Swaraj: Committed towards Afghan economic recovery
India, Central Asia and Afghanistan are tolerant and plural. The ideology of hate which the terrorists like to spread has no place in our societies. SUSHMA SWARAJ, EAM
SAMARKAND(UZBEKISTAN): India on Sunday said it was committed to the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan and to promote an inclusive “Afghan-led, Afghanowned and Afghan-controlled” peace and reconciliation process in the war-torn country.
India’s position was enunciated by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj at the historic India-central Asia Dialogue, with the participation of Afghanistan, which focussed on a plethora of regional issues. Swaraj was accompanied by foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan took part in the meeting.
“I would like to specifically point out that our region is facing serious challenges posed by terrorism. India, Central Asia and Afghanistan are societies which are tolerant and plural. The ideology of hate which the terrorists would like to spread has no place in our societies,” Swaraj said while addressing the first session of the dialogue. “We also need to ask that who these terrorists are, who funds them, how do they find sustenance, who protects and sponsors them,” she said.
“No business development, no investment can take place in a country suffering from terrorism. To promote business development in our region, we agreed to fight the scourge of terrorism together,” Swaraj said, adding that terrorism seriously erodes all avenues of development which a country can have.
Meanwhile, India and five Central Asian countries, along with Afghanistan, condemned terrorism in all forms and manifestations, and agreed to cooperate in countering the threat.
This was part of a joint statement issued at the end of the first ever meeting of the India-central Asia Dialogue which also saw the participation of Afghanistan at the ministerial level in Samarkand. “All sides condemned terrorism... and agreed to cooperate in countering terrorism which posed a threat to the people and economies of the world,” the statement said.
India has also proposed the setting up of the ‘India-central Asia Development Group’ to take forward this development partnership between India and Central Asian countries. Last month, an Indian company opened its office and took over operations at the Shaheed Beheshti port in Chabahar.
India is also looking to develop the Chabahar-zahedan railway link which would bring it close to the Zaranj-delaram road link which India has already built in Afghanistan. India is extending development assistance to Afghanistan of over $3 billion, focused on reconstruction, infrastructure development, capacity building and connectivity.