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New Delhi, Kabul to tackle differences on terror

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani looks on as he listens to teachers during his visit to the Amani High School in Kabul September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Wakil Kohsar/Pool (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: POLITICS EDUCATION)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani looks on as he listens to teachers during his visit to the Amani High School in Kabul September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Wakil Kohsar/Pool (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: POLITICS EDUCATION)   | Photo Credit: POOL

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani will land in Delhi for his first state visit on Monday evening.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani will land in Delhi for his first state visit on Monday evening, and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday for what both sides describe as a “learning visit”.

The two leaders have met once earlier, on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, but officials said this would be the first time they would have a chance to talk about the tough questions on Afghanistan and India’s future engagement, with specific concerns in New Delhi about Mr. Ghani’s plan of reconciliation with the Taliban as well as his new-found closeness to Pakistan.

Diplomatic sources said India viewed Mr. Ghani’s policy towards talks with the Taliban as a major shift from that of his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, on two counts: Mr. Ghani now sees a bigger role for Pakistan in mediating talks and his government is willing to speak to Taliban leaders without the pre-condition, or “red-line”, that they give up violence.

India and Afghanistan have a difference of perception over the groups responsible for violence, including the latest suicide bombing in Jalalabad that killed 33 people. While Mr. Ghani had said the attack had been carried out by Islamic State militants, Indian officials believe Pakistan-backed groups were responsible.

Military equipment

Mr. Modi and Mr. Ghani will discuss Indian military equipment supplies to Afghanistan. Three Cheetal helicopters, built by Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd., have now been flown to Kabul ahead of the visit.

India and Afghanistan will announce agreements on easing motor vehicle travel, a mutual legal assistance or extradition treaty, as well as a cooperation agreement between chambers of commerce.

Invitation to Modi

Sources said Mr. Modi is expected to accept an invitation to visit Afghanistan later this year, one of the countries in the SAARC neighbourhood he is yet to visit, besides Bangladesh, the Maldives and Pakistan.

Mr. Ghani, who will be staying as a guest of President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, will deliver a lecture on regional cooperation on Tuesday evening and fly out of Delhi on Wednesday.



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 10, 2020 9:22:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/new-delhi-kabul-to-tackle-differences-on-terror/article7144280.ece

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