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India, Afghanistan reaffirm commitment to partnership

Last updated on: September 15, 2011 14:51 IST

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai concluded his first visit to Afghanistan for foreign office consultations after assuming office.

During his visit, Mathai reviewed bilateral relations and called on Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. First Vice-President Marshal Qasem Fahim, Second Vice President Abdul Karim Khalili, Foreign Minister Dr Zalmai Rassoul, Foreign Minister; National Security Advisor Dr Rangeen Dadfar Spanta and Mines Minister Wahidullah Shahrani.

Afghanistan's Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin also met Mathai and emphasised the importance of India''s role at the forthcoming Istanbul and Bonn Conferences on Afghanistan to be held later this year.

Last year, India was not invited to the Istanbul Conference reportedly on Pakistan's insistence.

The Istanbul conference was attended by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and senior diplomats and ministers from the United Kingdom, the United States, Iran, Tajikistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

India is the biggest regional donor in Afghanistan and has been playing a major role in ensuring capacity building of that war-ravaged country.

India has emerged as a major stakeholder in Afghanistan and has been taking part in all major meetings on Afghanistan. Its absence from the Istanbul conference came as a big surprise to New Delhi and to the diplomatic community.

At this year's Istanbul conference, India will articulate its views, as also at the Bonn conference in November.

A Ministry of External Affairs release said:

During his meeting with the Indian Foreign Secretary, President Karzai emphasised that terrorism and extremism posed a threat to not only the two countries but to the entire region and the world at large.

In this context, both sides condemned the terror attack in Kabul city on 13 September. The Foreign Secretary, who was on his first visit to Afghanistan after assuming office, reiterated India's long-term commitment to partnership with Afghanistan.

Source: ANI