India and Afghanistan set the ball rolling for their strategic partnership on Tuesday, the first such pact that Kabul ever entered into with a country.
New Delhi also affirmed its long-term partnership with Afghanistan, stating that it would host a regional investors’ meet on Afghanistan.
Foreign minister SM Krishna and his Afghan counterpart, Zalmai Rassoul, co-chaired the inaugural session of the India-Afghanistan Partnership Council here. The pact — signed in October 2011 — places emphasis on security cooperation.
India reiterated its promise of providing long-term support to Afghanistan, with Krishna stating that the peace and security of both the countries were “intertwined”.
“Let me assure you that while it is a time of change and transformation in the region, India’s commitment to Afghanistan is neither transitory nor in transition,” Krishna said. Both the leaders spoke of an Afghan-led political reconciliation process.
“We will continue to partner with the Afghan government to ensure that Afghanistan is a source of regional stability and does not become a target of extremist forces,” Krishna said.
Issues relating to the security of nearly 4,000 Indians living in Afghanistan, besides the country’s missions and facilities, figured in the discussions.
Alluding to the April 15 multiple terror attacks in Kabul and other parts of the country, Krishna praised the Afghan National Security Force for handling the threats with “confidence”. He expressed hope that it would be able to take care of Afghanistan’s security after international troops leave in 2014.