India – Afghanistan: Strategic Partnership Agreement Signed

India and Afghanistan have signed the following agreements recently:

  • Agreement on Strategic Partnership between India and Afghanistan
  • MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Development of Hydrocarbons
  • MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Mineral Resources Development

Objective of the SPA (Strategic Partnership Agreement) signed at Hyderabad House in New Delhi is to reinforce security cooperation b/w the two countries. India is to mentor the security forces as they gear up to deal with the drawdown of Foreign Forces in 2014. It also provides for cooperation in the areas of trade, culture, health, education, people-to-people contact and several other fields. SPA specifies trade and economic cooperation in a lot larger detail, addressing aspects ranging from supporting Afghanistan in developing trading routes to exploring for hydrocarbons and mineral ores the country is plentifully gifted with.

Key Points:

  • The proposal has been on the drawing board for six years since Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai first recommended it, but was not implemented as Pakistan was uncomfortable with the idea of India-trained forces on both its flanks.
  • India has started escalating its coverage to the security situation in Afghanistan by making operational an airbase in Tajikistan, which has since been used to strike at the top leadership of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. It has also sought after consent to reopen a hospital at Farkhor on the Afghan border
  • India and Afghanistan to also co-operate at the UN, with the objective being to assist India achieve a permanent seat in UNSC
  • SPA specifies trade and economic cooperation. Thus both countries will try to operationalise their trilateral MoU signed with Iran to end Afghanistan’s landlocked isolation and dependence on Pakistan to reach the sea. It lighten up India’s likelihood of pocketing a profitable mining contract for Hajigak, considered to be the region’s largest untapped reserve of iron ore, and offers a chance to trace for oil in northern Afghanistan. Two MoUs — one in the field of mineral exploration and the other for the development of hydrocarbons — reflected the concern of both sides in these areas.
  • India and Afghanistan also determined to build a positive trading and investment environment by simplifying customs and other procedures, starting air cargo operations and ameliorating credit and insurance facilities

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