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Modi holds talks with Afghan President on security, cross-border terror issues

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 08, 2018

Ashraf Ghani makes quick visit to India just before Tillerson lands in Delhi

Hours before US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson started his maiden visit to India, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani made a rushed visit here to discuss with New Delhi issues related to cross-border terrorism and greater cooperation with India.

Ghani, who landed here early Tuesday morning, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both leaders discussed what more could be done, especially in the sphere of defence and security, sources told BusinessLine.

During his India-policy speech last week, Tillerson had made it clear that US would be turning to all its partners in South Asia to ensure that peace and stability was maintained in Afghanistan.

“India is an important element of how we achieve the ultimate objective, which is a stable Afghanistan that no longer serves as a platform for terrorist organisations,” Tillerson had said.

Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of Afghanistan, who visited India earlier this month, had told BusinessLine in an interview that Afghanistan would continue to seek greater military cooperation from India.

According to the joint statement issued after the meeting between both leaders, President Ghani lauded India’s efforts in including training of thousands of Afghan defence and security personnel. “The Indian side agreed to extend further assistance depending upon the needs of the Afghan defence and police forces,” the statement said.

The Indian leadership reiterated its support for a negotiated political reconciliation in Afghanistan that is “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled”. It was emphasised that renunciation of violence and terror; and closure of cross-border safe havens and sanctuaries were essential for any meaningful progress and lasting peace, the statement said.

“Both sides agreed that the recent convergence and alignment of views at regional and international arenas have created opportunities for bringing peace, security and stability in Afghanistan. It was agreed to further deepen the bilateral strategic dialogue and consultations at all levels in order to achieve the shared objectives,” the statement said.

Both sides also discussed the possibility for early operationalisation of the Chabahar Port, including the shipments of wheat in coming weeks to Afghanistan through the Port. This step is vital in shaping new trade and transit opportunities for landlocked Afghanistan.

Published on October 24, 2017

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