India today said Afghanistan still faced an existential threat from terrorism emanating from beyond its border and asked the international community to provide substantial assistance to the war-torn nation that has experienced externally-imposed conflicts for three decades.
“While we assist Afghanistan in attaining its long-cherished goal of self reliance,we must also acknowledge that despite our successes in Afghanistan,the basic ideological,infrastructural,logistical and financial infrastructure of terror is still intact in the region,” External Affair Minister S M Krishna said.
Addressing the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan,Krishna said,”Afghanistan continues to be a country that faces an existential threat from terrorism emanating from beyond its borders – a threat that it is fighting every day,and that it is ill-equipped to repel in the absence of substantial assistance from the international community.”
The Tokyo conference is being attended by around 70 countries and international organisations.
The main aim of the meet,which follows the series of conferences organised on Afghanistan during the last one year,include ensuring sustainable development of Afghanistan beyond 2012 and reaffirming partnership between the international community and the Afghan Government until 2014 and during the transformation decade (2015-2024).
“Clear and visible support to Afghanistan is crucial in order to preserve the gains made by the international community and Afghan men and women in the past decade,” Krishna said.
He asked the international community to avoid temptation to lay down “conditionalities” on such assistance.
India,Krishna said believes that “good governance is crucial to the building of a strong and legitimate state. But good governance also requires a strong state that has full control over its territory. This is not yet the case in Afghanistan.”
He appreciated the the Mutual Accountability Framework that has been drafted for the Conference as a noble effort.
At the same time,he said India believes that true mutuality can only be achieved at equal levels of capacity.
“The figures that have been put forward as development assistance to Afghanistan represent a base-line or minimum requirement for a least developed land-locked country that has experienced externally-imposed conflicts for three decades,” Krishna said.
“These amounts give a fighting chance for success if they can be optimised and managed in a frugal way without excessive administrative costs,” he added.
The Minister said India does not visualise its partnership with Afghanistan as conditions-based or transitory,nor are we looking to transition out of this partnership.
“In spite of not being a traditional donor country,we have shared significant resources for Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development.”
During his landmark visit to Afghanistan last year Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had pledged an additional USD 500 million to development portfolio there,bringing India’s total cumulative commitment to USD 2 billion.
A large portion of this assistance has either been disbursed or is committed to ongoing projects.
“We have also committed to begin a number of new projects over the course of the coming year,” Krishna said.
The USD 500 million assistance announced by Prime Minister of India in May 2011 will be spent from 2012 through 2015. The projects will be in line with the projects suggested under the National Priority Programmes of the Government of Afghanistan,he said.
As India continues to grow economically,it will continue to share our resources and experience with friends in the region,he said.
“India does not plan to limit its future development engagement in Afghanistan to a particular time frame or only to the presently planned projects. Our partnership is for the long-term.”
“The pace and nature of the utilisation of the present and future Indian assistance will be determined by the preference,comfort level and absorptive capacity of the Afghan government,” he added.
“We will need active support of the international community to make a reality of the vision of a prosperous Afghanistan acting as a hub of the region; and with its resources and trading instincts,as a catalyst for wider regional cooperation.
“History shows that the proud Afghan people have always craved independence and self-reliance above everything else.
India is ready to partner the international community and Afghanistan to achieve these goals within a globalized economic environment.”