India wants to be a responsible partner in Afghanistan's development: CSM

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Washington, Feb.2 (ANI): An analytical piece in the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) has opined that India has recognized how vital a stable Afghanistan is for its own security, and is therefore, keen to project itself as a responsible partner in that landlocked country's development.

According to CSM, New Delhi is particularly concerned about the spread of terrorism in South and Central Asia, and its role in Afghanistan demonstrates that its desire to turn the war-ravaged country around.

Energy-starved India is also increasingly preoccupied by access to oil and gas in Central Asia.

India currently has a "soft power" presence in Afghanistan, in the form of development aid, cultural ties, and building projects. With more than a billion dollars invested, Afghanistan constitutes its biggest overseas investment, says the article.

It quotes Brahma Chellaney, an analyst at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, as saying: "India has earned a lot of goodwill in Afghanistan over the decades; the moment it gets involved militarily, that is likely to change."

He, however, adds that India's historic roles in civil wars in the region - especially in Sri Lanka - also make it wary of military involvement.

The CSM article says that any expansion of India's influence in Afghanistan could antagonize a suspicious Pakistan, which accuses Delhi of using its influence there to support Baluchi separatists in Pakistan.

Some fear increased Indian involvement could have a destabilizing effect. India, in turn, has accused Pakistan of involvement in the attacks on India's presence in Afghanistan.

India is also increasingly unsettled by China's strong presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

More generally, in the region, growing skepticism about the US strategy in Afghanistan could prompt countries to pull back from involvement there. (ANI)

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