Afghan Minister meets PM
The curiously-poised situation in Afghanistan and India's extensive aid programme today came up for a review as visiting Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.delhi Updated: Aug 24, 2010 21:09 IST
The curiously-poised situation in Afghanistan and India's extensive aid programme on Tuesday came up for a review as visiting Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
Rassoul, who arrived here earlier in the day on his first stand-alone visit since becoming the Foreign Minister in January, updated Singh on the Karzai government's efforts to bring about peace in the war-torn country.
Rassoul and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will have detailed delegation-level talks on Wednesday.
As it makes reconciliatory efforts towards Taliban elements, the Afghan government has lately been publicly voicing its anger over Pakistan for not allowing these efforts to succeed.
The latest salvo came in the form of an article written by Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta in which he talks about the frustration among the Afghan people over the fact that sanctuaries of terrorism continue to exist in Pakistan despite which it is pampered by the West.
"While we are losing dozens of men and women to terrorist attacks every day, the terrorists' main mentor continues to receive billions of dollars in aid and assistance. How is this fundamental contradiction justified," asked Spanta.
Rassoul is also believed to have given to Singh his government's assessment about India's assistance programme that covers a wide range of segments benefitting the people of Afghanistan directly.
India, with aid projects worth $ 1.3 billion already going on in Afghanistan, has made it clear that it stands ready to extend any possible assistance to that country depending on its request.
India has been extending "unstinted assistance" as per the "wishes, preferences and priorities" of Afghan government, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said.
He said despite the "heinous attacks" on Indian interests by the "forces inimical" to Indo-Afghan relations, New Delhi remains committed to assisting government and people in their quest for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
India plays a "benign role" which is being widely appreciated.
On Karzai government's reconciliation efforts, India is of the view that it should be "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process" and the "red-lines" should be observed.
Elaborating on the "red-lines", government sources said any Taliban element to be rehabilitated should abjure violence, snap links with al-Qaeda and abide by the Afghan Constitution.