India’s and Pakistan’s Strategies in Afghanistan

India’s and Pakistan’s Strategies in Afghanistan: Implications for the United States and the Region

Larry Hanauer
Peter Chalk
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 88
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  • Book Info
    India’s and Pakistan’s Strategies in Afghanistan
    Book Description:

    India and Pakistan have very different visions for Afghanistan, and they seek to advance highly disparate interests through their respective engagements in the country. This paper reviews the countries’ interests in Afghanistan, how they have tried to further their interests, how Afghanistan navigates their rivalry, and the rivalry’s implications for U.S. and Indian policy.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7665-6
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    The tensions between India and Pakistan have significantly shaped events in South Asia since the two countries became independent from Britain in 1947. The countries have fought three wars since then, and the prospect of future conflict drove each of the two nations to develop nuclear weapons to deter the other from contemplating acts of aggression. Pakistan sees India as its primary national security threat even as internal instability appears increasingly likely to lead to the state’s collapse. The Indian security apparatus is on constant alert for attacks on its territory by Pakistani-backed extremists, even though the Indian government—whose...

  9. CHAPTER TWO India
    (pp. 11-24)

    India’s objectives in Afghanistan stem from a carefully calculated assessment of its domestic, regional, and global interests. Countering Pakistan’s influence is certainly one of India’s goals, but Delhi pursues a broad range of interests in Afghanistan that go beyond simply obstructing its principal adversary.

    Delhi’s most fundamental goal for Afghanistan is to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base for Pakistani-supported extremists to launch terrorist attacks in India or against Indian interests (for example, against its diplomatic missions in Afghanistan). India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) stated in July 2008 that “security within Afghanistan, and coordinated efforts...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Pakistan
    (pp. 25-36)

    Pakistan’s goals in Afghanistan are mainly India-centric and focus primarily on undermining Delhi’s influence in Afghanistan while promoting its own. Islamabad thus seeks to maximize Taliban influence in a weak Kabul government, maintain “strategic depth” against an Indian invasion, and facilitate training and operations by Pakistani-backed extremist groups. However, these are not Pakistan’s only concerns. Other important priorities include marginalizing historical Afghan claims on Pakistani territory and (just as India desires) developing trade with the CARs.

    Pakistan has long considered India to be an aggressive state that poses a fundamental threat to its territorial integrity. Not only does Islamabad blame...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Afghanistan
    (pp. 37-42)

    In considering how India and Pakistan will pursue their interests in Afghanistan, it is necessary to consider how Afghanistan defines and pursues its own interests and how it will react to steps taken by its neighbors. Afghanistan may be the least powerful of the three countries, even regarding its own fate, but it is not a passive actor. In fact, President Hamid Karzai has been remarkably successful in balancing his outreach to, and pressure from, his country’s two more powerful partners.

    The Karzai administration’s core objective, above all else, is to maintain its power and influence. After years in exile...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Implications for the United States
    (pp. 43-50)

    Try as it might, the United States will never be able to “balance” its relations with India and Pakistan because both sides are annoyed by U.S. ties with the other. Islamabad chafes at Washington’s trade and military links, civilian nuclear cooperation, and recently signed “strategic partnership” with Delhi. For its part, India views U.S. counterterrorism collaboration with Pakistan as an augmentation of Pakistan’s military capabilities and thus a potential threat to India’s security. Although senior U.S. officials have denied that interaction with either of the two countries is a “zero-sum” game, the perception that this is the case persists nevertheless....

  13. CHAPTER SIX Implications for India
    (pp. 51-56)

    Indians increasingly believe that Delhi’s current approach to Afghanistan has yielded few, if any, strategic benefits¹ and that India has much to gain by increasing its involvement in Afghanistan. However, although Indian national security strategy calls for greater use of the military for power projection in the region, it is not at all clear whether Delhi would want to become more engaged in Afghanistan or assume the roles that the United States will relinquish. Such an effort would require large amounts of money and manpower, and it may inspire Islamabad—which would almost certainly view increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusion
    (pp. 57-58)

    Currently, India and Pakistan have very different visions of what Afghanistan should look like, and they seek to advance highly disparate interests through their respective strategies for engaging the country. Islamabad views Afghanistan primarily as an environment in which to pursue its rivalry with India. To this end, Pakistan seeks a significant role for the Taliban in a generally weak Kabul government so as to extend its own influence in the country, minimize that of Delhi, and preserve its use of Afghan territory as a training ground for militant proxy groups that Islamabad sees as strategic assets in its ongoing...

  15. References
    (pp. 59-72)