VP to represent India at Afghan Prez’s swearing-in

RSTV Bureau

File Photo

Vice President Hamid Ansari will represent India at the swearing-in ceremony of new Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani next week which will mark the first democratic transition of power after fall of the Taliban in 2001 in the trouble-torn country.

Ghani was declared Afghanistan’s next president on Sunday after he signed a power-sharing deal with his rival Abdullah Abdullah paving way for ending the standoff over the disputed election result.

“Vice President Hamid Ansari will represent India at the swearing-in ceremony of the new President of Afghanistan,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

India has vital interests in Afghanistan and invested around USD two billion in aid and reconstruction works besides training scores of Afghan security personnel who will take control of security after withdrawal of NATO forces from the country by end of the year.

As per the power-sharing deal, Abdullah will become the “chief executive officer” (CEO) of the national government. Ghani will be sworn-in as the new President on September 29.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had visited Afghanistan on September 10 and assured all possible help to the country.

Swaraj, during her talks with outgoing President Hamid Karzai, had conveyed that India was Afghanistan’s first strategic partner and will help Afghanistan meet challenges of stability and security as the countdown begins for the drawdown of NATO forces.

Afghanistan has been pressing India for supplying military hardware to strengthen its security set up in view of draw down of NATO forces at the end of this year.