This report argues that the Taliban victory in Afghanistan will impact the regional geopolitical dynamics and the interests of major regional powers. During the insurgency phase, most regional powers had maintained differential support to the Taliban to facilitate a common objective of the US withdrawal. However, the factional rivalries in a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan make it likely that the interests of regional powers would start diverging significantly. This report also examines India’s interests in the region – the impact of Taliban victory on the Islamist insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and New Delhi’s access and influence in Central Asia – which are likely to face challenges in a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
Keeping this in mind, this paper argues the following:
- India should cultivate a working relationship with the nationalist sections of the Taliban to take advantage of Islamabad’s growing inability to dominate Afghanistan.
- India must continue to invest in counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation capabilities to offset the Jihadi threat to Jammu and Kashmir.
- A close partnership with Tehran would allow New Delhi to utilise the Iranian influence in the Taliban to contain the influence of pro-ISI Taliban groups and regain its trade access to Afghanistan.
- New Delhi must use all the tools available to encourage China to ensure political stability in Afghanistan.
- India must act to strengthen and expand its role of being a maritime security provider in the northern Indo-Pacific.