Afghanistan and defence ties with U.S. are expected to be the prime issues during James Mattis’s visit to India next week. Mr. Trump’s policy includes more pressure on Pakistan, no early U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, great military action on counter-terrorism and a greater role for India in sync with the U.S.
On January 4, 1950, India signed a Treaty of Friendship with Afghanistan which permitted opening of consulates in each other’s country. Surveys conducted by various Afghan and foreign agencies show that the Afghan people ranked Indian assistance as the most suitable because of the positive role India has played in the development programme of Afghanistan. The Afghans also appreciate the fact that India has never interfered in their internal affairs till date.
The energy basket of Asia needs to be exploited for the benefit of Afghanistan and the surrounding region. The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline is one such example.
It is also necessary to redouble counter-narcotics efforts as Afghanistan remains the world’s largest producer of opium, accounting for 90% of the world’s supply.
A Stable Afghanistan requires involvement of the Central Asian Republics, Russia and Iran, which border Afghanistan. It is important for India to coordinate its efforts with those to ensure success.