Washington: India and the United States have agreed to hold a trilateral dialogue with Kabul to support their joint efforts to prepare Afghanistan for the post-2014 scenario when US forces are set to leave.
The decision seen as a recognition of India’s constructive role in Afghanistan was set out in a joint statement issued Wednesday after the third edition of India-US strategic dialogue here co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Stressing “the importance of sustained international commitment to Afghanistan as it assumes full responsibility for governance, development and security,” the statement said they intend to seek “new opportunities” for consultation to “promote a stable, democratic, united, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan. “To support their efforts in Afghanistan, they agreed to hold a trilateral dialogue with the Government of Afghanistan,” the statement said.
Clinton and Krishna acknowledged that success in Afghanistan requires, in addition to building up Afghanistan’s capacity to defend itself, an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process. “They reiterated that success in Afghanistan and regional and global security require elimination of safe havens and infrastructure for terrorism and violent extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” the statement said.
Later at a press conference, Krishna said India, which has been training Afghanistan’s security forces, was willing to cooperate with other countries to help it prepare to defend itself from terrorist forces which are constantly attacking it.
However, he reiterated that it should be an Afghan-led process.
Clinton, the statement said, “welcomed India’s hosting of the Delhi Summit on Investment in Afghanistan on June 28 in New Delhi and both leaders looked forward to the July 8 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan. They intend to explore opportunities to work together to promote Afghanistan’s development, including in areas such as agriculture, mining, energy, capacity building and infrastructure.”
Krishna and Clinton also discussed the vision for enhanced regional connectivity through South and Central Asia and reiterated the importance of taking concrete steps to promote expanded private investment and trade in Afghanistan.