PM Narendra Modi calls for unified effort on Afghanistan at G 20 summit

In his virtual address to a G20 extraordinary summit on Afghanistan, Modi emphasised the need to ensure that Afghan soil doesn’t become a source of terrorism. He also called for an inclusive administration in Kabul to preserve the socioeconomic gains of the past two decades.
PM Narendra Modi attends the G20 Extraordinary Summit on Afghanistan, via video conferencing in New Delhi (P)
PM Narendra Modi attends the G20 Extraordinary Summit on Afghanistan, via video conferencing in New Delhi (P)
Updated on Oct 13, 2021 01:47 AM IST
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Only a unified response by the world community will ensure the desired change in the situation in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday against the backdrop of a looming humanitarian crisis and the Taliban’s efforts to gain international acceptance.

In his virtual address to a G20 extraordinary summit on Afghanistan, Modi emphasised the need to ensure that Afghan soil doesn’t become a source of terrorism. He also called for an inclusive administration in Kabul to preserve the socioeconomic gains of the past two decades.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi hosted the special summit of the Group of 20 major economies amid growing concerns about the excesses of the Taliban setup in Kabul, and a worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, including shortages of food, medicines and other essential goods.

Since the Taliban took over after the fall of the Ashraf Ghani government on August 15, Afghanistan’s economy has been under severe stress. A team led by acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi has been holding talks with US officials and European Union (EU) envoys in Qatar as part of the Taliban’s stepped up efforts to gain international recognition.

Modi called on the international community to “forge a unified international response without which it would be difficult to bring about the desired change in Afghanistan’s situation”, the external affairs ministry said.

He “underlined the need to ensure that Afghan territory does not become a source of radicalisation and terrorism, regionally or globally”, and called on the world community to enhance the “joint fight against the nexus of radicalisation, terrorism and the smuggling of drugs and arms in the region”.

Modi also called for an “inclusive administration in Afghanistan, which includes women and minorities”, to preserve the socioeconomic gains of the past 20 years and to restrict the spread of radical ideology.

The Prime Minister backed the UN’s important role in Afghanistan and sought renewed support from the G20 group for UN Security Council resolution 2593.

Resolution 2593, adopted when India held the rotating presidency of the Security Council in August, demands that Afghan soil should not be used to threaten or attack any country, or to shelter or train terrorists. It also calls for combating terror in Afghanistan, including UN-designated individuals and entities – a key demand of India, which has strong concerns about the presence of Lashkar-e-Taiba fighters on Afghan territory.

The resolution also calls on all parties in Afghanistan to seek an inclusive and negotiated political settlement, with the full participation of women.

The international community, Modi said, should ensure that Afghanistan has immediate and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance. Noting that the Afghan people have a “great feeling of friendship” for India, he said that “every Indian feels the pain of Afghan people facing hunger and malnutrition”.

Modi also referred to the centuries-old people-to-people ties between India and Afghanistan and said that over the past two decades, India has promoted socio-economic development and capacity-building for Afghan youth and women. He recalled that India had implemented more than 500 development projects in Afghanistan.

The summit was convened by Italy, which holds the rotating presidency of the G20. The meeting discussed a response to the humanitarian needs of Afghanistan, security and the fight against terrorism, and mobility and human rights.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen presented an Afghan support package worth one billion euros during the summit to prevent what she described as “humanitarian and socio-economic collapse”. She said while the EU has been clear about the conditions for any engagement with the setup in Kabul, the Afghan people “should not pay the price of the Taliban’s actions”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping did not join the G20 summit and it wasn’t clear if Russian President Vladimir Putin would participate, reflecting the differing approaches to the situation in Afghanistan. While Western countries want to demand accountability from the Taliban, China and Russia have adopted a position of non-interference.

In recent weeks, India has cautioned the world community not to rush into recognising the Taliban setup, pointing out that the change of power in Afghanistan was not inclusive and was done without negotiations.

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Monday, October 25, 2021