Afghanistan’s soil shouldn’t be used for anti-India activities: Jaishankar

Afghanistan’s soil shouldn’t be used for anti-India activities: Jaishankar

The government made it clear that any new dispensation that emerges from the intra-Afghan dialogue process must ensure that the soil of Afghanistan is never used for anti-India activities.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar emphasized on the peace process as he joined the inaugural session of the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha, Qatar, via video conference, reiterated India’s support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process and sought an immediate ceasefire in the war-torn country.

The panel comprising representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban would come face-to-face for the first time on Monday for peace talks in Qatar’s capital for a negotiated settlement after nearly two decades of war.

Jaishankar joined the event at the invitation of Qatar’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, he said: “Our friendship with Afghanistan is strong and unshaken, we have always been good neighbours and will always be so. Our expectation is that the soil of Afghanistan should never be used for any anti-India activities.”

Jaishankar further added, “It [the peace process] has to respect national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan. It should promote the values of human rights and democracy that can foster development. The interests of the minorities, women and vulnerable must be ensured.

“And most important, the issue of violence across the country and its neighbourhood has to be effectively addressed. The rising levels of violence cannot be allowed to continue and, like others, we support an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire.”

“Equally impactful have been capacity building projects, scholarships and training of youth,” he said, adding that India has supplied more than a million tonnes of food grains in recent years. To address the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, India provided more than 15 tonnes of life-saving drugs and medical equipment and facilitated the travel of Afghan citizens to India for medical treatment.

He further said, “These are but examples of our deep commitment to the welfare, prosperity and stability of the Afghan nation, and today, these are the very objectives that bring us here to discuss peace and reconciliation. Our approach in that regard has always remained consistent – any peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.”

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