Heart of Asia: Jaishankar calls for ‘double peace’ in Afghanistan

Amid accelerated efforts to find a lasting solution to the Afghan crisis, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has called for “a genuine double peace” in Afghanistan which harmonises interests of all stakeholders. “For a durable peace in Afghanistan, what we need is a genuine ‘double peace’, that is, peace within Afghanistan and peace around Afghanistan. It requires harmonizing interests of all, both within and around that country,” said Mr Jaishankar.

“Today, we are striving for a more inclusive Afghanistan that can overcome decades of conflict. But that will happen only if we stay true to principles that the Heart of Asia has long embodied. Collective success may not be easy but alternative is only collective failure”, said Mr Jaishankar at the 9th Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in Dushanbe.

The operationalisation of the Chabahar Port in Iran and a dedicated Air Freight Corridor between the cities of India and Afghanistan will boost connectivity and enhance economic prospects of the Afghan people.India, a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan, has already invested $2 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country, supporting Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled reconciliation process.

In his address at the conference, Mr Jaishankar highlighted India’s development partnership of USD 3 billion, which also includes more than 550 Community Development Projects covering all 34 provinces, is “aimed at making Afghanistan a self-sustaining nation.”The ministerial conference is part of the Istanbul Process that was launched on November 2, 2011 in Turkey.On the sidelines of the conference, Mr Jaishankar also met his Tajik, Iranian and Turkish counterparts. “India has been supportive of all the efforts being made to accelerate the dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban, including intra-Afghan negotiations. We attended the inaugural virtual session of the Doha talks,” said the minister.

“If the peace process is to be successful, then it is necessary to ensure that the negotiating parties continue to engage in good faith, with a serious commitment towards reaching a political solution,” he added.India is the lead country for Trade, Commerce and Investment Confidence Building Measure (CBM) under the Heart of Asia Conference.A week ago, Mr Jaishankar had conveyed India’s long-term commitment towards a peaceful, sovereign and stable Afghanistan to Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar during the latter’s visit to New Delhi.

(With inputs from Palak Chhabra)