Amid the ongoing volatility in Afghanistan and a tortuous process of transition, India hosted Afghanistan’s CEO Abdullah Abdullah in New Delhi and discussed a host of pressing issues, including the security situation and the play of the Afghan peace process in the violence-torn country.
Mr Abduallah’s visit to Delhi came barely five weeks after a landmark trip by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kabul, and underlined joint efforts by the two countries to spawn a new narrative of opportunity in the region. This was reflected in the signing ofa pact for visa-free travel by diplomats of the two countries in New Delhi.
Mr Abdullah met Mr Modi on February 1 and discussed deepening the strategic partnership in the bilateral as well as regional context.
Mr Abdullah appreciated India’s outreach to Afghanistan and said Mr Modi’s visit to Afghanistan had re-energised the strategic partnership between the two countries. India’s contribution to infrastructure development and capacity building in Afghanistan was appreciated by Mr Abdullah. India has provided around $2 billion in assistance to Afghanistan till date. Mr Modi reiterated India’s commitment in extending all possible support to the efforts of the Afghan people in building a peaceful, stable, prosperous, inclusive and democratic country.
“Sustained engagement with Afghanistan. Chief Executive Abdullah meets the Prime Minister… Promoting stronger diplomatic ties…India and Afghanistan sign agreement on visa free travel for diplomats,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.
Mr Abdullah also held talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and discussed a host of bilateral and regional issues.
The minister assured Mr Abdullah of government’s help in facilitating participation of a strong Afghan contingent in the 12th SAF games to be held in Guwahati and Shillong.
In the backdrop of growing terror attacks in the region, India and Afghanistan have been focusing on stepping up counter-terror cooperation. The rise of the Islamic State and Taliban’s growing assertion in the region has led India and Afghanistan to redouble efforts to step up counter-terror cooperation.
Bolstering strategic ties with Kabul, India had given three multi—role Mi—35 helicopters to Afghanistan in December for combating terrorism.
Mr Abdullah will also be attending a conference on counter-terrorism in Jaipur. Discussing the terror attacks on Indian consulates in Afghanistan, Mr Modi thanked the Government and the National Security Forces of Afghanistan for their bravery and sacrifice in order to protect the Indians, especially during the attack on the Indian Consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif which took place on January 4.
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