Modi calls for regional focus and cooperation on Afghanistan issue
New Delhi, September 18, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the recent developments in Afghanistan would have the greatest impact on neighbouring countries like India and it was, therefore, necessary to create a regional focus and cooperation on the issue.
"In this context, we have to pay attention to four issues. The first issue is that the transition of power in Afghanistan is not inclusive, and it has happened without negotiation. This raises questions about the acceptability of the new system," Modi in his remarks via video-conference to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)-Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Outreach Summit on Afghanistan.
"The representation of all sections of Afghan society, including women and minorities, is also important," he said.
Modi said that it was, therefore, necessary that the decision on recognition of such a new system is taken by the global community collectively and after due thought. "India supports the central role of the United Nations on this issue," he said.
The Prime Minister said the second issue was that, if instability and fundamentalism persisted in Afghanistan, it would encourage terrorist and extremist ideologies all over the world.
"Other extremist groups may also be encouraged to come to power through violence. All our countries have been the victims of terrorism in the past.
"And therefore, together, we should ensure that the territory of Afghanistan is not used to spread terrorism in any other country. SCO member countries should develop strict and agreed norms on this subject. In the future, these norms can then become a template for global anti-terror cooperation. These norms should be based on the principle of zero-tolerance towards terrorism," he said.
Modi said there should be a Code of Conduct to prevent activities like Cross-Border terrorism and terror financing and also a system for their enforcement.
He said that the third issue related to developments in Afghanistan is the uncontrolled flow of drugs, illegal weapons and human trafficking.
"A large number of advanced weapons remain in Afghanistan. Due to these there will be a risk of instability in the entire region. The RATS mechanism of SCO can play a constructive role in monitoring these flows and enhancing information-sharing. From this month, India is chairing the Council of SCO-RATS. We have developed proposals for practical cooperation on this subject," he said.
Modi said the fourth issue was the serious humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
"The economic deprivation of the Afghan people is increasing due to the interruption of financial and trade flows. At the same time, the challenge of COVID is also a cause of distress for them.
"India has been a trusted partner of Afghanistan for many years in development and humanitarian assistance. In every sector from infrastructure to education, health and capacity building, we have made our contribution in every part of Afghanistan. Even today, we are eager to deliver food items, medicines etc. to our Afghan friends.
"We must work together to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Afghanistan in an unhindered manner," he said.
Modi told the summit that the Afghan and Indian people have shared a share a special relationship for centuries.
"India will extend full cooperation in every regional or global initiative to help the Afghan society," he added.