India fully supports Afghanistan's efforts for peace and reintegration: Krishna
Calling upon the international community to reflect on its past experiences in negotiating with fundamentalist and extremist organisations, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said in Kabul on Tuesday that the peace process in Afghanistan must be conducted in an inclusive and transparent manner.
The gains of the last nine years stand to be squandered if this aspect did not receive the attention that it deserved, as the international community pondered its next steps on Afghanistan, he told an international conference on Afghanistan, being held in Kabul for the first time.
Mr. Krishna said India fully supported Afghanistan's efforts for peace and reintegration. But for such an effort to succeed, it must be fully Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and carry all sections of Afghanistan's population together as well as abide by the “redlines” agreed upon at the London Conference.
The “redlines” include abjuring violence, cutting off all links with terrorism – whether Jihadi or state-sponsored – and accepting the democratic and pluralistic values of the Afghan Constitution, including women's rights.
The international community must ensure that adequate capacity of the Afghan security forces and other Afghan institutions must be the sine qua non for protecting Afghanistan's sovereignty, plurality and democracy.
Mr. Krishna wanted the international community to ensure that there was no selectivity in dealing with terrorism. “Terrorism cannot be compartmentalised. Today, one cannot distinguish between Al Qaeda and [the] plethora of terrorist organisations, which have imbibed the goals and techniques of Al Qaeda. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that support, sustenance and sanctuaries for terrorist organisations from outside Afghanistan are ended forthwith.”
India was committed to the unity, integrity and independence of Afghanistan underpinned by democracy and cohesive pluralism free from external interference. It was this approach that has guided India's assistance which is being implemented entirely in accordance with the priorities of the Afghan Government and people.
“Our Assistance programmes are spread all over Afghanistan and cover all sectors of development. The ultimate aim is to strengthen the capacity of the Afghan state and people to stand on their own feet in the areas of governance and services for the Afghan people,” he added while describing the conference “as a big step in that direction.”
The Minister took note of recent reports of Afghanistan's great mineral wealth, which opened up possibilities for mining and investment.
“But for Afghanistan to realise its full potential in these areas, Afghanistan's neighbours need to come together to forge greater regional cooperation and facilitate trade and transit. Growing economic inter-dependence will also help in weaning disaffected youth away from insurgency and militancy, and in creating a zone of co-prosperity in the region,” he said.
For restoring peace
Lauding the determination exhibited by the Afghan Government and the solidarity demonstrated by the international community politically, economically and in the sphere of security, Mr. Krishna said India looked forward to continuing to work for restoring peace and stability in the country.