World

PM Modi visits Afghanistan

25 Dec 2015 | By Gaurav

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Afghanistan after completing his visit to Russia, for the 16th Indo-Russia Summit.

He held discussions with President Ashraf Ghani, CEO A Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai.

Modi inaugurated the Afghanistan Parliament building, which India began constructing in 2007 as a 'gift', for Afghanistan's path to democracy.

He also announced scholarships for 500 children of Afghanistan's martyrs.

In context: India's history with Afghanistan

Early HistoryEarly history: The Maurya empire, the Mughals

Relations between India and Afghanistan trace back to trade relations during the Indus valley civilization.

After Alexander the Great, the Maurya empire occupied what is now called Afghanistan in 305 BC, and introduced Buddhism to the region.

The Mughals who ruled India from 1526-1858 were originally from what is now Afghanistan.

India and Afghanistan have shared historical trade linkages through the Silk Route.

Modern HistoryThe USSR, the Taliban and 9/11

India was among the first countries to officially recognize the Afghanistan government set up by the USSR after its 1979 invasion.

India supported successive governments in Kabul, after the fall of the USSR in 1989 until the rise of the Taliban in 1996.

Post 9/11, India restored diplomatic ties with Afghanistan and has since provided millions of dollars in aid, security and development assistance.

Taliban government in Afghanistan

When the Taliban assumed power in Afghanistan in 1996, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates were the only countries in the world to officially recognize and acknowledge the Taliban government.

Investments India's depth of engagement in Afghanistan

India is Afghanistan's fifth largest bilateral donor, and the largest among the non-OECD countries with over $2 billion in development aid as of 2015.

India also has provided approximately $180 million in economic and food aid to Afghanistan.

India's support and collaboration extends to rebuilding air links, power plants, investing in health, education and helping to train Afghan civil servants, diplomats, military and police.

Sep 2014A new President makes new friends

In September 2014, Ashraf Ghani came to power, succeeding Hamid Karzai who shared close political and personal relations with New Delhi.

Ghani acknowledged Pakistan's influence over the Taliban, and began working closely with Pakistan's ISI, in an effort to rein in the Taliban, distancing Afghanistan from India.

Since assuming office Ghani visited China in October, Pakistan in November and India only in April.

Apr 2015Ghani's naive tryst with the ISI

In April 2015, Ashraf Ghani visited India, after his overtures to the ISI failed to improve the situation with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Evidently overwhelmed by the increasing instance of Taliban violence in Afghanistan, in August 2015, he lambasted Pakistani government, blaming the ISI for the wave of attacks in Kabul.

Security and counter-terrorism co-operation with India was resumed shortly after.

Arms to Afghanistan

Following President Ghani's criticism of Pakistan's support to extremists in Afghanistan, India announced the transfer of four Russian made Mi-25 attack helicopters to Afghanistan, to assist in their fight against the Taliban.

25 Dec 2015PM Modi visits Afghanistan

1 Feb 2016Modi meets Afghani CEO; reiterates need for peaceful Afghanistan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan's Chief Executive Officer and Head of the Council of Ministers while the latter is on a 5-day visit to India.

Modi emphasised upon "India's commitment to building a peaceful Afghanistan".

After the meeting, India and Afghanistan also inked an agreement for visa-free travel by their diplomats (one that had been discussed during Modi's Afghanistan visit).

4 Jun 2016Modi and Ghani inaugurate the India-Afghanistan Friendship Dam

Charting a new course of cooperation and prosperity between India and Afghanistan, PM Modi and President Ghani together inaugurated the Salma Dam (also known as Friendship Dam) in Herat.

Modi is on the first leg of his five-nation tour that includes Afghanistan, Switzerland, Mexico, Qatar and the US.

Modi was also honoured with the Ghazi Amanullah Khan medal in Herat.