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India-Afghan elevates ties to strategic level

world Updated: May 12, 2011 22:29 IST

Aiming to strengthen their cooperation in the areas of security and combating terrorism, India and Afghanistan today elevated their bilateral ties to a strategic partnership, which they affirmed was not directed against any other State or group of States.

After the "productive and constructive" discussions between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Hamid Karzai which covered issues like terrorism, recent developments in the region especially last week's killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in Pakistan, both the leaders issued a joint declaration.

"The two sides affirmed that their Strategic Partnership was not directed against any other State or group of States," the declaration said. They also underlined their shared commitment to combating terrorism that threatens both countries as well as the region and the world as a whole.

"The two sides also agreed that an important part of their Strategic Partnership would be cooperation in the area of security, law enforcement and justice, including an enhanced focus on cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, organised crime, and illegal trafficking in narcotics, and money-laundering," the declaration said. Agreeing to impart a long term commitment to their multifaceted bilateral ties and to actively develop them in the years ahead, India and Afghanistan confirmed their adherence to the common ideals of peace, democracy, inclusive development, rule of law, non-violence, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The declaration said that the Strategic Partnership between the two countries is based upon the principles of sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of States, non-interference in their internal affairs, mutual respect and mutual benefit. The two leaders shared their vision of Afghanistan as an independent, democratic, stable and prosperous country Reaffirming their commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, India and Afghanistan decided to establish a Strategic Partnership covering all areas of mutual interest.

Based on mutual understanding and long term trust in each other, this partnership envisages the elevation of their multifaceted ties to a higher level, both in the bilateral field and in the international arena. The two sides decided to hold follow up discussions in the near future towards preparation of a Strategic Partnership document between the two countries which will be implemented under the framework of a Partnership Council.