Afghan Foreign Minister bats for a bigger role for India in peace, development

Amid the escalating Taliban-led violence in Afghanistan, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar’s visit to India has paved the way for enhancing security cooperation, regional connectivity, trade and investment and pushing forward the peace process in Afghan.  Mr Atmar met External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in New Delhi to strengthen India – Afghanistan Strategic Partnership in the areas of political, security, trade, economic, capacity development, education, social and cultural relations.“As a legitimate partner, we are seeking a greater role for India. Afghanistan would continue to work with India on trade and economic cooperation regardless of the peace process”, said Mr Atmar. The Afghan minister lauded India for financial assistance worth US$ 3 billion and implementation of projects which have benefited all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.

Underlining the importance of a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire for a successful Afghan peace process, Mr Jaishankar reiterated India’s long-term commitment towards a peaceful, sovereign, stable and inclusive Afghanistan where the rights of all sections of the society are protected within a democratic constitutional framework.  Recently, New Delhi discussed Afghan peace process with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin during his visit to India and has time and again put up the issue of war-torn Afghanistan at international platforms.

India, a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan, has already invested $2 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country and has been a supporter of the Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled reconciliation process.  The Indian government also announced a new package of over 100 high impact community projects worth US $80 million for Afghanistan last year.Recently, an agreement for the construction of Shatoot dam was signed between the two countries to provide drinking water to Kabul city.

(Palak Chhabra contributed inputs for this article)

 

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