India, US back inclusive Afghanistan

US-INDIA-DIPLOMACY-IMMIGRATION-POLITICSFollowing US President Barack Obama’s visit to India earlier this year, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Dan Feldman, visited New Delhi recently to continue high-level US-India consultations on Afghanistan.

Mr Feldman, who was in Delhi on April 7, met India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, and S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary of India, amongst other Indian government officials.

The agenda of the meeting was to discuss the best way to support a stable, sustainable, inclusive, sovereign and democratic political order in Afghanistan. They also spoke about the outcomes of Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah’s visit to Washington in March 2015.

An inter-agency delegation led by US Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Laurel Miller, had met in February this year as well, and conducted talks on shared commitment to regional cooperation in the South Asia region, focusing on Afghanistan’s stability and prosperity. The Joint Statement issued during President Obama’s January visit to New Delhi also included a commitment to “promote a secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan as part of a secure, stable, and prosperous region”. Holding high level consultations was to be a part of the joint effort.

Afghanistan has been reeling under the pressure of resurging extremism- given that Islamic radicals (ISIS, Al-Shabaab, Taliban, Al Qaeda and its off shoots, amongst others) are gaining foothold in war torn West Asia; Pakistan’s terrorism threat (and possible implosion) across the border, and the shaky coalition national government which came to power after major a consensus building exercise (which even saw the post of CEO being created) in the nascent democracy. Also, illicit drug trade, corruption and patronage systems remain a domestic concern.

During Afghani President Ashraf Ghani’s USA visit in March, Mr Obama declared that 9,800 troops would remain in Afghanistan through 2015, (a slowdown on the pace of troop withdrawal and policy shift on the ‘zero option’) to assist the Afghan National Security Forces (and possibly aid in USA counterterrorism activities in the region).

India remains committed to post war reconstruction in Afghanistan and has several investments in developmental projects there.

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