President Biden’s decision to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, could severely impact India: the Taliban’s return to Kabul, terrorism by India-focused jihadi groups operating in Afghanistan, growing Pakistani influence in the country, and the possibility of a proxy war between India and Pakistan in Afghanistan could all impact India’s foreign and security policies.
From July 18 to July 20, 2021, Wikistrat ran an online simulation exploring the impact of different post-US withdrawal scenarios on India. Over 30 South Asia experts took part in the simulation, which explored the potential implications of different scenarios and assessed their probability and risk for India.
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India may become the site of an Afghan government in exile: While most of the crowd did not consider this possibility, some of the experts suggested that following the Taliban takeover of Kabul, the closure of the Indian diplomatic mission in Kabul, and worsening of ties with the Taliban-led government, New Delhi might decide to host the Afghan government in exile (AGE).
The Taliban has no Kashmir policy: The experts believe that the Taliban is hesitant to pick sides in the contentious India-Pakistan relationship and on the Kashmir issue. This may create an opening for India, as the Taliban may be open to fostering warm relations with it.
The Taliban of today isn’t the Taliban of the early 2000s: The crowd agree that the Taliban of today differs significantly from the Taliban of the 9/11 era. According to the experts, the Taliban today is more pragmatic than its predecessors, and the likelihood that it will become a proxy for Pakistan again is low.
India will have to engage with the Taliban following the US withdrawal: The experts argue that India must engage with Taliban to ensure its interests in Afghanistan are preserved and that Pakistan will not become the only key player regarding the Taliban's activities in the country and the neighborhood.
A US withdrawal could bring about an India-Iran engagement: As the further destabilization of Afghanistan will hamper the security and interests of both Iran and India, the experts argue that these convergences could potentially bring India closer to Iran while dealing with the Afghan-Taliban question.