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Afghans are victims of terrorism resurgence: India

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Prosperity is impossible without peace in the region and the greatest contemporary threat to peace is terrorism, a top Indian diplomat said on Tuesday.

Addressing the Tashkent Conference, MJ Akbar said: “Our Afghan brothers and sisters are being denied both rights and opportunity by fear and violence. They are victims of ideological extremism and brutal terrorism.”

The unrelenting bout of terrorism was sponsored from outside Afghanistan’s borders by elements trapped in regressive doctrine and cynical interests,” Akbar remarked.

He said the Indians were profoundly troubled by the continuing suffering of the Afghans, a tragedy that had crossed generations and must come to an immediate end.

There could be neither solution nor resolution without principled commitment to law and democracy as the basis of order and to human rights, the deputy minister believed.

At the centre of human rights, he explained, was gender emancipation: the right of women to equality, education, social assertion and full participation in the economic and political life of Afghanistan.

He applauded the courage of the long-suffering Afghan leaders and people who nurtured change and advanced in the most difficult circumstances.

Akbar noted significant improvement in several socio-economic indices of Afghanistan. Agirl child born in 2001, now 17, has received education and dreams of a better future.

There has been an eight-fold increase in student enrollment from fewer than 1 million students in 2001 to more than 8 million students enrolled in schools in 2016. More than a third are girls.

“It is our responsibility, each one of us, to protect this young girl for she is the symbol of change we want to see. We cannot abandon these gains in search of a political settlement…”

Peace and reconciliation were difficult objectives in an atmosphere of terror and violence, he said, supporting strong action to pursue those who still chose the path of terrorism.

“India stands committed to any process which can help Afghanistan emerge as a united, peaceful, secure, stable, inclusive and economically vibrant nation, with guaranteed gender and human rights.

“We must all conform to internationally recognized red-lines. I also wish to reiterate India’s willingness and keenness to engage Afghanistan bilaterally and multilaterally, in cooperation with likeminded countries and international organisations,” he added.

India has worked with principle and commitment to serve the Afghan people through capacity building, gender emancipation, human resource development, infrastructure development, connectivity, trade and investment.

India’s developmental assistance to Afghanistan stands at $ 3 billion. Last year, the two nations embarked upon the ‘New Development Partnership’, which will support 116 ‘High-Impact Community Development Projects’ in Afghanistan.

A well-connected Afghanistan could hope to become economically vibrant, prosperous and politically stable, he thought. Indian’s grant aid of 170,000 tonnesof wheat supplies to Afghanistan is currently transiting through Chabahar.

The India-Afghanistan Air Freight Corridor, established in June 2017, is another important achievement. There are now cargo flights between Kabul, Kandahar, New Delhi and Mumbai.

India will host the first cricket Test match involving Afghanistan in Bengaluru in June this year. A few days back, Afghanistan qualified for the next Cricket World Cup.

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