Noting that recent attacks on Indians in Afghanistan is an effort to force New Delhi to get out of the country, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Tuesday ruled out scaling down India’s operations in Afghanistan.
“We are not scaling down our operations in Afghanistan, we are taking all necessary security measures to safeguard Indian lives there,” she said in response to a question at the Widrow Wilson Centre.
Terming it a “barbaric attack against Indians engaged in humanitarian and development work in Afghanistan” she said, February 26 attack was by those who do not wish any other future for Afghanistan except one that suits their sinister ambitions.
“International community should understand that such attempts, if unchecked, would only embolden the same forces that held sway in Afghanistan in the 1990s and caused the tragedy of 9/11,” she said.
Arguing that there could not be a distinction between a good Taliban and a bad Taliban, she said that would be disastrous for Afghanistan.
She said there was “no quick solution” to the Af-Pak situation and “it was important for international community, in its own interest, to stay the present course for as long as it was necessary.”
India has, at the request of Afghanistan, worked on infrastructure creation and capacity building in key developmental sectors with a total investment of USD 1.3 billion across several provinces and in very difficult terrain,” Ms. Rao said.
“Our assistance is provided in a transparent and fully accountable manner, and has underscored our commitment to Afghan democracy and inclusive development.
“At the London Conference, we have announced new initiatives in agriculture sector and in institutional capacity building. In all these areas we have responded to the felt needs of Afghan people,” Rao said.
“We believe it is imperative for the international community, in its new initiatives on security, reintegration, and reconciliation in Afghanistan, to approach these issues carefully -- and with caution.
“We believe that any reintegration process should include only those who abjure violence, give up armed struggle and terrorism and are willing to abide by the values of democracy, pluralism and human rights,” Ms. Rao said.
“There is every risk, otherwise, that the Taliban could resurrect themselves as they have done in the past even when we think they have been defeated or we are rid of their hardcore elements,” the Foreign Secretary said.