Mackinder Forum Seminar #39: Professor Sumit Ganguly, “India, Pakistan and China after the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan”

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On September 12, 2021, 1:30-3:00 p.m. (Eastern US time), Professor Sumit Ganguly addressed the Mackinder Forum Seminar on “India, Pakistan and China after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.”


Sumit Ganguly is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science and holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University, Bloomington. A specialist on the international and comparative politics of South Asia he is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of at least twenty books on the region. His most recent books are Deadly Impasse: India and Pakistan at the Dawn of a New Century (Cambridge, 2016), Ascending India and Its State Capacity (Yale University Press, 2017) co-authored with William R. Thompson and The Future of US-India Security Cooperation edited with Christopher Mason (Manchester University Press, 2021) He is currently co-editing the Routledge Handbook of South Asian Security with Frank O’Donnell.

In 2018-2019 he was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelberg. Professor Ganguly is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a columnist for Foreign   He has served as an Associate Editor of International Security and Security Studies, is a member of the editorial board of International Security and the founding editor of Asian Security.


The consequences of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan will have markedly different consequences for India, Pakistan and China.  India, which was the fifth largest aid donor to Afghanistan and had close ties to the Ghani/Abdullah government probably has the most to lose. It fears that the Taliban resurgence will embolden Islamist insurgents in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir and that Afghanistan under the Taliban might yet again become a safe haven for Kashmiri insurgents. For Pakistan, the return of the Taliban has mixed ramifications. On the one hand it fears an influx of refugees in the immediate future. However, its military establishment, which has deep ties to the Taliban, will invariably relish having a mostly sympathetic regime in Kabul. The PRC, which has already reached out to the Taliban, the principal concern will be to ensure that the new regime does not encourage any form of extremism amongst the restive Muslims of Xinjiang province. As long as the Taliban refrain from doing so the PRC will gleefully expand its footprint in Afghanistan in concert with its “all weather ally”, Pakistan.


Sumit Ganguly, “What the Taliban Takeover Means for India,” Foreign Policy, August 17, 2021.