The report by the US Congressional Research Service says that India’s goals in Afghanistan are to deny Pakistan strategic depth and the ability to block India from trade and other connections to Central Asia and beyond.
The US congressional report also notes that US-Pakistan relations, had “improved somewhat” since it deteriorated after the 2011 Abbottabad raid.
The report prepared on Afghanistan as research and reference material for US lawmakers also includes a brief description of India’s Afghan policies.
“India also wants to prevent militants in Afghanistan from attacking Indian targets in Afghanistan.” says the report.
“While India wants to prevent Pakistan from regaining preponderant influence in present day Afghanistan, it does not want to be saddled with the burden of helping secure Afghanistan after the US departure,” the report adds.
It notes that Afghanistan also seeks close ties with India because it wants access to India’s large and rapidly growing economy – but without alarming Pakistan.
According to the report for India, the Afghan Taliban’s hosting of Al Qaeda during 1996-2001 is a major threat because of Al Qaeda’s association with Pakistani groups fighting in Kashmir.
“Some of these groups had committed major acts of terrorism in India, including the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 and in July 2011.” claims the report.
Shared interests of US and India in Afghanistan have also been highlighted in the report.
“In May 2011, India and Afghanistan announced a Strategic Partnership agreement that demonstrated India’s support for US efforts to better integrate Afghanistan into regional political, economic, and security structures,” says the report.
But the report also points out that when on Oct 5, 2011, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed the pact in New Delhi, “it affirmed Pakistani fears by giving India, for the first time, a formal role in Afghan security.” Under this agreement, India will train 600 Afghan military personnel every year.
After the May 2013 border clashes with Pakistan, President Karzai visited India twice to buy Indian artillery, aircraft, and other systems to better defend its border with Pakistan.
India reportedly “resisted the request in order not to become ever more directly involved in the conflict in Afghanistan or alarm Pakistan,” the report adds.
President Ashraf Ghani, however, has cancelled that request, “apparently to avoid complicating his outreach to Pakistan.”
In April 2015, President Ghani visited India to engage directly with the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.