Jaswinder Singh Baidwan
Akhran da mureed
India and Afghanistan today jointly expressed their “grave concern at the continued use of terrorism and violence in the region for achieving political objectives”.
As India has been doing in the recent past in many of the joint statements, the mention of Pakistan was avoided but it was pretty evident that both countries were talking of the neighbouring state.
In a strongly worded message, both countries called upon all concerned to put an end to all “sponsorship, support, safe havens and sanctuaries” to terrorists aimed at India and Afghanistan. The joint messages of solidarity were stated at the end of delegation-level talks between visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and PM Narendra Modi today. Both leaders said they looked forward to the resumption of India-US-Afghanistan consultations in New York later this month.
The growing co-operation, especially in the area of increased military assistance to Afghanistan from India, is likely to be a sore issue for Pakistan. While officially India stayed silent on the military assistance, it is widely understood that India will accede to the wish list presented by Ghani for more choppers and spare parts.
Later in the day, while delivering a lecture at a prominent think tank, Ghani, in an apparent reference to Pakistan, said that “in the absence of rules of the game”, and due to the willingness of some states to sponsor non-state actors, the phenomena (of terrorism) has evolved over the years with deepened and broadened techniques.
India also announced $1 billion for Afghanistan’s capacity and capability building in spheres such as education, health, agriculture, skill development, and empowerment of women, energy, and infrastructure and strengthening of democratic institutions.