Author : Avinash Paliwal

Occasional PapersPublished on Aug 11, 2023 PDF Download
ballistic missiles,Defense,Doctrine,North Korea,Nuclear,PLA,SLBM,Submarines

Securing Afghanistan: Historic Sources of India’s Contemporary Challenge

  • Avinash Paliwal

    This paper looks at debates from the days of the British Raj until now that have shaped India's strategic thought on Afghanistan. It highlights the impact of India's territorial construct on its strategic imagination and argues that India's Afghan policy is determined by its political geography.

    Afghanistan has proved to be a security lynchpin in South and A Central Asia over the last two decades. Home to a variety of militant networks with regional and global links, Afghanistan’s stability is crucial for the peaceful development of the region. With the withdrawal of US forces scheduled for 2014, there is tremendous anxiety among the neighbouring countries. Concerned about a spillover of violence and instability throughout the region, Afghanistan’s neighbours are working hard to develop a regional mechanism to cope with the challenge. According to Washington, regional powers, particularly India and China, should play a proactive role in stabilising Afghanistan. Also of much consequence will be the role of Pakistan and Iran, both of whom stand at various odds with Kabul. Interestingly, both India and China, despite having supported the idea of a regional solution, have been hedging their bets in Afghanistan. Both have refused to fill the security vacuum, and neither is increasing its aid and investment further than what has already been committed. For India, security concerns emanating from Afghanistan are even more immediate and large scale than those for China. Facing serious security challenges in Kashmir and having witnessed attacks on its soil by groups trained in the Afghan hinterlands, New Delhi is particularly concerned about the stability of Afghanistan. India’s strategic-security community finds itself at a policy crossroads as the salience of these security issues increases. With the central theme being India’s defence, the dilemma is rooted in developing mechanisms to achieve security within a certain structural and normative context.

    What policy choices does India have in Afghanistan post 2014? Buttressing its soft power approach with hard power will strain relations with Pakistan. Limited Indian engagement with Kabul, however, might increase Pakistan’s political influence in Afghanistan.

    This paper will look at debates from the days of the British Raj until now that have shaped India’s strategic thought on Afghanistan. It will highlight the impact of India’s territorial construct on its strategic imagination and will argue that India’s Afghan policy is determined by its political geography.

    An important theatre for India’s security, the northwest frontier has traditionally defined India’s territorial defence. Indeed, India’s threat perception from China and strategic worth of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) rose in significance primarily in late twentieth and twenty-first centuries; importance of the northwestern frontier, however, has endured over centuries. With 1947 a watershed year, studies on South Asian geopolitics often focus more on the post-Independence era. The debate on India’s frontier and defence policies, however, date back to the early nineteenth century.

    Steered by the Napoleonic Wars, the Bombay and Ludhiana Schools of Indian Defence emerged as the two competing lines of thought regarding India’s defence. The Bombay School advocated a forward military policy for defending India with River Oxus being the primary line of defence. The Ludhiana School, on the other hand, advocated an economy-and diplomacy-driven policy with the River Indus being the outer bulwark. These schools transformed into the classic clash between the Forward School and the Closed Border School following the Indian revolt of 1857 and the Russian advance to Central Asia from 1860s onwards.

    These schools reflected opposition between ideas regarding the defence of India. Debates over security and administrative arrangements were predominant during the British Raj. While Britain feared invasion or coalition against itself while it was only one state among many in Europe, the fulcrum of the debates shifted towards its colonial enterprises when it became a paramount power in Asia with the defeat of France. The Raj envisioned a dual-layered ‘ring fence’ defence system for India. Consisting of an Inner Ring and an Outer Ring, this system of defence sought to develop a ‘series of buffer zones along the landward periphery of the subcontinent’. While the Inner Ring was made of areas like Baluchistan, Northwest tribal areas and the Naga Hills, the Outer Ring consisted of Persia, Afghanistan, Tibet and Burma.

    Stability in the region between the River Indus and the Hindu Kush, geographically divided between Afghanistan and Pakistan, is crucial for India’s security and development. The Partition of 1947, though complicated, did not reduce the geopolitical imprint on India’s strategic choices. There is a striking similarity between modern India’s discourse on strategy and the earlier debates. These similarities reflect the tension over balancing relations between Islamabad and Kabul as well as opting between hard and soft approaches.

    The following sections will provide an overview of the historical debates and their legacy in contemporary India. The first section will delve into the debate between the Bombay and the Ludhiana Schools. Though both schools had strong policy appeal, the Ludhiana School remained successful for most of the first half of the nineteenth century. The second section of this paper will discuss the debate over Nehru’s visit to the Northwest Frontier Provinces (NWFP) in 1946 and its fallout. Discussion surrounding Nehru’s NWFP visit reflects the strategic relevance of this region and the impact of political geography on strategy. The third section will focus on key dilemmas facing India during the Cold War period and afterwards. The last section provides the contours of current policy challenges New Delhi faces with the withdrawal of US combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014. With swords crossed between passive and active policy proponents, the legacy of nineteenth century debates continues.

Introduction

Afghanistan has proved to be a security lynchpin in South and Central Asia over the last two decades. Home to a variety of militant networks with regional and global links, Afghanistan's stability is crucial for the peaceful development of the region. With the withdrawal of US forces scheduled for 2014, there is tremendous anxiety among the neighbouring countries. Concerned about a spillover of violence and instability throughout the region, Afghanistan's neighbours are working hard to develop a regional mechanism to cope with the challenge. According to Washington, regional powers, particularly India and China, should play a proactive role in stabilising Afghanistan. Also of much consequence will be the role of Pakistan and Iran, both of whom stand at various odds with Kabul. Interestingly, both India and China, despite having supported the idea of a regional solution, have been hedging their bets in Afghanistan. Both have refused to fill the security vacuum, and neither is increasing its aid and investment further than what has already been committed. For India, security concerns emanating from Afghanistan are even more immediate and large scale than those for China. Facing serious security challenges in Kashmir and having witnessed attacks on its soil by groups trained in the Afghan hinterlands, New Delhi is particularly concerned about the stability of Afghanistan. India's strategic-security community finds itself at a policy crossroads as the salience of these security issues increases. With the central theme being India's defence, the dilemma is rooted in developing mechanisms to achieve security within a certain structural and normative context.

What policy choices does India have in Afghanistan post 2014? Buttressing its soft power approach with hard power will strain relations with Pakistan. Limited Indian engagement with Kabul, however, might increase Pakistan's political influence in Afghanista

This paper will look at debates from the days of the British Raj until now that have shaped India's strategic thought on Afghanistan. It will highlight the impact of India's territorial construct on its strategic imagination and will argue that India's Afghan policy is determined by its political geography.

An important theatre for India's security, the northwest frontier has traditionally defined India's territorial defence. Indeed, India's threat perception from China and strategic worth of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) rose in significance primarily in late twentieth and twenty-first centuries; importance of the northwestern frontier, however, has endured over centuries. With 1947 a watershed year, studies on South Asian geopolitics often focus more on the post-Independence era. The debate on India's frontier and defence policies, however, date back to the early nineteenth century.

Steered by the Napoleonic Wars, the Bombay and Ludhiana Schools of Indian Defence emerged as the two competing lines of thought regarding India's defence.1 The Bombay School advocated a forward military policy for defending India with River Oxus being the primary line of defence. The Ludhiana School, on the other hand, advocated an economy-and diplomacy-driven policy with the River Indus being the outer bulwark. These schools transformed into the classic clash between the Forward School and the Closed Border School following the Indian revolt of 1857 and the Russian advance to Central Asia from 1860s onwards. These schools reflected opposition between ideas regarding the defence of India. Debates over security and administrative arrangements were predominant during the British Raj. While Britain feared invasion or coalition against itself while it was only one state among many in Europe, the fulcrum of the debates shifted towards its colonial enterprises when it became a paramount power in Asia with the defeat of France. The Raj envisioned a dual-layered 'ring fence' defence system for India.2 Consisting of an Inner Ring and an Outer Ring, this system of defence sought to develop a 'series of buffer zones along the landward periphery of the subcontinent'.3 While the Inner Ring was made of areas like Baluchistan, Northwest tribal areas and the Naga Hills, the Outer Ring consisted of Persia, Afghanistan, Tibet and Burma.

Stability in the region between the River Indus and the Hindu Kush, geographically divided between Afghanistan and Pakistan, is crucial for India's security and development. The Partition of 1947, though complicated, did not reduce the geopolitical imprint on India's strategic choices.4 There is a striking similarity between modern India's discourse on strategy and the earlier debates. These similarities reflect the tension over balancing relations between Islamabad and Kabul as well as opting between hard and soft approaches. The following sections will provide an overview of the historical debates and their legacy in contemporary India. The first section will delve into the debate between the Bombay and the Ludhiana Schools. Though both schools had strong policy appeal, the Ludhiana School remained successful for most of the first half of the nineteenth century. The second section of this paper will discuss the debate over Nehru's visit to the Northwest Frontier Provinces (NWFP) in 1946 and its fallout. Discussion surrounding Nehru's NWFP visit reflects the strategic relevance of this region and the impact of political geography on strategy. The third section will focus on key dilemmas facing India during the Cold War period and afterwards. The last section provides the contours of current policy challenges New Delhi faces with the withdrawal of US combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014. With swords crossed between passive and active policy proponents, the legacy of nineteenth century debates continues.

Expanding the Raj

The quest for logical territorial limits of the Indian Empire steered diplomatic, political and military activity of the Raj in the nineteenth century.5 Reasons for this were as much related to defence from external threats as much as they were to exercising sovereign authority over a defined territory and people. The Durand Line Agreement of 1893 was a step aimed at defining these territorial limits in the northwest regions.6 Where to draw the line and the nature of Raj's relationship with Afghanistan and Persia were hotly debated subjects.7 From the time of the emergence of Britain as a great power by 1818, these debates became increasingly intense over the years. With the defeat of France following the Napoleonic Wars the fulcrum of threat shifted from Europe to Asia. Concerns were that Russia would attempt to attack India rather than challenge British authority in Europe. Though the British navy provided ample protection to the British Isles, it could not afford to protect Asia. The defence of India therefore required a substitute. Beginning in December 1829, the Great Game was played for the rest of the century precisely to develop this substitute.8 There were two main questions facing Britain. Firstly, who poses the threat and of what nature, and secondly, on what lines should the defence be structured? As the answer to the first question became relatively clear, seeking a definite answer to the second became increasingly complicated and formed the basis of debate. Not only was there a collision of opposing philosophies, there was also a deep conflict of interest within the British bureaucracy regarding the defence of India.

Emerging from the difference of opinion between the Bombay and Ludhiana administrations, the two schools of Indian defence debated throughout the 1820s and 1830s. The Bombay School stated that India could be best secured from a Russian advance with River Oxus being the primary line of defence, and Afghanistan and Persia being British protectorates. The Ludhiana, and later Punjab, School(s), on the other hand, viewed the River Indus as the outer rampart for India's defence and relied more on diplomacy with the tsar to contain the Russian advance (See Map 1).9 Providing a blueprint for the debate between the Forward School (drawing from the Bombay School) and the Closed Border School (drawing from the Ludhiana School) that gained salience later in the nineteenth century, these advocacies played a critical role in shaping the Raj's frontier policies and evolving contemporary India's strategic framework. Moreover, adherence to these advocacy groups played a critical role in the making and breaking of careers. With most of its impetus coming from a strong bureaucratic logic, the dynamism of these debates and the legacies they left withstood major structural overhauls. The following paragraphs will outline key features of these debates.

Map 1: British India and Persia in nineteenth century10

The first round of these debates started between the first Governor- General of India, Richard Wellesley, and the Secretary of State for War, Henry Dundas, after the 1798 invasion of Egypt by Napoleon Bonaparte.11 While the former wanted to ally with Persia against France, the latter advocated alliance with Afghanistan. Fear of invasion of British India rose particularly after the Franco-Persian alliance following the treaty of Finkenstein (1807). George Canning, the then Foreign Secretary, sided with Wellesley to challenge the threat from this Franco- Persian alliance. The idea was to attract Persia towards Britain rather than to let it drift towards France. Dundas, however, bitterly contested an alliance with Persia. The result of this clash was a unique British initiative, taken by Lord Minto, to send simultaneous missions to Persia, Afghanistan, Punjab and Sind in 1808.12 The idea was to cultivate the goodwill 'of all states and countries to the east of Indus, but also the Afghan government, and even the Tartar territories east of the Caspian.'13 Further complicating the debate, however, was the issue of sending Christian missionaries to India, which involved a strong security angle. Most of the actors who feared a French, or later Russian, invasion were equally concerned about a rebellion by Indians.14 Conversion to Christianity, it was argued, would reduce such a threat.15

Persia's decision to let Napoleon access the port of Bandar Abbas further heightened the threat of invasion in 1808.16 Of the four missions mentioned above, John Malcolm headed the one to Persia. Malcolm, who would later become the Governor of Bombay and the torchbearer of the Bombay School, was given the job of undercutting French influence in Persia. In case this Persian initiative failed, the British would try to develop an alliance with Afghanistan. Mountstuart Elphinstone would cultivate a relationship with the Afghan leadership, Shah Shuja at that time. An archrival of Malcolm, Elphinstone became one of the leading advocates of the Ludhiana School. Supporting Elphinstone in his advocacy was Charles Metcalfe, who led the mission to Lahore and later became the acting Governor-General of India from 1835-1836. While Malcolm wanted an active economic and defence policy with Persia and expansion of the British mission in Tehran, Elphinstone and Metcalfe advocated the same with Kabul and Lahore.17

All four missions, however, ran into difficulties from the very beginning because of rivalries between Punjab and Afghanistan. For instance, Elphinstone realised that a defensive or an offensive alliance with Kabul –against France and later Russia–meant antagonising Ranjit Singh, the strong ruler of Punjab. An unfriendly Ranjit Singh could make any plans of linking Persia with India impossible.

Moreover, with the French influence in Persia still strong, Malcolm's efforts did not yield much fruit either. Finally, the missions to Persia and Lahore were deemed failures and Afghanistan was the only bulwark in the region that agreed to ally in the defence of India.18 Unfortunately for the British, of all the four states beyond the northwest frontier, Kabul was the weakest and the most difficult to handle politically. The four missions thus increased the risk of a frontier war instead of uniting the frontier states into a defensive coalition. Though the frontier war was still far away, the missions had already sparked a war within the British bureaucracy. Elphinstone and Metcalfe's leanings were towards the Ludhiana School; Lord Minto and Wellesley were to be the forerunners of the Bombay School, and Malcolm its epitome. With one focusing on Persia and the other on Punjab, interestingly, both wanted to avoid fighting in Afghanistan. Apart from the geographical and climatic difficulties, relations with Kabul had jeopardised ties not only with Punjab, but with Persia too.

As the first round of the debate came to an end with the defeat of France, the second round began in 1829, this time with the Russians as potential aggressors. Arthur Wellesley, then Prime Minister of Britain and the younger brother of Richard Wellesley, and Lord Ellenborough, President of the Board of Control, reinvigorated the debate.19 It was to become the famous Great Game in Asia. Sharing the common concern of a Russian invasion of India in response to a British provocation in Europe, the question became one of travel routes. Would the Russian advance come from the Caspian through Khiva and up the River Oxus, or from Georgia through Tehran and Herat? This issue had a strong political element to it as well as a military angle. Though the British were confident of defeating a Russian army marching into India, they were not sure whether this could be done quickly.20 While a setback at the frontier would guarantee rebellion, the prospect of invasion would threaten one.21 Correct assessment of the route, thus, was very crucial.

Claude Wade, the Resident in Ludhiana in the 1820s and 1830s, and John Malcolm, now the Governor of Bombay, spearheaded the debate in the 1830s. Wade and his associates in the Ludhiana School expected a Russian advance from the Caspian through Khiva. Malcolm and his associates in the Bombay School expected Russia to take the route through Persia and Herat. The solutions offered by both these schools were based on their premises about the routes. The Ludhiana School proposed the stabilisation of the northwest frontier. This could be done either by using armed intervention in Afghanistan or by preparing a strong defence at the Indus in alliance with the Sikhs. The Bombay School, on the other hand, sought deepening of the Persian connection. A common point between the two schools was the acceptance of keeping the defence of India separate from the balance of power in Europe.22 It was clear that India's defence should not be tied to British power in Europe as this would reduce maneuvering space for London within the European continent. Under no circumstance was Britain's insular position as a group of isles protected by a powerful navy to be given up for the defence of India. Even though the British navy provided security for India's sea lanes of trade and communication, the threat of invasion remained serious mostly through land. As a result, the point of contention boiled down to the choice of allies.

Though the proponents of these schools took turns in power and popularity, the Ludhiana School remained victorious for most of the early nineteenth century. This was mostly because of the turf battle between John Malcolm and Harford Jones Brydges, the first Resident in Baghdad. Termed as 'Malcolmites' and 'Harfordians', the admirers of both these men fought tough battles to gain control of the Persian mission. Despite being at their zenith between 1828 and 1830 and having run the Persian mission successfully for more than twenty-five years since its inception, the Malcolmites hit a dead end when a new government was elected in 1830.23 The departure of Malcolm, Wellesley and Ellenborough was followed by the arrival of hardcore adherents of the Ludhiana School–William Bentinck, the Governor-General of Fort William, Charles Metcalfe, Bentinck's close associate and head of the Lahore mission, and Henry Willock, former envoy to Persia who later became the chairman of the East India Company. Almost immediately a policy of restraint was adopted and the importance of the Persian mission declined. Expecting an advance through Khiva, the Ludhiana School suggested developing Afghanistan as a buffer and forestalling any quarrels with Persia and Russia using tools of diplomacy. This was also the phase when the debate over the tools of diplomacy–economic or military–became more animated. Debate between the Ludhiana and Bombay Schools eventually shifted into a standoff between the Punjab and Bombay Schools of Indian defence in mid-and late-nineteenth century.24 Often termed as the Forward School and the Closed Border School, these doctrines emerged after the 1860s.25

This time it was the Indian Revolt of 1857 and a renewed Russian advance in Central Asia that intensified the debate. Spearheading this phase of the debate were John Lawrence, Viceroy and Governor- General of India from 1864-1869, and Henry C. Rawlinson, a senior British Indian army officer.26 While the former was a proponent of the Closed Border School, the latter championed the Forward Policy. The Closed Border School advocated non-interference in the domestic Afghan affairs. The precondition was that Russia too should keep its hands off Afghanistan. According to this school, only direct diplomacy between St. Petersburg and London could solve the problem. Moreover, in case of war, Britain should fight Russia all over the world–particularly near the Mediterranean or the Black Sea–than restrict the war to the northwest frontier. Forward School opponents, however, derided this policy as 'masterly inactivity'.

According to Rawlinson and his Forward School associates, the Russian advance could only be stemmed by building military outworks in Kabul and Kandahar. This would require the government of India to get closely involved in domestic Afghan affairs. They also advocated signing of a defensive and offensive alliance with Kabul and station a British agent in Afghanistan. Forward School strongly believed that the Russian War Ministry and local commanders were fairly independent in determining the nature and extent of Russian influence in Central Asia.27 In order to buttress the defences in Kabul and Kandahar, suggested Rawlinson, London could also capitalise on its presence in Persia.

Creation of a military nucleus of 5,000-10,000 Persian soldiers trained and sustained by Britain was proposed. Though this policy was never implemented, there was a strong constituency in its favour. Moreover, unlike the Closed Border School, the Forward School believed that Britain did not have enough resources to fight Russia all over the world. A Forward Policy, however, was to be dismissed as 'mischievous activity' by its opponents.28

Ideological Impetus

The core philosophies guiding these debates were Evangelical Reformism and Utilitarianism on one hand, and Conservative imperialism on the other. The Ludhiana or the Closed Border Schools drew from the Utilitarian and Evangelical Reform traditions of British politics. The Bombay School or Forward Policy doctrine attracted its proponents from among the romantic, Conservative imperialists. While the Conservatives were votaries of civil liberties, the Evangelicals and Utilitarians vouched for 'equal opportunity of salvation' and self-help.29 The debate between Dundas and Wellesley after Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798 also had strong undertones of these guidelines. Although both schools ended up annexing just as much territory as the other, the Reformists abhorred use of force and believed in persuasion.30 Conversely, Conservatives advocated annexing territory and resorted to force without much ethical dilemma.31

In a bid to make the Indus the external frontier of India and keep the Russians at bay, a Conservative Ellenborough proposed trade with Central Asia through the Indus in 1830. It was to be supported by military means and carried out by steamers. Ellenborough's policy was clear that British goods were to be given diplomatic, and when needed, military protection in the frontier region. Countering this view with reformist and utilitarian ideals was Charles Grant, Ellenborough's successor at the Board of Control in 1831. According to Grant, shifting the frontiers to the Indus was not required, as the Sikh kingdom and amirs of Sind could be motivated to both defend India and provide a stable northwest frontier. Moreover, Grant was of the view that as soon as 'privilege and superstition were done away, the two most serious obstacles to the safety of British India i.e. rebellion and bankruptcy, would be overcome.'32 Utilitarians believed that there was no need of excessive political influence or the deployment of the army with the steamers on the Indus. Both schools banked upon trade and stable frontiers to win the Great Game, but in divergent ways. The Conservative vision was to turn Punjab and Sind into protectorates and have a chain of political buffer states separating the European and Indian political systems. The Evangelical Reformist vision supported by Utilitarianism expected trade to do the same.

The debates mentioned above were subject to external shocks throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These ranged from internal turbulence either in Afghanistan, Punjab and Sind, to the Russian advance across Central Asia after the Crimean War (1853- 1856).33 Russia annexed Tashkent and Bukhara in 1866, Khiva in 1873, and Merv in 1884, making its boundaries coterminous with Afghanistan.34 Even though British influence over Afghanistan was uncontested and the 1873 Anglo-Russian Agreement recognised it, the threat from Russia would haunt the British till the very end of the Raj. Adding to the insecurities was the Indian Revolt of 1857 that played an important role in providing space to the advocates of Forward Policy. Not surprisingly, Britain hammered out various treaties with different rulers of Afghanistan between 1855 and 1921 that included the crucial Durand Line Agreement of 1893. It also annexed chunks of Afghan territory including the Khyber Pass as well as rights to conduct the foreign affairs of Kabul.35 The Raj's Forward Policy was to be further reflected in its leasing of the Bolan Pass on a permanent basis in 1883 from the Khan of Kalat and declaration of some parts of Balochistan as British territory in 1887. These conquests unleashed dynamics that would define modern India's political geography.

Political Geography: 'Ring Fence' and the Frontiers

The above-mentioned conquests contributed towards evolution of frontiers into boundaries.36 The Durand Line Agreement made it clear

that with the advent of the Forward School, there was little scope for a politically neutral territory. This transformation led to the development of the 'ring fence' concept according to which India would have a dual- layered defence system i.e. the Inner Ring and the Outer Ring. The idea was to develop a series of buffer zones along the northwestern periphery of India. The territorial construct of India thus came to consist of three kinds of frontiers: the administered frontier, the non-administered frontier, and the external frontiers.37 Forming India's Centre was the administered frontier with defined bureaucratic mechanisms and linear boundaries. Beyond the frontiers of administration were internal non- administered frontiers–Inner Ring–that included the NWFP, Baluchistan, Kashmir, Nepal, and the Naga Hills. Though the writ of the state and its bureaucracy hardly ever ran in this area, claims of sovereignty were often made using military force. As an inheritor of these frontiers after 1947, the Government of independent India and Pakistan claimed sovereign rights over them. The third kind was the frontier of influence i.e. Outer Ring. Lacking in geographic definition but of high diplomatic concern and lying beyond the frontiers of administration and non-administered areas, these included places like Afghanistan, Persia, Tibet, Burma, Sinkiang, and Siam. The idea was to exert influence in these areas to keep other great powers at bay. The states in this outer circle, according to Brobst, were treated as protectorates.38

This dual-layered territorial defence system formed the backbone of both colonial and independent India's regional strategic outlook. For example, even though London asked Calcutta not to annex more territory, foreign policies of the Raj 'expressed needs and interests rooted in the subcontinent'.39 This was partly also because of the determination to keep the defence of India independent of the balance of power in Europe. Independent India inherited this territorial construct and the problems associated with the same. With the political geography established, future debates on India's defence would happen within this ambit. Though the impact of British bureaucratic and strategic culture on modern Indian thought is hotly debated, it has been difficult for most Indian planners to overlook the geographic realities of South Asia. The one time the foreign and security policies of the Raj were challenged was by Jawaharlal Nehru just before Independence, only to be reset by the new Pakistani political leadership.40 

Nehru and the Frontier

The Partition of 1947 challenged the dual-layered defence strategy. Cutting right through the middle of what is considered India's Centre, the Partition created a deep rupture in the innermost administrative frontier of the Raj. Not surprisingly, Pakistan, rather than Afghanistan, now dominated the minds of Indian strategists. However, if the British Raj played an important role in articulating a strategic vision for India, the debate on the NWFP right before Independence set the tone for India's vision of the region. Mostly about whether Nehru should visit the NWFP in October 1946 or not, the debate took place primarily between Nehru, Governor of the NWFP Olaf Caroe, and British Field Marshall Viscount Wavell. More than the details of the events that unfolded during and after the visit, of importance is the political structure within which the visit and the debate took place. Partition was still ten months away and Nehru had just been given the portfolio of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations, under the interim government, in September 1946. In essence, even though everything indicated a partition, this was a unique period in which an Indian nationalist governed a united India.

There are as many versions of Nehru's visit and its fallout as there were actors involved. Events unfolded somewhat like this–Abdul Ghaffar Khan invited Nehru to the NWFP in September 1946, after the election of the latter as the head of the interim government of India in the same month.41 The invitation came in the backdrop of increased communal violence across the subcontinent and victory of the Congress in the recently held provincial elections in the NWFP. Moreover, as relations between the All India Muslim League (AIML) and the Indian National Congress (INC) became increasingly tense, the visit had the potential to unleash serious political violence. Sensing trouble, Caroe and Wavell strongly advised Nehru to refrain from accepting the invitation. Senior Congress leaders including Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and Maulana Azad too discouraged Nehru from visiting the Frontier. This, however, was not to happen and Nehru landed in Peshawar on 16 October 1946. The following incidents would prove that the visit was indeed problematic. Apart from the warmth showered by Ghaffar Khan's Khudai Khidmatgars (KK), Nehru's presence solicited major protests. Along with public protests by AIML cadres, and an angry reception by the maliks of various tribal agencies including Waziristan and Malakand, Nehru had to face stone pelting and blockades. Losing his temper at one point and calling the maliks of Waziristan 'petty pensioners', Nehru's public posturing further worsened the situation.42 The end results were clear–Nehru apparently made up his mind that the NWFP was a lost cause.43

Of interest here are the tensions that marked the visit and the fallout of the same on policy perceptions. First was the clash between Indian nationalists' thought process with that of the Raj. Imagined as a frontier of the Raj, the tribal areas of the NWFP were to provide a protective buffer not only from Russians, French, Persians and Afghans, but also from internal insecurities.44 Caroe, the foremost proponent of Forward Policy, had never allowed any party politician to build a mass base in the frontier agencies. The British advocacy in the NWFP entailed a complete disconnect between the mountainous tribal belts of the NWFP and the settled areas.45 Therefore, even the KK movement was restricted to Peshawar and other districts in the settled areas. Governor Caroe, in typical divide-and-rule fashion, had barred even the newly elected Prime Minister of the NWFP, Khan Sahib, from entering Waziristan and Malakand. From his side, Caroe used Political Agents (PA, directly reporting to him) to maintain contact with the maliks and mullahs of the tribal areas. Even though there was discontent among some tribal elders over this British policy, dissent was kept under check using cash, weapons, internecine tribal rivalry, and the rhetoric of Islam. Party politics had the potential to undermine this setup by undercutting British influence over tribal leaders. Nehru's visit with Ghaffar Khan as his host was to challenge this basic tenet of British Frontier Policy. 

A classic exchange of letters between Caroe, Wavell and Nehru after the visit highlights the depth of the issue. In a letter to Wavell, Caroe made no bones that Nehru should not have visited on party lines, and more so, not with a Frontier leader by his side.46 He conceded that he had advised Nehru that "....a party approach to the tribal problem was bound to fail....if he had gone round by himself quietly and without losing his temper...he would have been politely received....it was fatal to take a party politician like Abdul Ghaffar Khan..."47

Practicing Forward Policy at its best, Caroe played an active role in influencing tribal leaders to reject Nehru's political overtures.48 Challenging this Frontier Policy was Nehru's take on the situation in the NWFP. In a letter to Caroe he made it clear that if it were to happen, the NWFP would be fully integrated into the Indian political and economic system. The policy of isolating the region was not acceptable. Emphasising on land routes between India and Afghanistan, and a brewing class conflict in the tribal agencies, Nehru expressed the need to reverse the Frontier Policy from 'controlled isolation' to 'complete reintegration'. Charging British authorities with exacerbating class conflict in the NWFP by issuing subsidies to the maliks and mullahs, Nehru sought a definite end to it. Though he appreciated the risks involved with such opening up after centuries of isolation, he stated categorically that "....It seems essential to me that the barriers which had been erected around the Tribal areas preventing free movements should be largely done away with. People from the Frontier Province should be allowed to go there and people from the Tribal Areas should be allowed to come to the Frontier Province."49

The second point of tension was between Pashtun nationalism and Islam. The idea of 'Pashtunistan' took shape immediately after Nehru's visit and the impending referendum on opting between India and Pakistan. Having been left by the Congress to fend for himself, Ghaffar Khan sought a plebiscite between Pakistan and Pashtunistan. However, with AIML workers actively courting tribal maliks in the name of Islam, Ghaffar Khan was becoming increasingly marginalised. Adding to the woes of the KK was Britain's ready acceptance of the AIML's political presence over that of the KK. Though non-violent in nature, the KK was a cadre-based movement also known as the Red Shirts.50 Viewing the army-style, disciplined Red Shirt volunteers as potential storm-troopers, Caroe was outspokenly averse to KK activism.51 Moreover, the idea of an independent Pashtunistan ran against every tenet of British frontier policy as well as the interests of the newly emerging Pakistani elite. From a strategic perspective, the creation of Pashtunistan would have posed a serious threat to Pakistan on its western border. With relations between AIML leadership, later Islamabad, and Kabul at an all time low, the concept of Pashtunistan was anathema. Interestingly, India was silent on this aspect.

The above tensions had multiple impacts on modern India's strategic framework. Firstly, the geographical rupture between India and Afghanistan led to a decline in the latter's strategic immediacy to New Delhi. Viewing Kabul mostly in conjunction with Pakistan, policy interaction between independent India and Kabul occurred while keeping Islamabad-Rawalpindi in sight.52 Marked by cautiousness, India's Afghan policy was rooted in security concerns emanating from the Pashtun hinterlands of South and East Afghanistan. Pakistan's use of Pashtun tribal fighters from the NWFP and Afghanistan in the 1948 war over Kashmir raised New Delhi's concerns of Pakistani influence in the Afghan hinterlands. Secondly, India maintained a studied silence on Islamabad's claims over the Durand Line. Having inherited the frontiers of the Raj, India was to claim these hypothetical lines as legitimate international borders with China. Undermining Pakistani claims on the Durand Line would jeopardise its own position vis-à-vis China. Thirdly, the discourse on the importance of trade routes between India and Afghanistan, as Nehru articulated, became policy pronouncements and long-term interests. And finally, as claimed by Embree, 'concern for the inviolability of frontiers that has been of such importance to contemporary India is one aspect of the nineteenth-century inheritance'.53

Inheriting the Raj's Legacy

The legacy of the above debates persisted even after the Partition of 1947. This is reflected most in the strategic choices facing New Delhi post-Independence. On one hand, it wanted to develop good neighbourly relations with Pakistan; on the other, it wanted to undercut Pakistani military's influence in Afghanistan. A new nation with high sensitivity towards its territorial inheritance, India thus faced security challenges similar to that of the Raj. Three indicators are particularly important in this respect. Firstly, debate over the construct of India's Centre. Various lucid and detailed accounts exist about the debates surrounding the consolidation of the Indian Union before Independence. Political diplomacy undertaken by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Nehru, with support from Lord Mountbatten, to build the Indian nation state-by-state and province-by-province is well documented.54 Constructing the geographical contours of contemporary India using political and military tools was a critical part of consolidating India's Centre. Even though Nehru lost hope over the NWFP after his 1946 visit, the discourse surrounding the event was crucial. Political debates that led to the formation of India were the first step towards claiming sovereignty over most of India's Centre as envisioned by the Raj.

Secondly, India and Pakistan's assertion that the outer limits of the Inner Ring are their international borders. Inheritance of the frontiers constructed by the Raj proved problematic. It contributed to almost every security concern emanating in the region post 1947. Both India and Pakistan have had difficulty exercising sovereign control over regions lying within the Inner Ring. Islamabad's woes in the FATA region and India's security problems in the North East are live examples of this. While India has attempted to integrate these regions into the administered frontiers by extending the writ of the state, Pakistan continued with the Raj legacy. The Frontier Crimes Regulation Act of 1901, for instance, introduced by the British to maintain control over the Pashtun areas of Pakistan, still remains in place. Furthermore, Pakistan's boundary dispute with Afghanistan and New Delhi's rivalry with Beijing over Arunachal Pradesh are testaments to problems associated with the continuation of borders set by the British Raj. Thirdly, a critical point whose adequate appreciation is beyond the ambit of this paper, is the deep impact of British bureaucratic institutions on India's strategic thought.55

Despite the moralpolitik and nonalignment advocated at the global stage, Nehru's regional policies were modern translations of the Inner Ring concept. The dichotomy was most reflected in the first four treaties India signed with Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal and Afghanistan. While the first three reinforced the Bombay School's doctrine of Forward Policy in the frontier, the one with Afghanistan shifted gears reflecting tenets of the Ludhiana School. For instance, the Peace and Friendship treaties, signed with Bhutan and Nepal in 1949 and 1950 respectively, were similar to the Anglo-Bhutanese Treaty of Sinchula (1865) and the Nepal-Britain Mutual Treaty (1923). Even the Indo-Sikkimese Treaty of 1950 drew upon the patron-client equations laid out by the Anglo-Sikkimese Treaty of 1861. All these Himalayan kingdoms more or less became protectorates of India, with their foreign and defence policies being influenced by New Delhi. The Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Afghanistan (1950), however, was simply a confirmation of India's continued interest in its extended neighbourhood. Nehru did not seek influence over Kabul's foreign policy as sought by most proponents of the Bombay School nor did he continue the supply of arms to the Afghan army, as was planned according to an agreement in 1945. At the heart of this contradiction was the division of the subcontinent, which shifted the odds in favour of tenets advocated by the Ludhiana School. Lack of contiguous borders with Afghanistan and a tense relationship with Pakistan challenged the logic of coercive diplomacy with Kabul. A forward diplomatic approach with Afghanistan became the domain of Islamabad instead of New Delhi.

Diplomatic arrangements between New Delhi and Kabul could have been different if the Partition had not have happened. Case in point was India's tacit adoption of the Treaty of Rawalpindi (1919) in which the Afghan leadership accepted the Durand Line as a boundary between Afghanistan and British India. Strategically favouring Pakistan, the logic was to seek legitimacy for India's own territorial assertions with China. As a result, India's stand on the Pashtunistan issue too has been in continuation of the Raj. Nehru was against the idea and articulated so on many occasions. Moreover, not only did he reject a military pact with Kabul, he also discontinued the supply of weapons to the Afghan army at subsidised rates based on a 1945 agreement. Training of Afghan officers on Indian soil, however, was permitted. Closely connected to the increasing turbulence in the Pashtun hinterlands of Afghanistan, Nehru's decision to cut down military aid had a strong resonance with the Ludhiana School's advocacy of practicing restraint. Added to this was the utilitarian tenet of using economic tools to promote security and stability. The External Affairs Division (EAD) agreed to increase economic assistance to Afghanistan in 1950. Given a group of Indian National Congress members representing the British Indian government in 1937 already having established a trading agency in Kabul, economic cooperation was easy to implement.56

The 1979 Soviet military intervention complicated India's options in Afghanistan. Friendship with the Soviet Union became an important factor, particularly with the rise of the Islamabad-Washington-Beijing nexus. One strand was totally opposed to the intervention and stated it in just as many words. Leading a Janata Party government in 1979 when the Soviet tanks rolled into Afghanistan was Charan Singh. Quick to assert India's reservation of military intervention in its neighbourhood and aversion to undermining the sovereignty of Afghanistan, Charan Singh made India's stand fairly clear.57 Supported by key right-wing leaders including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Charan Singh reflected the basic political instinct that India had inherited from the Raj–that of territorial sensitivity towards a region that India considers to be its zone of influence.58 This was the first time the traditional nineteenth century threat of a Russian invasion of Afghanistan actually materialised. The strategic buffer had been violated. Not surprisingly, Pakistan's reaction was even worse, leading to its spearheading what became one of world's largest covert campaigns against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Indira Gandhi soon replaced Charan Singh, and she too was personally against the intervention.59 The public stand, nonetheless, was supportive of Moscow. The decision led to fallout within India's foreign policy bureaucracy.60

Of essence here is the way in which New Delhi dealt with the dilemma. Despite the support to the Soviets, Gandhi sent a special emissary to Pakistan in order to assure President General Zia-ul-Haq that he could 'could remove as many divisions as he wished from the Indian border without fear of any advantage being taken by India and suggested talks on reduction of force levels'.61 Not only was this an attempt to develop communication mechanisms with Islamabad but also a way to restrict Pakistan from altering the regional balance of power. Washington had promised a regular supply of sophisticated weapons and large amounts of money to Islamabad in wake of the Soviet-Afghan war. Then Foreign Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao's visit to Pakistan in June 1981 occurred in this context. Rao made it clear to his Pakistani audience that India was 'unequivocally committed to respect Pakistan's national unity, territorial integrity, and sovereign equality' and its right to obtain arms for self- defense.62 As a result, the Indo-Pakistan Joint Commission was formed in 1982 to facilitate trade and commerce, General Zia visited Delhi on 1 November 1982, and talks to establish the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) were initiated. Instead of Forward Policy, New Delhi was engaging Pakistan as per the tenets of the Ludhiana School.

Contemporary Policy Challenges

Debates over the Afghan question during the 1990s civil war, and particularly after 9/11, interestingly, are much more reflective of nineteenth-century debates. Having emerged as a confident power with a strong economy and modern military, India must decide how far it can 

go in terms of using hard power options in Afghanistan. This debate is particularly critical given the immediacy of security challenges from the northwestern frontier and the asymmetric nature of threats. A sole focus on soft power options became problematic for India given Pakistan's recourse to asymmetric warfare techniques. In what is seen as a shift towards the Forward School, India provided financial and logistical support to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance from 1996 till 2001.63 Throughout this period India's strategic community was divided between proponents of Forward and Closed Border School. Just like Metcalfe, Bentinck, and Willock advocated steamers with British Indian goods across the Indus and into Afghanistan and Central Asia, one strand of the strategic community advocates overland trade links between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics (CARs). And similar to Malcolm, Ellenborough and Wellesley's advocacy of military boots and hard power, the other strand advocates increased training and equipping of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF); committed support to non-Pashtun groups to counter a reversal of the Taliban; honing relations with Pashtuns to undercut Pakistan's influence; and finally, in hushed tones, supporting armed non- state actors in Afghanistan against Pakistan.64 The difference between conservatives of the nineteenth and the twenty-first century is that while the former developed myths about the greatness and righteousness of Britain, the latter hold similar myths about India as a strong power.

Unlike with the Soviets, there was no resistance to the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) intervention in 2001. In fact, India viewed it as a much-needed intervention and offered its air bases to ISAF aircrafts.65 Not only did the NATO-ISAF presence in Afghanistan allow India to reestablish official contacts with Kabul, it undercut Pakistan's looming presence on the Afghan political landscape established during the Taliban years. After six long years of diplomatic absence in Kabul, India realised that non-engagement, including with the Afghan Taliban, was not really an option. Former Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh was the first to break the taboo of talking to the Taliban. During his visit to Kandahar during the IC814 hijack crisis in December 1999, he expected an opening with the Pashtuns.66 This met with antipathy from not only Pakistan but also from the foreign affairs bureaucracy in New Delhi.67 However, as India's thinking on Afghanistan developed over time, the first thing it did after reopening its embassy in Kabul was to engage with the Pashtuns. For India, this was the only way to increase its presence in the troubled Pashtun hinterlands of Afghanistan. India adopted a comprehensive developmental partnership with Kabul and committed about US$ 2 billion as development and reconstruction aid over the years. Most small development projects that India undertook were focused in the Pashtun- dominated south and east Afghanistan. Moreover, similar to the approach Nehru adopted in 1950s, India also agreed to train Afghan army officers, but only on Indian soil. New Delhi ruled out hard military presence in Afghanistan and signed the India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) in 2011.

The SPA 2011 faced its first challenge with the request of arms transfer to Kabul by Afghan President Hamid Karzai in May 2013. The demand came at a time of increased tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, intensifying New Delhi's security dilemma. Complicating this context is the expected removal of the US-led security umbrella post 2014 and the entry of Chinese investments into a war-torn Afghanistan. Despite its alleged economic rivalry with Beijing and unsolved border disputes, India and China organised a counter-terrorism dialogue on Afghanistan.68 Joint mechanisms by the Asian giants could help bring stability in Afghanistan over the long run. However, the question of accommodating Pakistani sensitivities post 2014 is problematic. With India's national security closely linked to the ground situation in Afghanistan, the nature of Pakistan's involvement remains crucial. Pakistan's overarching presence in India's debate over the Afghan question challenges the very fundamentals of India's strategic vision of the subcontinent.

Conclusion

Does India plan its security using a Forward Policy approach by arming Kabul, or a passive policy approach by discussing the Afghan question with Pakistan? According to Gurmeet Kanwal, a former Indian Army officer and strategic expert, India should send its troops to Afghanistan 'if invited'.69 Kanwal is a strong advocate of Indian military presence in Afghanistan under the UN peacekeeping umbrella, if not on its own. Going one step further is Sushant Singh, security commentator, suggesting 'shifting the battleground' to Afghanistan rather than fighting the Pakistani army on its Eastern front.70 According to Harsh Pant, an Indian foreign policy expert, 'New Delhi will have to prepare itself for making some tough choices in the coming days. The days of merely relying on 'soft power' in Afghanistan are well past their sell by date'.71 Even though there is less antipathy towards talking to the Taliban today, there exists a strong constituency within India's foreign policy bureaucracy that advocates supporting non-Pashtuns.72 Further reflecting the tenets of Forward School are Indian army officials associated with Afghanistan. According to a senior retired Indian Army official, India needs to have a proactive Afghan policy and 'should not shy away from supporting Afghans in the security sphere'.73 

The clash between proponents of Forward and Passive policy proponents over Afghanistan and Pakistan has intensified during the course of the last decade of war in Afghanistan. The counter-narrative to the Forward School of thought remains that India, Pakistan and Afghanistan should solve the Durand Line and Kashmir disputes diplomatically. Moreover, focusing on the economic angle, there is a strong lobby that advocates trade overland routes between India and Afghanistan. Similar to what the Ludhiana School proposed, the idea is that connecting the subcontinent through trade and commerce will reduce security threats. According to C. Raja Mohan, India's top strategic analyst, India should work towards Pakistan's borders in both east and west. Promoting legitimisation of the Durand Line, Raja Mohan presents a case with strong tenets of the Closed Border School.74 From this perspective, securing Pakistan's boundaries will decrease pressure on the Pakistani state. While supported by many, India's policy overtures over the last decade have been marked by caution. Despite a strong forward policy constituency, the political leadership has refrained from engaging in the same. As best stated by Gautam Mukhopadhaya, India's ambassador to Afghanistan (2010-2013), 'we (India) are trying to expand the neutral space in Afghanistan rather than taking sides'.75 For advocates of a cautious policy, focus on neutrality and economic link remains key. Nonetheless, dynamics between advocacies are often contingent on the way Pakistan reacts to the situation in Afghanistan.

Despite the Partition, the imprint of geography on strategic choices made by India is visible. Split over choosing between hard and soft power approach in Afghanistan, India is dealing with dilemmas similar to those during the Raj. Policy advocacy of the Bombay and the Ludhiana Schools is resonant in choices India faces in Afghanistan today. Despite a cautious policy in practice, there is strong resonance of adopting a muscular approach. Calling for a coercive but pragmatic foreign policy, Jaswant Singh has been recognised as having 'Curzonian ambitions' for India.76 Moreover, Mani Dixit, considered Curzon 'among the greatest of the Indian nationalists.'77 Attraction towards the Bombay School is reflected in India's policy towards the CARs. In 2002, under the stewardship of Jaswant Singh, India opened its first air base in Ayni, Tajikistan despite the fact that it was already operating from the Farkhor Air Base in the country since 1996. Though the Manmohan Singh government decided to continue with these forward air force bases, it was combined with diplomatic initiatives to assuage concerns in neighbouring capitals.

In many ways, the Manmohan Singh government faces a challenge similar to that of Wellesley and Dundas in 1808. Then the issue was to defend India from Napoleon's wrath by balancing between Persia, Punjab and Afghanistan. Not much different is New Delhi's diplomatic trapeze act to balance Islamabad-Rawalpindi and Kabul. The difference between then and now, however, is UPA's conscientious efforts to make India's neighbouring countries feel secure about its intentions, done mostly by non-interference in domestic political affairs and promotion of trade links–much like the Ludhiana School. An arms commitment to Kabul would reflect a shift in gear towards forward policy. India's contemporary strategic choices in Afghanistan very much reflect tensions rooted in its territorial construct inherited from the Raj.

Endnotes:
  1. These terms were coined by British historian H.W.C. Davis in The Great Game in Asia: 1800-1844 (1927) (OUP, UK)

  2. On 'ring fence', see Ashley Tellis (1990) 'Securing the Barrack: The Logic, Structure and Objective of India's Naval Expansion – Part I' Naval War College Review, Volume XLIII, Number 3, Sequence 331, Pp. 77-97

  3. See Peter John Brobst (2005) The Future of the Great Game: Sir Olaf Caroe, India'sIndependence,andtheDefenseof Asia(Ohio:UAP)

  4. Embree (1989) 'The Diplomacy of Dependency: Nineteenth Century Foreign Policy,' in Imagining India: Essays on Indian History (OUP: UK)

  5. Ibid, 'Frontiers into Boundaries: The Evolution of the Modern State'

  6. The Durand Line was an arrangement between the British Raj and the amir of Afghanistan to mark their respective spheres of influence

  7. The terms Raj and British Raj have been used interchangeably in this paper and they denote the security imperatives of pre-Independence India

  8. Ibid Pp.153

  9. Edward Ingram (1979) The Beginning of the Great Game in Asia 1828-1834 (Clarendon Press: Oxford) Pp 118-121

  10. From 'Celebrated Travels and Travelers,' by Jules Verne, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/26658/26658-h/26658-h.htm

  11. Ingram (1984) Pp. 130-133

  12. Lord Minto was the Governor-General of India, 1807-1813

  13. Embree (1989) Pp.127

  14. Ingram (1984) Pp. 137

  15. Ingram (1979) Pp 85-87

  16. Ingram (1984) Pp 132-133

  17. Ibid Pp. 142-143. The missions sent to Punjab and Sind were testing waters regarding the strength of their respective kingdoms and the willingness of the kings to ally with the British

  1. Ibid Pp 180-183

  2. Ingram (1879) Pp. 83

Securing Afghanistan

  1. C.J. Lowe (1967) The Reluctant Imperialists: British Foreign Policy 1878-1902, Volume 1 (Routledge and Kegan Paul) Pp. 76-77

  2. Ingram (1984) Pp. 156

  3. Ibid Pp. 154

  4. Ibid Pp. 182, Malcolm's appointment as the chief of the Persian mission was a victory against the Harfordians

  5. Davis (1927) Pp. 67-69

  6. An important member of the Forward School was Lord Curzon, Viceroy and Governor-General of India (1899-1905). See C. Raja Mohan (2004) Crossing theRubicon:TheShapingof India'sNewForeignPolicy(PalgraveMacmillan:USA) Pp. 204-205

  7. Sneh Mahajan (2002) British Foreign Policy 1874-1914: The Role of India (London: Routledge) Pp. 22-25

  8. Ibid Pp 23

  9. Ibid Pp. 24

  10. Ingram (1984) Pp 88-89

  11. Ibid Pp. 91

  12. Ibid

  13. Ibid

  14. Fought over control of Ottoman territories, the Crimean War took place between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French, British and Ottoman Empire plus the Kingdom of Sardinia

  15. Lowe (1967) Pp 75

  16. This arrangement ended after the Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919) and the signing of the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1921

  17. Frontier is 'an area, mostly a transitional zone, between geographic regions as well as ethnic groups, and boundary is a line drawn on the ground and on a  map'. See C. B. Fawcet (2010) Frontiers: A Study in Political Geography (Clarendon Press: Oxford) Pp 2Brobst (2005)

  18. Ibid Pp 77-79

  19. Embree (1989) Pp 117-118

  20. Nehru was the first Prime Minister of independent India

  21. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was a Pashtun leader known for his non-violent credentials and closeness to the Congress, particularly Mahatma Gandhi

  22. The Transfer of Power 1942-7, Volume VIII, The Interim Government, Letter from Sir O. Caroe (NWFP) to Field Marshall Viscount Wavell (Governor's Camp, Parachinar) 23 October 1946

  23. Gandhi (2004)

  24. Gandhi (2004) Pp 159

  25. The NWFP was divided into settled areas and tribal areas. The tribal areas were later made into a separate province called the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and settled areas became the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

  26. The Transfer of Power 1942-7, Caroe to Wavell

  27. Ibid

  28. Based on diaries of British officials such as Lord Cunningham and Caroe, using cash, weapons and Islam to hone control over the tribes and the mullah networks of the Frontier was common practice

  29. The Transfer of Power 1942-7, Volume VIII, The Interim Government, Letter from Pandit Nehru to Sir O. Caroe (NWFP) Enclosure to No. 520, New Delhi, 24 October 1946

  30. Members of KK wore red-coloured outfits as a uniform

  31. Brobst (2005) Pp 100-103

  32. 'Islamabad-Rawalpindi' here refers to the importance of Rawalpindi, home to Pakistan's Army HQ, in its regional policies. Islamabad is the political capital of Pakistan but its influence over these matters has often been eroded because of strained civil-military relations

  33. Embree (1989) Pg 118

  1. Mountbatten was the last Viceroy of India, 1947-48

  2. For a detailed account see Dixit (2004)

  3. Interestingly, Nehru was not very happy with economic aid as, 'this kind of generosity is a risky business in the long run.' See SWJN, Volume 1, Nehru to the EAD

  4. JN Dixit (2000) An Afghan Diary: Zahir Shah to Taliban (Konark Publishers: India)

  5. The argument was put forth in the name of Afghanistan's sovereignty. A similar instinct was shown by Vajpayee, his foreign minister Jaswant Singh and National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, 1998-2004

  6. Dixit (2000)

  7. Ibid. Brajesh Mishra, then India's Permanent Representative to the UN, was against supporting the Soviet intervention

  8. US Library of Congress, http://countrystudies.us/india/123.htm

  9. Ibid

  10. Author's interview with a former junior associate of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud of the Northern Alliance

  11. Author's interviews with senior Indian army and intelligence officials.

  12. 'US offered to make India mly ally: weekly,' The Dawn, 10 November 2001

    http://archives.dawn.com/2001/11/10/int5.htm

  13. Author's interview with senior Indian intelligence official who handled the IC814 hijacking case

  14. Ibid. Most bureaucrats and intelligence officials assisting Jaswant Singh in this case were averse to such an idea

  15. 'Ahead of 2014 pullout, India, China plan Afghan dialogue', Indian Express, 04 March 2013

  16. Gurmeet Kanwal 'Peace and Stability in Afghanistan: The Role of Neighbours' 13 December 2012, http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/ PeaceandStabilityinAfghanistanTheRoleofNeighbours_gkanwal_131212

  17. Sushant K Singh, 'Indian Presence in Afghanistan' (2008) ISN/ETH Zurich, http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Articles/Detail/ ?lng=en&id=88656

  18. Harsh V Pant, 'Afghan Endgame: Tough Road Ahead for India', http://www.rediff.com/news/column/afghan-endgame-tough-road- ahead-for-india/20130701.htm

  19. Author's interviews with former Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials

  20. Author's interview with a very senior retired Indian Army officer

  21. C. Raja Mohan 'India and the Af-Pak question: In search of a Regional Framework,' 10 April 2011 Unpublished paper, presented to the Government of India

  22. Author's interview with G Mukhopadhaya, Kabul, 11 April 2013

  23. Raja Mohan (2005) Pp 204

  24. Ibid

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Avinash Paliwal

Avinash Paliwal