In a stern message to Pakistan, India and Afghanistan today called for an end to all support, sponsorship and safe havens to terrorists and decided to strengthen security and defence cooperation.
During their talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani also expressed grave concern at continued use of terrorism for achieving political objectives in the region as the two leaders had extensive discussions on the regional and bilateral issues.
Reiterating India’s abiding support for a unified, sovereign, democratic, peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan, Modi conveyed the country’s readiness to consider further requirements 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 USD 1 billion,” a joint statement said.
After the talks, the two sides inked three agreements – Extradition Treaty, cooperation in civil and commercial matters and the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
Briefing the reporters, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said, “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, the leaders 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. However, they did not name Pakistan.
Asked if India conceded to long-pending demand of Afghanistan for stepped up defence supply, Jaishankar said, “Both leaders reaffirmed their resolve to counter terrorism and strengthen security and defence cooperation as envisaged in the India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement”.
However, the Foreign Secretary did not give any further details and only noted that this was discussed during the recent visit of the Afghanistan’s Chief of Army Staff to India.
The Prime Minister also proposed to supply world class and easily affordable medicines from India and cooperation in solar energy through mutually agreed instruments.
Jaishankar also talked about India’s offer of supplying 1.75 lakh tonne of wheat to Afghanistan, which was suffering shortage.
India wanted to supply the wheat and it made a request “months back” to Pakistan for the transit, he said, adding “we have not received any response”.