August 20, 2021

Afghanistan and India: What you need to know

A compilation of articles that explain what the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan means for India.

2 min read

People all over the world watched in horror as the Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15th, 2021 resulting in mass panic and, in certain instances, lethal attempts at fleeing the country. India has long been Afghanistan’s ally, offering monetary support to bolster democracy in the country.

As things take a turn for the worse, we’ve compiled resources and readings to give you a better understanding of what this hostile takeover means for India’s relations with Afghanistan, and how you can offer support to incoming refugees.

Learn about India’s relationship with Afghanistan

1. Suhasini Haider of The Hindu talks about immediate actions that the Indian government needs to take with regard to the current situation in Afghanistan. From bringing home Indian nationals to opening channels of communication with the Taliban, here are five questions facing the Modi government today.

2. The Taliban’s triumph threatens not just India’s diplomatic stakes in Afghanistan, but also 20 years and USD 3 billion worth of Indian investment in various projects—dams, roads, and trade infrastructure. This article by the Indian Express offers a comprehensive analysis of Indian investment in the country and what the future of these projects could look like.

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3. India has welcomed refugees in the past, and nearly 300,000 people here are categorised as refugees. But India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention or the 1967 Protocol. Nor does India have a refugee policy or a refugee law of its own. This article by the Indian Express explains India’s inconsistent stance on refugees and the problems that come with it.

4. Having taken over the presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) this month, India has been seeking to demonstrate its leadership on issues of international security. However, that’s not the only reason why we need to take the lead in offering support to incoming refugees without indulging in communal politics. Read more about why India needs to champion the cause of Afghan refugees in The Diplomat.

5. While Russia is a close historical partner for India, Moscow is generally looking to Pakistan to help safeguard its interests in Afghanistan, reducing the prospects for closer collaboration with India. That leaves Iran as India’s most important ally in Afghanistan. This article in World Politics Review expands on how this strategic partnership could shape the future of India’s ties with Afghanistan.

Want to help?

Here are organisations you can support to offer your help to people fleeing Afghanistan and seeking asylum in India. If you know of other nonprofits working with Afghan refugees, send us an email at [email protected] and we will add them to the list.

  • Migration and Asylum Project (MAP): The UNHCR allows a person applying for refugee status to have a lawyer help with their case. MAP provides legal assistance to asylum seekers of all nationalities in arranging documentation required to obtain a refugee card as well as counselling during the interview process with the UNHCR.
  • Sarhad: Has set up a helpline for Afghan students and nationals in Maharashtra to provide them counselling support, as well as help make arrangements to continue their education here or contact their relatives in Afghanistan with the help of the central government.
  • Hemkunt Foundation: Is providing free accommodation to people coming from Afghanistan to Delhi legally. The nonprofit has set up a 24/7 helpline where they can be contacted.

Elisha Vermani contributed to this piece.

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India Development Review (IDR) is India’s first independent online media platform for leaders in the development community. Our mission is to advance knowledge on social impact in India. We publish ideas, opinion, analysis, and lessons from real-world practice.