India today supported Afghanistan’s reconciliation process with the Taliban,but warned that it must not undermine the legitimacy of the Afghan government and should be within the internationally accepted “red lines”. “We support the efforts made by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to establish a peaceful dialogue with all armed opposition groups,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in his Intervention at 20th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting here today.
“But this must be a broad based Afghan-led Afghan-owned reconciliation process,within the framework of the Afghan Constitution and internationally accepted red lines. This dialogue must involve all sections of the Afghan society and armed opposition groups,including the Taliban,” he said. Afghan Taliban last month opened a political office in Qatari capital Doha and expressed willingness to hold peace talks with Afghan government and other stakeholders.
The possibility of talks faded after Taliban opened office under the name “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” and the flag it used while ruling Afghanistan before the 2001 US-led invasion. Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted sharply,saying that agreements had been violated and that the office was more akin to a rival embassy than a bureau for peace negotiations. “The reconciliation process must not undermine the legitimacy of the Afghan State and Government and the political,social and economic progress witnessed in Afghanistan over the past decade,to which members of the international community have contributed in great measure,” he said,emphasising that “India’s Afghanistan policy does not have an exit policy.”
India has played an important role in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan,Khurshid said. He also expressed concern over the universal scourge of terrorism unleashed by terror groups with global reach. “The global regime against terrorism needs to be hinged on a holistic framework for which the Comprehensive Conventional on International Terrorism at the UN requires early conclusion,” he said.
“We must practically enhance our cooperation by pooling our information and resources,not only to prevent terrorist attacks but also to apprehend and bring terrorists to justice and so demonstrate our commitment to combat terror,” Khurshid said. He said terrorism poses the main threat to peace and stability in Afghanistan and there was a need for joint and concerted efforts to dismantle terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens beyond Afghan borders and disrupt all financial and tactical support for terrorism,in an apparent reference to Pakistan-based militant training camps.
“We must assist Afghanistan in its efforts to become a stable,democratic and pluralistic state. The international community must stay committed to Afghanistan in the form of development and security assistance during this period of transition and transformation,” he said. He also raised the issue of clandestine proliferation of WMD technologies,which poses a grave threat to international security. “With a view to address the risk of nuclear weapons,materials and technology falling into the hands of terrorists,India has been piloting a UN resolution in this regard for the past several years,” he said,adding that India supports the objective of de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula. “We are heartened by the signs of deepening economic interdependence and cooperation within the Asia Pacific region. With globalisation,inter-twining of economies has become a reality,” the minister said. Such interdependence contributes significantly towards our shared goals of peace,security and prosperity,he added.