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A Rock Between Hard PlacesAfghanistan as an Arena of Regional Insecurity$
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Kristian Berg Harpviken and Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190627232

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190627232.001.0001

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South Asia and Afghanistan

South Asia and Afghanistan

Projecting the Indo-Pak Conflict

Chapter:
(p.21) 2 South Asia and Afghanistan
Source:
A Rock Between Hard Places
Author(s):

Kristian Berg Harpviken

Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190627232.003.0002

This chapter examines dynamics within the South Asian regional security complex, how the two regional rivals, India and Pakistan, draw in global powers, and how their relationship is projected in Afghanistan. The conflict between India and Pakistan is attributed to historical legacies over territory, including the Kashmir conflict, as well as irreconcilable differences over national identity. The chapter examines how the security dynamics within the South Asian region have in turn been influenced by the rivalries of global powers. These rivalries, argues the chapter, get projected onto the Afghan terrain. In Afghanistan, the main rationale for both Pakistan and India is to check the influence of the other, furthering their regional proxy war, albeit indirectly and with unconventional tactics. For Pakistan, influence over Afghanistan is seen as essential to security, primarily for maintaining strategic depth against India, but also to maintain the current border (the disputed Durand Line), to quash aspirations for a united Pashtunistan, and to foster cooperation with the US. For India, engagement in Afghanistan is largely about constraining Pakistan’s influence, turning public opinion against its main rival, while insulating itself from the dangers of the narcotics trade and fundamentalist Islam. India also seeks international recognition as a major donor.

Keywords:   South Asia, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Regional Security, Regional Cooperation, Durand Line, Kashmir conflict, Proxy war

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