At the end of the visit of the Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to New Delhi on September 15, India and Afghanistan issued a joint statement in which they expressed concern at the continued use of terrorism and violence in the region for achieving political objectives.
They also agreed that this phenomenon presents the single biggest threat to peace, stability and progress in the region and beyond. Both the leaders also reaffirmed their resolve to counter terrorism and strengthen security and defense cooperation.
Here is the India-Afghanistan joint statement released by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs:
- The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan His Excellency Dr Mohammad Ashraf Ghani was warmly welcomed on his working visit to India on 14 and 15 September, 2016. During the visit, he held discussions with Prime Minister ShriNarendra Modi and will be received later on Wednesday by Rashtrapatiji.
- Meeting President Ghani, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi fondly recalled his visits to Kabul and Herat in December 2015 and June this year, respectively. The Prime Minister mentioned that he cherished both the warm reception he had received during those visits and the fruitful discussions then and in his other meetings with the President in Tehran (May 2016) and Tashkent (June 2016).
- Both leaders expressed their happiness at the close and regular consultations between India and Afghanistan at all levels, which have served to guide their strategic partnership and strengthen all-round cooperation.
- Recalling that India-Afghanistan bilateral development cooperation has assisted Afghanistan’s own efforts for successful political, security and economic transitions, the two leaders noted with happiness the recent completion of major milestones such as Parliament Building and the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam. The President stressed the significance of the Prime Minister’s assurance conveyed during the joint inauguration of Storay Palace on 22 August 2016 via a video link that 1.25 billion people of India firmly stand with their Afghan brothers and sisters.
- The Prime Minister reiterated India’s abiding support for a unified, sovereign, democratic, peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. He conveyed India’s readiness to consider further requirements of Afghanistan for capacity and capability building in spheres such as education, health, agriculture, skill development, empowerment of women, energy, infrastructure and strengthening of democratic institutions. To this end, the Prime Minister offered that, as a close neighbour and friend of Afghanistan and its people, India would allocate a sum of $1 billion. The Prime Minister also proposed to supply world class and easily affordable medicines from India and cooperation in solar energy through mutually agreed instruments.
- The two leaders discussed the regional situation and expressed grave concern at continued use of terrorism and violence in the region for achieving political objectives. They agreed that this phenomenon presented the single biggest threat to peace, stability and progress in the region and beyond. Stressing that elimination of all forms of terrorism, without any discrimination, is essential, they called upon the concerned to put an end to all sponsorship, support, safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists, including for those who target Afghanistan and India. Both leaders reaffirmed their resolve to counter terrorism and strengthen security and defence cooperation as envisaged in the India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement.
- It was agreed that the Strategic Partnership Council headed by the External Affairs Minister of India and the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan will meet shortly, review the recommendations of the four Joint Working Groups dealing with diverse areas of cooperation and impart further guidance.
- The leaders expressed satisfaction over signing of the Extradition Treaty, the Agreement on cooperation in civil and commercial matters and the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Outer Space during the President’s visit. It was also stressed that expeditious implementation of the trilateral agreement involving Afghanistan, India and Iran, signed in May 2016, using Chahbahar will augment connectivity within and of the region. In this context, the leaders appreciated the recent decision taken by the three countries to convene a joint forum involving important stake holders, including from business and industry.
- Both leaders welcomed intensification in the interaction involving India and Afghanistan with regional and other countries and international organisations to foster peace, stability and development in Afghanistan. They appreciated, in particular, the outcome of the India-Iran-Afghanistan trilateral consultations and looked forward to the resumption of India-US-Afghanistan consultations in New York later this month. The Prime Minister conveyed to the President that India would continue to engage with the international community to assist the Government of Afghanistan in all possible ways.
- In this context, the leaders underscored the significance of the Amritsar Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA) on the forthcoming 4 December, as well as the Brussels Conference on 5 October. They noted that the choice of Amritsar underscored the value of restoring connectivity and was in consonance with this year’s theme for HoA: ‘Addressing Challenges, Achieving Prosperity’. It also underscores that India and Afghanistan remain committed to the expeditious realization of seamless two-way connectivity between South Asia and Central Asia.
- The Prime Minister invited the President to grace the inauguration of the Amritsar Ministerial. The President accepted the invitation.
- The President will highlight to senior Indian industry and trade captains the economic opportunities and potential of Afghanistan. He will also deliver an address to a select gathering of strategic experts at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses on ‘Fifth Wave of Political Violence and Global Terrorism.’