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Modi, Ghani talk trade, terror

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani withPrime Minister Narendra Modi and PresidentPranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan inNew Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: V. Sudershan

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani withPrime Minister Narendra Modi and PresidentPranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan inNew Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: V. Sudershan  

Neither side signed any agreement but announced that they would clear a motor vehicles agreement soon.

India is keen to be included in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement and it will welcome Afghan trucks on the Wagah-Attari border with Pakistan, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he addressed a joint press gathering along with visiting Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.

Mr. Ghani, who is making his first state visit to India, said he hoped to increase regional cooperation where “the energy of Central Asia will flow to South Asia, where pipelines, fibre optics, railways, and connectivity, air, ground and virtual will connect us.” Neither side signed any agreement but announced that they would clear a motor vehicles agreement soon, as well as expedite the development of the trade route from Afghanistan to India via Iran’s Chabahar port, which would allow both countries to circumvent objections from Pakistan.

Shift in stand

Mr. Modi told Mr. Ghani that India shared Afghanistan’s pain over persisting terrorism and was “deeply grateful” to the Afghan security forces for protecting Indians in Afghanistan “as they would their own.” Mr. Ghani said “we must have a unified approach, we must be united both in the region and globally to contain this terror.”

Mr. Ghani’s words indicate a shift in Afghanistan’s position on countering terror, from charging Pakistan with complicity in attacks by the Taliban, to a more cooperative approach with that country. In another shift from President Hamid Karzai’s stand, he referred to the IS rather than the Taliban and LeT as the next big challenge for the country.

After talks, Mr. Ghani made an unusual reference to Rabindranath Tagore’s story Kabuliwala, saying it had built a “brand image” for Afghanistan in India that no amount of money could have paid for in advertising.



India-Afghanistan ties

Fact files

  • » Relations between the people of Afghanistan and India traces to the Indus Valley Civilisation.
  • » In 1999, India became one of the key supporters of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.
  • » India's support and collaboration extends to rebuilding of air links, power plants and investing in health and education sectors as well as helping to train Afghan civil servants, diplomats and police.
  • » In 2005, India proposed Afghanistan's membership in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Both nations also developed strategic and military cooperation against Islamic militants.
  • » Three memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for strengthening cooperation in the fields of rural development, education and standardisation during Hamid Karzai's visit to India in April 2006.
  • » During the 15th SAARC summit in Colombo, India pledged another $450 million alongside a further $750 million already pledged for ongoing and forthcoming projects.
  • » India condemned the assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani in September 2011. India reiterated the steadfast support of the people and government of India in Afghanistan's "quest for peace and efforts to strengthen the roots of democracy"
  • » India seeks to expand its economic presence in Afghanistan as the international coalition fighting the Taliban withdraws combat forces through 2014.

>India’s Afghan dilemma

A decade of democracy has opened up Afghan society and India’s cooperation programmes have helped develop sustainable links around a shared vision. Dialogues with Afghanistan’s neighbours will become important as these countries start feeling nervous about the return of instability

>India in Afghanistan

India, with a commitment of $1.2 billion through 2013, is already the sixth largest donor to Afghanistan, It has been involved in diverse development projects in infrastructure, education and agriculture..

>Changed variables, same equation

Though no stranger to India, Ashraf Ghani will now be under scrutiny for what he says about how he visualises India-Afghanistan relations. He will be engaging with a new Indian leadership that has displayed no anxiety about the fact that he waited for six months before visiting New Delhi.

>Afghanistan unhappy over delay in supply of arms from India

Afghanistan’s new regime has expressed unhappiness over India’s delay in supply of military hardware as it grapples with intensified Taliban attacks ahead of the U.S.-led NATO troop drawdown from the war-torn country..

(compiled by Internet Desk)


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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 6:10:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/modi-ghani-talk-trade-terror/article7151853.ece

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