xternal Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday termed as “absolute fantasy” the talk that India’s actions in Afghanistan are indirectly aimed at Pakistan.
He said such suggestions undermine India’s efforts towards a peaceful and developed Afghanistan.
“It is an absolute fantasy that what India has done in Afghanistan is indirectly aimed at Pakistan, and saying so undermines India’s efforts in Afghanistan,’ Jaishankar said.
He stressed that the projects India has undertaken over the years there demonstrates its real feelings for the neighbouring country.
“In the last 20 years, we have demonstrated through our actions and projects on the ground what our real feelings are for Afghanistan.”
He was participating in a session, “Junction Kabul: The Road to Peace” at the multilateral Raisina Dialogue in the national capital following the announcement of withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and there are efforts to move the peace process forward.
“The future of Afghanistan, ” the EAM said, “should not be a return to its past and the international community should take care not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
Jaishankar also reiterated what he had said at the recent Heart of Asia meet that “Afghanistan needs a double peace – peace within the country and peace around the country,” and that ‘Afghanistan’s neighbours must contribute towards this.’
The minister also emphasised India’s longstanding policy on Afghanistan that stresses that the peace process in the conflict-wracked country must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
“We have always believed that this should be an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process.
This means that the outcome of the process should be in the collective interests of the Afghan people, ” Jaishankar said.
The EAM also discussed the Afghan peace process with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the Afghan National Security Advisor Hamidullah Mohib.
The Afghan NSA spoke to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, earlier in the day
At the Raisina Dialogue, Zarif said there is need for unity in the region to help Afghanistan in the peace process.
‘We need to put aside our differences and focus on our commonalities, including the fact that an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan is an existential threat to Pakistan and a national security threat to Iran and India,” Zarif said.
“Regional countries should help Afghanistan create that picture, a democratic government, balanced ethnic representation, and a strong economy,” he added.
Zarif said the Taliban has to change based on democratic ways. “If they want to go back to their 90s ideology, it will be impossible, as there is a new and different Afghanistan today.’
Meanwhile, Afghanistan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib said, ‘Biden’s withdrawal plan is a great opportunity for the Afghans to take control of the security situation in the country. Afghanistan does not need US combat troops on the group, it needs support for its armed forces.’
Mohib said that the peace process must include all the different groups of the Taliban and that ‘no group or faction should or can be excluded.’
‘Everyone can be represented in the democratic republic of Afghanistan,’ Mohib reiterated. ‘The Taliban cannot believe that they will be able to force themselves on the people.’