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सेमिनार: अंग्रेज़ी सीखने का अवसर (23 सितंबर: दोपहर 3 बजे)
India-Afghanistan talks Strategic Ties
Sep 13, 2014

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India is ready to do whatever is possible to work with the Afghan government, a signal to Kabul that New Delhi was ready to strengthen the defence and security partnership. Sushma Swaraj, who was on her first visit to Afghanistan, met Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The meeting took place in the backdrop of the US-led NATO troops withdrawing from the country, and its two presidential candidates—Abdul Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah—locked in a tight race.

The Indian Foreign Minister said, “This is a critical decade of transformation for Afghanistan. India will always be Afghanistan’s first strategic partner. And we will always share the Afghan people’s vision of a strong, independent, united and prosperous Afghanistan for which so many Afghans sacrificed so much. India is prepared to do whatever is possible, within our capacities and our means, to work with the Afghan government and its peoples to realise this great vision.”

During her meeting with Hamid Karzai, she conveyed that India will remain engaged in the country’s reconstruction activities. India has invested $2 billion in aid and reconstruction and trained scores of Afghan officers. 

Among India’s major infrastructure projects in the country include, the highway from Zaranj to Delaram in South-Western Afghanistan which is considered a symbol of India’s commitment to reconstruction efforts in the country. India is also constructing the Afghan Parliament building. India has also taken initiative to develop the Chabahar port in Iran which could act as a major transit point for India to Afghanistan. Chabahar port is strategically crucial as it gives access route to Afghanistan. The port, which is surrounded by a free trade zone, is vital for transit facility from India to Afghanistan.

Political situation was also discussed and Indian Foreign Minister said India would speed up development projects in Afghanistan. Sushma Swaraj also announced India’s contribution of $1 million for plan to develop a National Flag Monument site into a public area. She also inaugurated a new $40 million Indian Embassy building in the heart of Kabul, featuring an integrated security system.

With NATO forces set to withdraw from the country, Afghanistan has been pressing India for military hardware and weapons. The Afghan side conveyed to India its security needs. The issue of Afghanistan refusing to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US was also figured in talks. Hamid Karzai has refused to ink the proposed Afghan-US security pact demanding that the US must put an immediate end to military raids on Afghan homes and demonstrate its commitment to peace talks before he would sign the agreement.

The BSA would provide for stay of nearly 15,000 US forces at nine locations across Afghanistan. Afghan officials said over 350,000 Afghan forces have taken responsibility of security and they were capable of taking care of the country’s security.

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