Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani held delegation level talks with Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj aimed at advancing ‘India Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Council’in New Delhi on Monday and agreed to remain united in dealing with the challenges posed by cross border terrorism. After the talks, four agreements were exchanged in areas like health and transport.
Without mentioning Pakistan, Sushma Swaraj said, “India remain united in overcoming the challenges posed by cross border terrorism and safe havens and sanctuaries to both our countries.We support national peace and reconciliation in an atmosphere free from violence and within the framework of Afghanistan’s Constitution.”
Intensifying relationship with a strategic partner,Sushma said, “For India, Strategic partnership and friendship with Afghanistan is an article of faith; it is a spiritual and civilisation connect.India will continue to work with people of Afghanistan in their efforts to build secure, stable, peaceful, prosperous, united and inclusive nation.”
Elaboration on the areas of collaboration, the Minister said, ” We commenced Air Freight Corridor in June 2017 to provide direct access to farmers of Afghanistan to the Indian markets.India-Afghanistan trade & investment show in New Delhi on September 27-30, 2017 will provide opportunity to bring businesses together.
We also discussed measures for enhancing trade and investment cooperation. India has liberalized visa, especially for Afghan businessmen.”
In the areas of connectivity and transit for Afghanistan, MEA announced that “Both the countries are expediting the development of Chahbahar Port in trilateral cooperation with Iran.We commenced Air Freight Corridor in June 2017 to provide direct access to farmers of Afghanistan to the Indian markets. We are expediting the development of Chahbahar Port in trilateral cooperation with Iran. e will begin supply of wheat to Afghanistan in coming weeks through Chahbahar port.”
She said that focus would be on ‘building governance and democratic institutions, human resource capacity and skill development’. She said that measures to enhance trade and investment cooperation was discussed and India has liberalised visas for Afghan businessmen.
Sushma said, “We signed the Motors Vehicle Agreement today. We hope that it would pave the way for overland transit. India also hopes to join the regional trade and transit Agreements that have Afghanistan at its heart”.
India has been and will continue to work with the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to build a secure, stable, peaceful, prosperous, united and inclusive nation.
Ministry of External Affairs said that “both ministers jointly agreed to embark on a New Development Partnership in keeping with the priorities of Afghanistan and the main focus will continue on building governance and democratic institutions; human resource capacity and skill development.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a slew of projects including “116 new High Impact Development Projects would be jointly implemented that would bring socio-economic and infrastructure development.
Sushma said that both India and Afghanistan have seen unprecedented high-level exchanges in last three years and “relations between the countries are important not just for our people, but also for the region.”
Sushma said, “India will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Afghanistan in realising their dreams.”Sushma said “From 2018, a new 500 scholarships programme for next of kin of the martyrs of Afghan National Defence and Security Forces will begin. India will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Afghanistan in realising their dreams.”
His visit comes weeks after US President Donald Trump urged India to play a bigger role in Afghanistan while announcing his new Afghanistan policy. Rabbani will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence this evening.