General Studies Paper 2 (International Affairs): India’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy


IAS Junior Mains Answer Writing June-Sep 2019 Schedule (Click Here)


Syllabus: General Studies Paper 2 (International Affairs)


In the context of “neighbourhood first policy” analyse the significance of a Stable Afghanistan for India? What should be India’s Afghanistan policy in the backdrop of sudden US withdrawal from the country?



Afghanistan is considered to “the great game country” owing to its strategic location and geopolitics. It has served as the battle ground for multiple powers trying to establish their spheres of influence. Ex- Britain (1920), Soviets (1970) and  US (2001).



India’s neighbourhood first policy:

It was launched in 2014 with the objectives:

  • To give political and diplomatic priority to its immediate neighbours
  • Provide support to neighbours in the form of resources, equipment and training.
  • Greater connectivity and integration
  • Promoting a model of India led regionalism
  • Connect with neighbours through cultural heritage.


Significance of Stable Afghanistan for India:

  • Economic:
    • Afghanistan has significant mineral resources (rare earth metals) and is gateway to energy rich central Asia. It is situated at crossroads between South Asia and Central Asia and South Asia and the Middle East. Ex- TAPI pipeline.
    • Provides opportunity for massive reconstruction plans for the country (Salma Dam, Parliament) and act as a major market for Indian companies.
  • Strategic:
    • Stable government in Kabul is essential to reduce terror activities across south Asia also in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • India was the first country Afghanistan chose to sign a strategic partnership agreement in 2011 and it has enabled India to assist in training, equipping and capacity-building programs for the Afghan Security Forces.
    • Linking Chabahar port and the Delaram-Zaranj road helps in access to Central Asia.
  • Defence:
    • Afghanistan also provides a market for “Make In India” defence production. India also open to sell offensive weapons. Ex- Mi25 helicopters
  • Social and cultural:
    • India has gained goodwill with developmental projects and has provided an experimental base to its projection of soft power. Indian projects have been low cost but with high impact.

Reason for withdrawal of US

  • After 17 years of engagement and failure to achieve its goals, of eliminating Al Qaeda and establishing a viable democracy, US have arrived an 18-month withdrawal plan from Afghanistan.
  • India’s stand: The peace talk’s needs to the Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled. India has resisted talking to Taliban in negotiating peace in the backdrop of continuous violence.


Way forward

India should continue to engage with every stakeholder to achieve a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. India should support a solution:

  • Where Taliban recognizes a constitutional democracy and existing Constitution Which gives legitimacy to Afghanistan government and engages as a political party.
  • Detests support to terror outfits.
  • Provides for the safety and security of Indian investments and long-term strategic engagement.


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