India to assist Afghan in fight against terror


New Delhi: In a major strengthening of Indo-Afghan ties in defiance of Pakistan-sponsored terror, India agreed to “extend further assistance” to the Afghan armed forces to battle terrorism, even as the two countries agreed on an “ambitious and forward looking next generation New Development Partnership” that will see “116 High Impact Community Development Projects to be implemented in 31 provinces of Afghanistan”.
In a veiled reference to Pakistan without naming it, the two countries also “called for an end to all forms of support, state sponsorship, safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists against Afghanistan”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also on Monday said India attaches the highest priority to its ties with Afghanistan and promised strong support to the strife-torn country’s fight against terrorism “imposed” on it, in an apparent reference to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.
India has already been involved in training of the Afghan defence personnel at military academies in India and this is expected to be further strengthened. Speculation has been rife in the past few years of Kabul seeking a large amount of military equipment from India. India had earlier given four military helicopters to Afghanistan.
The two countries on Monday held their second meeting of the “Strategic Partnership Council between India and Afghanistan, set up under the aegis of bilateral Strategic Partnership Agreement 2011” which was co-chaired by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Afghan foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani. The two sides inked four pacts in the fields of transportation, health, satellite communication and the one on 116 development projects. Kabul is already thrilled at the “projects implemented under the US$ 2 billion development and economic assistance extended by India”.
Interestingly, US President Donald Trump had recently declared that India “should do more” in Afghanistan but in any case Kabul has realised that India stands for re-construction of Afghanistan while Pakistan—-through its terror proxy, the Afghan Taliban—-stands for death and destruction there.
Both sides are also working further on a trialateral relationship with Iran, with the two agreeing “to work towards expeditious operationalisation of the Chahbahar Port in Iran under the trilateral agreement.
The Joint Statement issued by the two countries after the meeting, stated, “It was agreed to strengthen security cooperation between the two countries. India agreed to extend further assistance for the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in fighting the scourge of terrorism, organised crime, trafficking of narcotics and money laundering.”