By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: India on Saturday described Afghanistan as a contiguous neighbor and hoped that peace deal between USA and Taliban will help to defeat international terrorism. “India’s consistent policy is to support all opportunities that can bring peace, security and stability in Afghanistan; end violence; cut ties with international terrorism; and lead to a lasting political settlement through an Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled process,” the Ministry of External Affairs said hours after peace deal was signed in Doha.
“We note that the entire political spectrum in Afghanistan, including the Government, the democratic polity and civil society, has welcomed the opportunity and hope for peace and stability generated by these agreements.”
“As a contiguous neighbor, India will continue to extend all support to the Government and people of Afghanistan in realizing their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future where the interest of all sections of Afghan society are protected,” the MEA noted.
Meanwhile Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited Afghanistan on 28-29 February. It was his first visit abroad after taking over as India’s Foreign Secretary one month back and highlights the strategic partnership between the two countries.
During his visit, Indian Foreign Secretary called on President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai. He also met First Vice President-elect Mr. Amrullah Saleh, NSA Hamdullah Mohib, Acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Haroon Chakhansuri and Acting Finance Minister Abdul Zadran. He separately interacted with a wide cross-section of Afghan leaders from politics, media, civil society and academia.
In his meetings with the Afghan leadership, Indian Foreign Secretary reiterated India’s commitment to enhanced political, economic and development partnership between the two neighbors and strategic partners. He reiterated India’s consistent support for an independent, sovereign, democratic, pluralistic and inclusive Afghanistan in which interests of all sections of Afghan society are preserved.
He also conveyed India’s support for enduring and inclusive peace and reconciliation which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. He underscored that sustainable peace in Afghanistan requires an end to externally sponsored terrorism.
Foreign Secretary congratulated the people and Government of Afghanistan on the conduct of the fourth presidential elections and the declaration of the final results. Noting the recent developments and hope for peace generated by recent developments, he reiterated the need for all sections of the political leadership to work together in the pursuit of sustainable peace and security for the people of the country. The leadership of Afghanistan deeply appreciated India’s support for peace, development and prosperity of Afghanistan, including the efforts for regional connectivity such as the operationalization of Chahbahar Port and establishment of Air Freight Corridors between various cities of India and Afghanistan. Agreements for road projects in Bamyan and Mazar-e-Sharif provinces of Afghanistan with Indian development assistance were signed during the visit. It was agreed to work together for implementation of the New Development Partnership and further expand cooperation in accordance with the Strategic Partnership Agreement.