Building on the successful visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Afghanistan in December, Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer and Head of the Council of Ministers Abdullah Abdullah is in India for wide-ranging discussions, with counter-terrorism and security issues topping the agenda.
Mr Abdullah will hold a bilateral meeting with Mr Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on February 1. Prior to Mr Modi’s visit to Afghanistan, Mrs Swaraj had also visited Afghanistan to attend the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference where the focus was on combating terrorism jointly in the region.
In the wake of increasing terror attacks in the region, the two countries are likely to focus on stepping up counter-terror cooperation. Mr Abdullah will also be attending a conference on counter-terrorism in Jaipur.
During his address to the Afghan Parliament in Kabul in December, Mr Modi spoke out strongly against terror sanctuaries, a veiled reference to Pakistan, and stressed on the importance of joint cooperation in defeating terror. “Brave and tireless as the Afghans are in defending their nations, Afghanistan will succeed only when terrorism no longer flows across the border; when nurseries and sanctuaries of terrorism are shut; and, their patrons are no longer in business. Terror and violence cannot be the instrument to shape Afghanistan’s future or dictate the choices Afghans make,” Mr Modi had said in his address to Afghan parliamentarians.
With the rise of the Islamic State and a resurgent Taliban, India and Afghanistan have redoubled efforts to step up counter-terror cooperation. The recent attacks near India’s consulates in Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad have raised concerns in new Delhi about the safety of India’s diplomatic missions in Afghanistan and over 3,000 Indians working in the violence-beset country. India is expected to take up the issue of providing security to Indians and Indian missions in Afghanistan during Mr Abdullah’s visit.
India has provided developmental assistance of around $2 billion to Afghanistan for a host of development projects which have spawned enormous goodwill for the country among Afghans.
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