can help secure the gains of the previous fifteen years.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become the organizing foreign policy concept of the Xi Jinping era.
The conflict in Afghanistan is the United States’ longest-running war. Despite the progress made there since September 11, 2001, the persistence of the Taliban insurgency is perhaps still the most debilitating challenge facing the country.
At best, India can be a useful ally to the Afghan government. It cannot—and does not pretend to— be a substitute for the United States.
To protect the integrity of the Afghan state, U.S. policy should aim to end the conflict in ways that mitigate the threats of terrorism, instability, and regional conflict.
As Trump generates a new round political turbulence in India’s western neighborhood, India must embark on a more activist policy in the Middle East that goes beyond its hollow rhetoric.
By deepening its political, economic and military engagement in Afghanistan, and by formally signing a Memorandum of Understanding in 2016, China seems to be emerging as a long-term player in the region’s new Great Game.
Although the United States and India have had shared interests in Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban at the end of 2001, Washington, in deference to Pakistan, has generally discouraged New Delhi from an activist role there.
It remains to be seen whether recent foreign policy pivots by the Trump administration amount to a departure from its earlier views about America’s role in the world.
Despite common interests, shared objectives and similar initiatives, biased perceptions have persistently hindered dialogue and cooperation between India and the European Union in Afghanistan.