• As the Taliban push ahead with military offensives across Afghanistan, preparing to take over after the exit of US and NATO forces, India faces a situation in which it may have no role to play in that country, and in the worst case scenario, not even a diplomatic presence.
• The 42MW Salma Dam in Herat province was inaugurated in 2016 and is known as the Afghan-India Friendship Dam.
• The other high-profile project was the 218-km Zaranj-Delaram highway built by the Border Roads Organisation. Zaranj is located close to Afghanistan’s border with Iran.
• The Afghan Parliament in Kabul was built by India at $90 million. It was opened in 2015. A block in the building is named after former PM AB Vajpayee.
• In 2016, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the restored Stor Palace in Kabul, originally built in the late 19th century, and which was the setting for the 1919 Rawalpindi Agreement by which Afghanistan became an independent country.
• At the Geneva Conference in November, India announced that it had concluded with Afghanistan an agreement for the construction of the Shatoot Dam in Kabul district, which would provide safe drinking water to 2 million residents.
• Last year, India pledged $1 million for another Aga Khan heritage project, the restoration of the Bala Hissar Fort south of Kabul, whose origins go back to the 6th century. Bala Hissar went on to become a significant Mughal fort, parts of it were rebuilt by Jahangir, and it was used as a residence by Shah Jahan.
Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: Shatoot Dam
Mains level: Highlights of the India’s investment in Afghanistan