Afghanistan’s neighbours must ensure its independence: India

Thursday, January 6, 2011

NEW DELHI - In a veiled reference to Pakistan, India Thursday said Afghanistan’s neighbours should guarantee its independence rather than subvert it and called for dismantling of the infrastructure of terrorism in the region.

“Afghanistan’s neighbours should guarantee its independence and sovereignty rather than subvert it. We must make Afghan security sustainable, Jayant Prasad, special secretary (public diplomacy) in the external affairs ministry, said here.

Although he did not name Pakistan, India has often voiced its apprehensions about Islamabad’s meddling in the internal affairs of Kabul.

Speaking at the seminar, Savita Pande, an Afghanistan expert at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), pointed out that Pakistan’s politics of strategic depth has complicated the quest for stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s prime concern in Afghanistan is seeking strategic depth against India, said Pande.

They were speaking at a two-day international seminar entitled Rethinking International Intervention in Afghanistan, at Sapru House organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).

Several scholars and experts from India, Afghanistan and Russia are participating in the seminar, which has been organized by the ICWA in association with the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata.

Calling for dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism in the region, Prasad, a former Indian ambassador to Kabul, underlined that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan could emerge as a trade, transportation and mineral hub

Contending that a regional approach could help in stabilizing Afghanistan, Prasad pointed out that many pitfalls remained on the way. All regional countries have a stake in peace and stability in Afghanistan, said Prasad.

The unraveling of Afghanistan will be a security nightmare, he warned.

Alluding to India’s massive aid for reconstruction of Afghanistan, Prasad said India has focused on building institutions and developing human resources in that country.

Our massive scholarship programme has created a new generation of skilled workers in Afghanistan, he said. India has pledged $1.3 billion for a slew of reconstruction activities in Afghanistan, ranging from building roads and railways to power stations and grassroots projects.

India has launched scores of quick-gestation grassroot development projects that has generated employment for locals and won New Delhi much goodwill and admiration from ordinary Afghans.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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