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Afghanistan for strategic ties with India

Afghanistan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta said his country would like a strategic partnership with India.

india Updated: Aug 17, 2006 17:47 IST

Emphasising that Kabul's relationship with New Delhi was not based on choice but a historical fact, Afghanistan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta said his country would like a strategic partnership with India.

Dr Spanta spoke of the commonalities between the two countries, the values the country shares with India and drew attention to his concerns about the terrorism threats facing his country.

Spanta, who took over as the Foreign Minister in April this year replaced the long standing Foreign Minister Dr Abdullah Abdullah.

Dr Spanta is close to President Hamid Karzai, having earlier served as his senior adviser on international affairs.

His emphasis on close ties with India underlines Afghanistan's close relationship with India, which cuts across political, regional and ethnic differences.

"The relationship with India has a very substantial relevance for Afghanistan's foreign policy.

I would like a strategic partnership with India. India is a stable democracy and Afghanistan is a young democracy. We have common values and goals," Dr Spanta said.

Speaking of the progress his country has made since 2001, he said considerable development had been made in the areas of democratisation, education and the establishment of a free and independent media.

Despite the major achievements, however, Afghanistan continued to face some major challenges from terrorism, narcotics, corruption and a weak state.

"After three decades of destruction Afghanistan continues to face partial destruction today because of interference behind our borders, terrorist activities, which sabotage our process of reconstruction and economic and social development," he said.

Spanta refused to name any specific country but made his allusion very clear by stating that one of the major problems facing Afghanistan was "the expansionist foreign policy of some countries who try to use terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy. We Afghans are not part of the problem but part of the solution."

He said, underlining the fact that the country had come a long way since the Taliban was ousted when Afghanistan was seen as a sanctuary for terrorism and terrorist groups.

Afghanistan's foreign policy was based on non-interference, equal partnership and peaceful coexistence.

The problem in the war against terrorism was that sources of terrorism were not identified and without the elimination of the sources of terrorism it was not possible to succeed against terrorism.

First Published: Aug 17, 2006 15:03 IST