KABUL: Amid the unfolding transition in Kabul, India has underlined that it is Afghanistan’s “first strategic partner” and signalled its intention to intensify bilateral cooperation across the spectrum, including security, defence and reconstruction work in the violence-beset country.
In her maiden visit to Kabul, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Afghan President Hamid Karzai and held talks on the political and security situation amid the planned withdrawal of foreign combat troops from Afghanistan.
“This is a critical decade of transformation for Afghanistan. India will always be Afghanistan’s first strategic partner. And we will always share the Afghan people’s vision of a strong, independent, united and prosperous Afghanistan for which so many Afghans sacrificed so much,” Swaraj said while inaugurating the new building of the Indian embassy in Kabul.
“India is prepared to do whatever is possible, within our capacities and our means, to work with the Afghan Government and its peoples to realize this great vision,” the minister stressed.
Alluding to India’s multifarious reconstruction activities ranging from the construction of roads and bridges to the building of the Afghan parliament, the minister thanked the Afghan people for “consistently praising our work in Afghanistan as amongst the best and the most effective aid and humanitarian programs.”
“This has always been a source of great encouragement and inspiration for us.”
The Indian embassy in Kabul has been targeted many a time by Taliban-backed militants, allegedly supported by Pakistan’s military-ISI combine.
Fittingly, Sushma Swaraj offered tributes to officials and personnel, who laid down their lives during targeted terrorist attacks against India’s diplomatic premises and development projects in Afghanistan.
India is the biggest development partner of Afghanistan in the region and has pledged $2 billion for a host of projects which are transforming the lives of ordinary Afghans.
India’s diplomatic-strategic establishment is gearing up to deal with the fluid situation in the wake of the withdrawal of the NATO troops amid apprehensions about Pakistan-backed Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
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