The Taliban and China: India Sees New Opportunities in Central Asia
India is the geopolitical behemoth of South Asia, boasting a population of over one billion with projections indicating that it will soon overtake China as the most populous nation in the world.1 Its expanding economy, developing rule of law, and rising youth population point towards India adopting a more dominant role on the international stage in the second quarter of the twenty-first century. Until now, Indian foreign policy has been hyper focused on its immediate neighborhood. India has prioritized minimizing threats from Pakistan, curbing religious extremism, and balancing China along its northern border. However, India is assuming a more commanding position in regions outside of South Asia. India’s proximity to the Central Asian states, its need to secure trade routes that circumvent Pakistan, and its desire to engage in spaces with a large Chinese presence suggest that it can play a more active role in Central Asia.