Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, who is in India on a two-day visit, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the capital on Wednesday morning.
Both leaders discussed the issue of terrorism and expressed grave concern at terrorism being used to achieve political objectives in the region. In an oblique message to Pakistan, both India and Afghanistan called for bringing an end to terror-sponsorship and providing sanctuaries to terrorists.
PM Modi and President Ghani expressed their resolve to counter terrorism and strengthen security and defence cooperation as outlined within the India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement.
Following delegation-level talks between the two sides at the Hyderabad House, PM Modi said India would allocate a sum of USD one billion for Afghanistan’s capacity and capability building in spheres such as education, health, agriculture, skill development, empowerment of women, energy, infrastructure and strengthening of democratic institutions.
Both sides also signed three agreements – Extradition Treaty, cooperation in civil and commercial matters and the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
“…They (India and Afghanistan) agreed that this (terrorism) phenomenon presented the single biggest threat to peace, stability and progress in the region and beyond,” said a joint statement which was issued after the meeting. Without naming Pakistan, both nations indirectly accused it of sponsoring terror.
The leaders stressed that the 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.
The Prime Minister also proposed to supply world class and easily affordable medicines from India and cooperation in solar energy through mutually agreed instruments.
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.
Both leaders said they 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.
Ghani is also scheduled to interact with the business community and deliver an address at a prominent think tank in Delhi.
India has provided a little over $2 billion in economic assistance to Afghanistan in the last 15 years, but has been more measured in providing weapons in order to avoid a backlash from Pakistan, which sees Afghanistan as its area of influence.
Last December, after years of dragging its feet, New Delhi announced the supply of four attack helicopters in India’s first transfer of lethal equipment to the government in Kabul since the hardline Islamist Taliban movement was toppled.
(With inputs from PTI)