At trilateral meet, India says Afghan territory must not be used by terror groups

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However, the humanitarian gesture had hit a roadblock as Pakistan till Wednesday was non-committal on allowing the consignment to pass through its territory…reports Ateet Sharma

India told Russia and China today that Afghan territory must not be used for terror activities by Pakistan-based terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

New Delhi’s expectations were put forward by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar when he chaired the 18th meeting of the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral framework which was also attended by Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi, the foreign ministers of Russia and China, via videoconference on Friday.

“It is necessary for the RIC countries to coordinate respective approaches on the threats of terrorism, radicalization, drug trafficking etc,” said Jaishankar while reiterating India’s stand on having an inclusive and representative government in Afghanistan.

The minister told his two counterparts from Moscow and Beijing that, in line with India’s commitment to the well-being of Afghan people, New Delhi had offered supply of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan to address the drought situation in the country.

However, the humanitarian gesture had hit a roadblock as Pakistan till Wednesday was non-committal on allowing the consignment to pass through its territory.

“RIC countries need to work together to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the Afghan people without hindrance and without politicization,” Jaishankar said today. He stressed that as a “contiguous neighbour and a “long-standing partner” of Afghanistan, India is concerned about the recent developments in that country, especially the suffering of the Afghan people.

All three ministers agreed that cooperation among the RIC countries will contribute not only to their own growth but also to global peace, security, stability and development.

Jaishankar, in his address, also reaffirmed India’s continued commitment to foster closer dialogue and cooperation among the three largest nations in the Eurasian region under the RIC mechanism.

“I believe that our cooperation in areas like trade, investment, healthcare, education, science & technology and politics etc could significantly contribute to global growth, peace and stability,” he said.

During Friday’s meeting, particular attention was also paid on overcoming the consequences of the pandemic of the new coronavirus infection.

“Covid-19 pandemic has alerted us to the need for more reliable global supply chains, especially in health. RIC countries must recognize vaccination certificates issued by each other. The world should avoid unreasonable and unscientific travel restrictions,” tweeted Jaishankar after the meeting.

In the joint statement released later, the three countries stressed the necessity of urgent elimination of UNSC proscribed terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIL and others for lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region.

Calling on the Taliban to take actions in accordance with the results of all the recently held international and regional formats of interaction on Afghanistan, they reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any other country.

The three ministers also expressed their determination to counter the spread of illicit drug trafficking in opiates and methamphetamine from Afghanistan and beyond, which poses a serious threat to regional security and stability and provides funding for terrorist organisations.

Russia said that the exchange of views that took place confirmed the similarity of the positions of the three countries with regard to strengthening the multilateral foundations of international cooperation, as well as approaches to solving pressing problems of our time.

“During the talks, which took place in a constructive atmosphere, key issues on the global and regional agenda were considered. A concurrent disposition was expressed to expand interaction within the framework of multilateral organizations and associations, primarily in the UN, G20, SCO, BRICS,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry.

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