Pentagon in its semi-annual Afghan report, covering the period of June-Nov 2018, to the US Congress said that India is Afghanistan’s most reliable regional partner. “India is Afghanistan’s most reliable regional partner and the largest contributor of development assistance in the region,” said the Pentagon. “India provides significant training opportunities for Afghan officers and enlisted personnel and has frequently offered to increase its burden-sharing for Afghanistan. Approximately 130 Afghans travel to India each year to attend various military academy and commissioning programs,” the Pentagon added.
The report said that Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from an externally supported insurgency and the highest regional concentration of terrorist groups in the world while revealing that the Taliban and the Haqqani Network retain freedom of movement in Pakistan.
In the South Asia Strategy announced in August 2017, US President Donald Trump had focused on pressurising Pakistan to limit support and safe-haven for proxy terrorist and militant groups and to play a constructive role in facilitating Afghan reconciliation.
Pentagon report also stated, “In this reporting period, the US continued to call on regional partners to reinforce our messages that state support for terrorist proxies will not be tolerated, that cross-border cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan is essential, and that the Taliban cannot achieve its objectives through continued military conflict.”
“Although Pakistani military operations have disrupted some militant sanctuaries, certain groups such as the Taliban and the Haqqani Network retain freedom of movement in Pakistan. The United States continues to convey to all levels of Pakistani leadership the importance of taking action against all terrorist and militant groups,” the report said.
India and Afghanistan share a strong relationship. India is making huge investments in Afghanistan under various projects and schemes as per the document shared by the Ministry of External Affairs [pdf]. Under the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the two countries, India is providing assistance to rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure and institutions and helping in rebuilding the indigenous capacity of Afghanistan. In the second meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council held on September 11, 2017, Afghanistan launched a New Development Partnership with India making use of the $ 1 billion announced by PM Modi. India has also agreed to implement some important projects to help Kabul such as the Shahtoot Dam and the drinking water project for Kabul which would facilitate irrigation, water supply for Charikar City.