India has reiterated the need for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled national peace and reconciliation in the strife-torn country, the External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday.
New Delhi’s views were made known when an Indian delegation led by Ruchi Ghanashyam, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, participated in a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)-Afghanistan Contact Group in Moscow on Wednesday
“India shared its perspectives on the situation in Afghanistan, including security challenges posed by terrorism imposed from beyond its borders, the need to strengthen Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, need for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled national peace and reconciliation in an environment free of terror and violence, continued assistance for socio-economic development based on priorities of the people of Afghanistan, and ensuring greater connectivity and regional integration for Afghanistan,” the ministry said in a statement.
“India conveyed its readiness to work closely with the SCO member states in efforts to bring peace, prosperity and stability in Afghanistan,” it stated.
India has been a major partner for Afghanistan in terms of development aid but Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has gone on record saying that there will be no Indian boots on the ground in the war-ravaged country.
At his weekly media briefing here, Ravish Kumar, spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry, said that India would continue to offer economic assistance to Afghanistan.
“We have identified more than 100 projects. We have also identified six big projects,” Kumar said.
“We will also now start training their police force after the Afghan National Army.”
Wednesday’s meeting of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group was held after a gap of seven years after member states of the Eurasian bloc decided to resume the meetings at its summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, in June this year.
The next meeting of the Contact Group will be held in Beijing in early 2018.