India and China today agreed that they will jointly move forward in identifying a specific project in the area of capacity building in Afghanistan, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said on Saturday, a move that could upset Pakistan. During the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan in April, the two leaders had agreed to undertake a joint India-China economic project in Afghanistan.
PM Modi today had detailed discussions with Xi on bilateral and global issues on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit here. Gokhale said that on Afghanistan there was a brief discussion on the projects.
One of the outcomes of today’s meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi is that India and China have agreed that they will move forward in identifying a specific project initially in the area of capacity building, he said. “But it would be a joint project in Afghanistan so we now have to begin the process of identifying it,” Gokhale said.
This will be a first such project in the war-torn country where China, while trying to expand its influence, has tacitly backed Pakistan, which has been accused by Afghanistan and the US of backing the Taliban and its most violent attacks in the country destabilising any attempts to restore peace.
China for the first time held a trilateral meeting with the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan in December last year in Beijing to narrow down the differences between the two countries.