New Delhi, Sep 11: India and Afghanistan on Monday sent a strong message to Pakistan and committed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each other and fight cross-border terrorism and terror sanctuaries.
India, Afghanistan committed to fighting cross-border terrorism
As the two countries signed 116 agreements in development sectors, including in health, agriculture and education, Exterl Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India’s relationship with Afghanistan was an article of faith as New Delhi would remain with Kabul in fighting the challenges of terrorism.
Without ming Pakistan, the Minister said India and Afghanistan remained “united in overcoming the challenges posed by cross-border terrorism and safe havens and sanctuaries to both our countries”. Sushma Swaraj was addressing a joint media conference with Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani following the “India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Council” talks here. “For India, strategic partnership and friendship with Afghanistan is an article of faith. It is not just another relationship or an engagement, but a spiritual and civilisation connect.”
Rabbani emphasised India and Afghanistan had suffered from terrorism and violent extremism that has threatened the region’s stability. He med terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad “which have been launching attacks against India and indiscrimitely killing civilians of this country”. He said the Pakistan-based groups active in Jammu and Kashmir were “engaged in similar activities along with Taliban, Al Qaeda and Daesh in Afghanistan”.
“Together they are killing our people on Afghanistan and destroying infrastructure,” he said. Sushma Swaraj said India honoured the supreme sacrifices made by Afghan Defence and Security Forces for the cause of entire humanity. “We are indebted to them for ensuring safety of Indians working in Afghanistan,” she said, adding that India would begin implementation of the new 500 scholarships programme for next of kin of the martyrs of Afghan tiol Defence and Security Forces from the academic year 2018.
Sushma Swaraj referred to the high-level visits exchanged between the two countries over the last three years, including Indian Prime Minister rendra Modi’s visits in December 2015 to iugurate a new building of the Afghan Parliament in Kabul and then again in June 2016 to iugurate the Salma Dam in Herat province reconstructed with India’s aid.
“Today, building upon our economic and development cooperation, we jointly agreed to embark on a New Development Partnership in keeping with the priorities of Afghanistan,” the Indian Exterl Affairs Minister said. “One hundred sixteen new High Impact Development Projects would be jointly implemented that would bring socio-economic and infrastructure development, especially in the suburban and rural communities in 31 provinces of Afghanistan.” (IANS)