Highlights: Modi, Ghani open Heart of Asia meet, talk Indo-Afghan ties, terror
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a strong collective to defeat terror networks, speaking on Sunday at the Heart of Asia Conference where Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani earlier delivered a stinging attack on Pakistan for providing sanctuary to terrorists.
Speaking on the opening session of the Heart of Asia ministerial meeting in Amritsar, Modi said: “Silence and inaction against terrorism in Afghanistan and our region will only embolden terrorists and their masters.”
“We must demonstrate strong collective will to defeat terror network that cause bloodshed and spread fear,” he added.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani praised India for its “no strings attached” help and stressed on the importance of the India-Iran Chahbahar port development project for Kabul’s regional connectivity plans.
He also said that Pakistan’s proposed $500 million in funds for reconstruction of Pakistan was “better served fighting terrorism”.
Altogether 40 countries and groupings are e participating at the meet aimed at helping war-ravaged Afghanistan in its political and economic transition. Finance minister Arun Jaitley is co-chairing the meeting in the absence of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
Here are live updates from the conference:
• As India implements its additional commitments, we are open to work with other like-minded partners for the development of Afghanistan. I hope that your deliberations will produce pathways of action that promote cooperation in place of conflict and security in place of terrorism: PM Modi
• We should all work to build stronger positive connectivity between Afghanistan and other countries of the region. On India’s part, our commitment to our brave Afghan brothers and sisters is absolute and unwavering: PM Modi
• PM highlights the issue of connectivity: “We see Afghanistan as the hub for strengthening links of connectivity between South and Central Asia. We also plan to connect Afghanistan with India through an air transport corridor,” PM Modi says.
• PM Modi identifies four key issues in supporting Afghanistan: “Firstly, an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process. Second, we must demonstrate strong collective will to defeat terror networks that cause bloodshed and spread fear. Third, our bilateral and regional commitments of material assistance for Afghanistan’s development needs must continue and increase.”
• We must demonstrate strong collective will to defeat terror network that cause bloodshed and spread fear. Silence and inaction against terrorism in Afghanistan and our region will only embolden terrorists and their masters: PM Modi
• We must protect and build on the gains of last 15 years and march ahead. This is not only about the future of Afghanistan, but the peace and the stability of the entire region: PM Modi
• Since the turn of this century, the international community has extensively engaged in Afghanistan. Our gathering today reaffirms commitment of the international community to durable peace and lasting political stability in Afghanistan: PM
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes the dais to address the meeting. “This place (Amritsar) embodies peace and is open to all religions. It speaks stories of great valour. Amritsar speaks of generosity and philanthropy of its residents. Amritsar enforces the value of restoring connectivity which is so crucial for the overall growth and economic prosperity of Afghanistan,” PM Modi says.
• About 30 terrorist groups, as named by the UN, are trying to establish a base in Afghanistan. If terrorists didn’t have sanctuary in Pakistan, they would not last a month, says President Ghani
• We propose for an international and Asian regime, whatever is acceptable to our neighbour -- Pakistan. We don’t want blame game. Pakistan has pledged $500 million for Afghanistan’s development, this amount Mr Aziz (Sartaj), can be spent to contain extremism: President Ghani
• Afghanistan suffered the highest number of civilian casualties in the past one year during military action. This is unacceptable: Ashraf Ghani
• India’s support to Afghanistan aimed at improving people’s life and is transparent with no strings attached. Heart of Asia is meeting at time of great opportunity in significant threats for Afghanistan for Asia-wide and global implications: Ashraf Ghani
• Speaking at the conference, Afghan President says, “The project of Chabahar Port between India, Afghanistan and Iran is very important to us for connectivity.”
• At the ministerial conference, finance minister Arun Jaitley, who is leading the Indian delegation in place of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, welcomed the delegates.
• Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz spoke to India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in an informal meeting before the conference began, sources told Hindustan Times. Islamabad is being represented by Aziz.