Even after the drawdown of the American troops from Afghanistan, the region’s stability will remain an important part of the U.S. foreign policy. And two neighboring countries, India and Pakistan, are hoping to play a role.
In his recent visit to New Delhi, Secretary of State John Kerry said India could play a key role in Afghanistan’s future. India has already provided more than $2 billion for Afghanistan’s development. This sounds positive from Afghanistan’s perspective but India’s involvement in Afghanistan makes its next-door neighbor Pakistan somewhat uncomfortable.
"If you are Pakistan and you see a state that you have been at war with for the last 65 years, although a limited war at times and cold war at other times, actual hot wars, coming to the country next door to you, you are going to see that as a threat," said Aqab Malik, Johns Hopkins Advanced School of International Studies.
Instability in Afghanistan can be a threat to security in neighboring Pakistan. But in recent years, Indian interests in Afghanistan have been targets of terror attacks. Therefore, analysts like Venda Felbaba-Brown think India may be interested in the broader security of Afghanistan.
"The Indian Embassy was the target of attacks. Many Indian diplomats died. It’s only appropriate that India is interested in its broader security environment in a place that has been a source of threat," she staed.
There’s little disagreement in Washington that Afghanistan needs support from both India and Pakistan for its stability. Cooperation between the two countries on Afghanistan would be even better.
"Mutual economic projects would be good," said Malik. "I think it would be a workable solution."
Analysts stress that another major step toward achieving peace in the region is ensuring that India and Pakistan do not to support any groups inside Afghanistan.
"At the end of the day, both countries have an interest in a stable Afghanistan that is not a platform for the terrorist attacks," said Felbab-Brown.
Regional experts agree that neighboring countries will play an important role in the Afghanistan's future but they say in the long term it is the Afghans themselves who are responsible for their own country.