UNSC resolution 2593 should shape world’s response to Afghanistan, says India

Foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the resolution specifically refers to terror groups designated by the UN and the need for the safe departure of all those who want to leave Afghanistan.
Updated on Sep 15, 2021 01:50 AM IST
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By Rezaul H Laskar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

India on Tuesday said the world community’s approach to Afghanistan should be in line with UN Security Council resolution 2593, which demands Afghan soil shouldn’t be used in any way for terrorism and seeks an inclusive and negotiated settlement to the crisis in the war-torn country.

Foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the resolution, adopted during India’s presidency of the Security Council last month, specifically refers to terror groups designated by the UN such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and the need for the safe departure of all those who want to leave Afghanistan.

The resolution 2593 was adopted at the last of three UN Security Council meetings held under the Indian presidency to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. Though China and Russia abstained, the resolution gained widespread support from the other 13 members of the UN’s highest decision-making body.

Addressing a virtual symposium of principals and teachers of leading schools of the country on the unfolding situation in Afghanistan, Shringla said: “UNSCR 2593 unequivocally demands that Afghan territory not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing terrorist acts, and specifically refers to terrorist individuals proscribed by the UN Security Council, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.”

Besides, he added, the resolution “sets expectations on safe passage and secure departure of Afghans and all foreign nationals from Afghanistan”, and recognises the “need to uphold human rights, including of women and minorities, and to encourage all parties for an inclusive, negotiated political settlement”.

There is also “re-affirmation for responding to the desire of Afghans to sustain and build on Afghanistan’s gains over the last 20 years”, he said.

Highlighting the need for the world community’s response to be in line with the resolution, Shringla said: “Our collective approach has been articulated by UNSCR 2593. It is only by remaining true to the principles professed therein that we can make a meaningful contribution to Afghanistan at this time.”

India, he said, expects the international community to “remain both responsive and united at a time of crisis”.

Shringla further said India’s long-standing investment in the people of Afghanistan had earned the country “tremendous goodwill and cemented the civilisational bond” between the two sides. “Our friendship with the Afghan people will continue to guide our approach in the future,” he said.

The Indian side has adopted a wait-and-watch policy regarding the situation in Afghanistan and the government has given no indication so far regarding any form of recognition for the interim setup created by the Taliban following the group’s takeover of the country on August 15. The Indian side also remains deeply suspicious of the Taliban’s long-standing links with terror groups such as al-Qaeda, LeT and JeM.

Shringla said India’s destiny is “inextricably linked with its neighbours”, and the neighbourhood remains the country’s “primary diplomatic arena” as reflected by the “Neighbourhood First” policy. India has been “naturally concerned” about developments in Afghanistan and their external repercussions, he added.

Following the Taliban takeover, India’s immediate focus was the evacuation of its nationals. “Most Indian nationals were able to leave Kabul in August. A number of Afghans, including minorities, who were desirous of travelling to India, also managed to do so,” Shringla said.

“But these processes could not be completed due to the security situation at the [Kabul] airport. Resumption of flights from Kabul airport is, therefore, a priority. We are closely monitoring the unfolding situation,” he said.

Shringla also referred to India’s development partnership with Afghanistan, which included more than 500 projects spread across the country’s 34 provinces, capacity-building and training. India has built schools, colleges and universities across Afghanistan and more than 65,000 Afghans have studied in India.

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Friday, October 22, 2021