India and other key world powers on Sunday vowed not to allow Afghanistan to become a sanctuary for global terrorism again.
The “Tokyo Declaration” adopted at the end of a day-long conference here on Afghanistan said the participants, including External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reaffirmed their respect for sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and independence of Afghanistan, which constitutes an integral component of the peace, wellbeing and prosperity of the region and beyond.
Also, the participants from over 70 countries welcomed the results of the Delhi Investors’ Summit on Afghanistan — hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry on June 28 in Delhi — which benefited from many participants from neighbouring countries, and underscored the importance of implementing the recommendations of the summit, the declaration said.
Asserting that peace and security were the foundation on which a stable and prosperous society was built, the countries recognised that the main threat to Afghanistan’s security and stability came from terrorism and that this threat also endangered regional and international peace and security.
In this regard, the participants recognised the regional dimensions of terrorism and extremism, including terrorist safe havens, and emphasised the need for sincere and result-oriented regional and international cooperation towards a region free from terrorism in order to secure Afghanistan and safeguard the region and the world.
They renewed their firm determination to combat terrorism and extremism in all their forms and never to allow Afghanistan to become a sanctuary for international terrorism again, the declaration said.
In his opening remarks, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that despite the progress made in the past 10 years, Afghanistan’s economy remained vulnerable and security a major obstacle.
“It will take many years of hard work on our part as Afghans, as well as continued empowering support from our international partners before Afghanistan can achieve prosperity and self-reliance,” he said. “We must do what we can to deepen the roots of security and make the transition irreversible.”
Ms. Clinton stressed the need for reforms to safeguard changes achieved in Afghanistan. “That must include fighting corruption, improving governance, strengthening the rule of law, increasing access to economic opportunity for all Afghans, especially for women.”
Addressing the meeting, Mr. Krishna said India did not visualise its partnership with Afghanistan as “conditions-based or transitory, nor are we looking to transition out of this partnership.”
“In spite of not being a traditional donor country, we have shared significant resources for Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development.”
Mr. Krishna noted that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had pledged an additional $ 500 million to Afghanistan during his visit to Kabul last year, bringing India’s total cumulative commitment to $ 2 billion.
“A large portion of this assistance has either been disbursed or is committed to ongoing projects. We are also committed to beginning a number of new projects over the course of the coming year. All these projects have been initiated on the specific request of the Government of Afghanistan, and hence are in line with the Afghan development priorities.”
The conference hosted representatives from about 80 nations and international organisations