The rebuilding of Afghanistan after NATO forces leave in 2014 must be "Afghan-led" and other countries must only play a supporting role, panelists at a discussion on, "2014- Way Ahead for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan," said.
Among the participants in the discussion - organised by the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) - were Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir, Afghanistan ambassador Shaida M. Abdali, strategic affairs expert C Rajamohan, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman and SAFMA secretary general Imtiaz Alam.
Salman Bashir said the general talk of "doom and gloom" that surrounds discussions on post-2014 is misplaced. The Pakistani envoy said his country would maintain a policy of "non-interference" in the matters of Afghanistan.
All panelists noted that the recent statements and gestures from the newly-elected Nawaz Sharif government in Pakistan as something positive for the integrated development of the region. Pakistani diplomat Sartaj Aziz had travelled to Kabul last week with a message from Sharif, who also invited Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai to visit Islamabad. The Afghan ambassador noted this as a positive development but said his country would wait for more concrete steps from Pakistan.
Sharif has been emphasizing on enhancing economic cooperation in the region, and Nirmala Sitharaman said by 2014 the new Pakistan government would have had enough time to prove its intentions and ability.
"There is going to be change in India too in 2014," she said alluding to the lok sabha elections scheduled for next year.