Swaraj: Com­mit­ted to­wards Afghan eco­nomic re­cov­ery

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - MYFIRSTVOTE - Press Trust of In­dia

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.

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