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Afghanistan assures India on safety of embassy, missions

May 31, 2014 21:29 IST

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh on Saturday met Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the two presidential candidates here during which she was assured that Afghanistan was committed to ensuring full safety for the Indian Embassy in Kabul, four consulates and interests irrespective of the orientation of the new leadership.

Singh, who flew to Herat on Friday and reviewed the situation following the May 23 attack on the Indian consulate, held meetings in the Afghan capital with Karzai, and Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani- the two presidential candidates -- who asserted that friendship with India would remain a "top priority" for any new government in Kabul.

Afghanistan will see a run-off on June 14 between former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani to elect a successor to Karzai in the country's first democratic transfer of power

"In all the interactions today there was uniform condemnation of the attack on the Indian Consulate in Heart and they assured her that Afghanistan is committed to ensuring full safety for the Indian Embassy in Kabul and four Consulates in Herat, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharif," official sources said.

They also emphasised to her that whatever the outcome of the forthcoming elections and the orientation of the new leadership, friendship with India would remain a "top

priority" for any new government of Afghanistan as India-Afghanistan relations are deep rooted and civilisational and will continue to be nurtured, the sources said.

During her two-day visit, Singh had yesterday met Governor of Herat Syed Fazullah Wahedi, Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha and other senior officials to take stock of the situation during her brief visit which lasted a few hours.

Singh thanked Wahedi for the support provided to ensure the safety of the Indian Consulate in Herat and complimented the Afghan forces for their valour in thwarting the attackers.

The Foreign Secretary met the brave staff including the ITBP security personnel who repelled the attack in which all the four terrorists were killed.

She also surveyed the premises of the Consulate and it was agreed that the Indian Consulate in Herat will resume provision of visas soon and if necessary it would move to a more secure location at the earliest.

After the attack, security at the Indian Embassy in Kabul and consulates in Jalalabad, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar besides Herat has been beefed up and a high alert sounded to all Indian assets based across Afghanistan.  

India is carrying out various development projects in Herat province including construction of Salma hydroelectric and irrigation dam project at a cost of about $200 million.