Friday, 22 September, 2017

Message to Pakistan: India, Afghanistan to fight terror till its end

India Pakistan Afghanistan terrorism Salahuddin Rabbani India, Afghanistan agree to bolster security cooperation
Saul Franklin | 12 September, 2017, 00:44

Rabbani is expected to renew Afghanistan's demand for greater Indian involvement in the war-ravaged nation, including the "wish list" of defence equipment it has sought from India.

Both India and Afghanistan have long accused Pakistan of sheltering terror groups that mount attacks in their countries.

At the India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Council meeting, the two sides are likely to review the entire gamut of relations, including the Indian humanitarian assistance to the embattled nation.

The construction of the major Salma Dam, the new Afghan parliament building, Zaranj-Delaram highway, and some other projects are among the key investments India has done so far in the country.

"We support national peace and reconciliation in an atmosphere free from violence and within the framework of Afghanistan's Constitution", Ms Swaraj said, reiterating that India would continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Afghanistan in realising their dreams.

Rabbani also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As the two countries signed 116 agreements in development sectors, including in health, agriculture and education, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India's relationship with Afghanistan was an article of faith as New Delhi would remain with Kabul in fighting the challenges of terrorism.

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India has given four military helicopters to Afghanistan and imparted training to hundreds of Afghan security personnel. Citing that both countries were victims of terrorism and violent extremism, Rabbani stated that both countries have also agreed to strengthen security cooperation.

"The enabling environment for terrorism is directly linked to continued support they receive from outside of Afghanistan", he said.

Rabbani, however, also clarified that friendship with India or any other country did not imply Afghanistan's hostility towards others in the region.

He named terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad "which have been launching attacks against India and indiscriminately killing civilians of this country".

She added: "We commenced Air Freight Corridor in June 2017 to provide direct access to farmers of Afghanistan to the Indian markets". The EAM added to improve connectivity and transit, India would be expediting development of Chahbahar Port in trilateral cooperation with Iran.

The new projects would include a dam and drinking water supply project for Kabul, a low-priced housing project for refugees, and a polyclinic in Mazar-e Sharif. The liberalization of visa measures by India for Afghan nationals, including decision to grant upto 5 year multiple entry business visa, was welcomed as a measure that would promote bilateral trade and commerce.

She said that focus would be on "building governance and democratic institutions, human resource capacity and skill development".

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