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India’s Afghan push, terror havens in Pak to be discussed during Modi-Ghani meet

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday morning for a day-long visit.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2017 11:48 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Afghan President,Ashraf Ghani,Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the sixth Heart of Asia Conference in Amritsar. (PTI file photo)

India’s development works in Afghanistan, US’s policy for the region and terror safe havens in Pakistan will all come up for discussion when Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday afternoon.

New Delhi has stepped up engagements with Afghanistan in recent times through a series of high-level visits. India has pumped billions of dollars to rebuild the war-torn country, an effort recognised by the US and also seen as a move to counter Pakistan’s influence in the troubled region.

“Terrorism and terrorists safe havens remain the biggest threat to the stability of Afghanistan as well as the region,” an Indian official told Hindustan Times.

A concerted effort was needed by all the countries for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, the official said.

Modi will host the Afghan leader, who arrived in New in the morning for a day-long visit, for lunch, external affairs ministry said in a statement. The 68-year-old Ghani will also meet President Ram Nath Kovind and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

The focus on the region will continue as US secretary of state Rex Tillerson will be in Delhi later in the day.

The two visits come weeks after the US announced a new Afghanistan policy in August that sees a greater role for India in Afghanistan and blames Pakistan for providing sanctuary to terrorist outfits destabilising the region.

But the Trump administration warmed up to Islamabad after Pakistani troops rescued an American-Canadian couple acting on US intelligence earlier this month.

The ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to be fragile, with Kabul blaming Islamabad for a series of terror strikes and backing outfits opposing the peace process.

Ghani’s visit is in response to an invite by Modi as part of a series of efforts India is undertaking to ensure the peace-process in Afghanistan remains an internal process of that country.

Afghan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani were in India in September for the meeting of the bilateral strategic partnership council.

India has refused to send troops to Afghanistan but has reiterated its commitment to train security personnel and chip in with the development effort.

Ghani’s visit would allow both sides to review the entire gamut of multifaceted bilateral strategic partnership and hold consultations on promoting peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan and efforts to combat the menace of terrorism, an external affairs ministry statement had said before the visit.

First Published: Oct 24, 2017 11:47 IST