PM suggests four focus areas for Afghanistan by countries in region

New Delhi, Nov 10 (PTI): The need for an inclusive government in Kabul and a zero-tolerance stance on the use of Afghan territory by terrorist groups are among four aspects that Prime Minister Narendra Modi listed on Wednesday for countries in the region to focus on in the backdrop of the developments in the war-torn nation.

He suggested these four aspects when top security officials of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan made a joint call on him after attending an India-hosted regional security dialogue on Afghanistan.

The other two aspects cited by Modi are a strategy to counter trafficking of drugs and arms from Afghanistan and addressing the increasingly critical humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, according to an official statement.

It said Modi appreciated the participation of the senior dignitaries in the Delhi security dialogue despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“He emphasised four aspects that countries in the region would need to focus on, in the context of Afghanistan: the need for an inclusive government, a zero-tolerance stance about Afghan territory being used by terrorist groups, a strategy to counter trafficking of drugs and arms from Afghanistan and addressing the increasingly critical humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

It said the prime minister also expressed the hope that the regional security dialogue would work to revive Central Asia’s traditions of moderation and progressive culture and counter extremist tendencies.

In their comments to Modi, the senior security officials expressed their appreciation of India’s initiative in organising the dialogue and of the quality of the exchanges.

They also conveyed the perspectives of their respective countries on the Afghan situation, it said.

NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla also joined the security officials in their meeting with the prime minister.

In the dialogue, the participating nations vowed to work towards ensuring that Afghanistan does not become a safe haven for global terrorism and called for the formation of an “open and truly inclusive” government in Kabul with representation from all sections of Afghan society.

Official sources said the officials had a very substantive exchange during their call on the prime minister.

They said Modi shared India’s perspective on Afghanistan and the officials conveyed greetings from their leaders and also appreciated New Delhi’s initiative of hosting the dialogue.

In his opening remarks at the dialogue, Doval said the recent developments in that country have important implications not only for Afghan people but also for the region.