India Renews Support to Afghanistan

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Foreign Secretary Mr Harsh Vardhan Shringla with President Dr Ashraf Ghani
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External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India will continue to extend all support to Afghanistan as a contiguous neighbour, in a clear reference that the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir belongs to India …. reports Asian Lite News

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Foreign Secretary Mr Harsh Vardhan Shringla with Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah

India welcomes the US-Taliban agreement and says promises continues support to the landlocked country to prosper and ensure the end of terrorism.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India will continue to extend all support to Afghanistan as a contiguous neighbour, in a clear reference that the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir belongs to India.

After months of negotiations, the US and Taliban signed a landmark peace deal in Qatari capital Doha on Saturday, effectively drawing curtains to the United States’ 18-year war in Afghanistan since 2001. India’s Ambassador to Qatar P Kumaran was among a host of diplomats present at the ceremony where the deal was inked.

“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 MEA spokesperson said.

He was responding to the signing of the US-Taliban deal in Doha and issuance of a joint declaration between the Afghan and US governments in Kabul. India has been a key stakeholder in Afghanistan as it has already spent around USD 2 billion in the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country.

“As a contiguous neighbour, India will continue to extend all support to the Government and people of Afghanistan in realising their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future where the interest of all sections of Afghan society are protected,” Kumar said.

Shringla in Kabul

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Foreign Secretary Mr Harsh Vardhan Shringla with President Dr Ashraf Ghani

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Mr Harsh Vardhan Shringla met Afghan leaders in Kabul and ensure India’s support to bring stability and development. This 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, Foreign Secretary called on President Dr. Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and former President Mr. Hamid Karzai. He also met First Vice President-elect Mr. Amrullah Saleh, NSA Dr. Hamdullah Mohib, Acting Foreign Minister Mr. Mohammad Haroon Chakhansuri and Acting Finance Minister Mr. 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, Foreign Secretary reiterated India’s commitment to enhanced political, economic and development partnership between the two neighbours 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.

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Foreign Secretary Mr Harsh Vardhan Shringla with former President Hamid Karzai

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 operationalisation 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.

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US Representative Zalmay Khalilsad signs the deal with Taliban deputy and co-founder of Taliban movement in Afghanistan Mullah Abdul Ghani Beradar
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