Ghani, Modi Sign Accords, India Pledges $1b In Aid

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his second trip to India and signed several agreements. Modi also pledged $1 billion USD in aid.

According to the Indian ministry of external affairs, among the agreements signed were on extradition, a mutual legal assistance treaty and peaceful uses of outer space.

Modi and Ghani expressed concern at the continued use of terrorism and violence in region for achieving political objectives, according to Indian media reports.

They also agreed that this phenomenon presented the single biggest threat to peace, stability and progress in the region and beyond.

Both leaders reaffirmed their resolve to counter terrorism and strengthen security and defense cooperation.

Meanwhile, in a joint statement issued by India and Afghanistan, both leaders expressed their happiness at the close and regular consultations between India and Afghanistan at all levels, which have served to guide their strategic partnership and strengthen all-round cooperation, the ministry of external affairs stated.

Modi reiterated India’s abiding support for a unified, sovereign, democratic, peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

He conveyed India’s readiness to consider further requirements of Afghanistan for capacity and capability building in spheres such as education, health, agriculture, skills development, empowerment of women, energy, infrastructure and strengthening of democratic institutions, India’s external affairs ministry said.

“To this end, the prime minister offered that, as a close neighbor and friend of Afghanistan and its people, India would allocate a sum of $1 billion USD to the war-torn country,” read the statement.

“The prime minister also proposed to supply world class and easily affordable medicines from India and cooperation in solar energy through mutually agreed instruments,” the statement read.

The two leaders discussed the regional situation and expressed grave concern at continued use of terrorism and violence in the region for achieving political objectives.

They agreed that this phenomenon presented the single biggest threat to peace, stability and progress in the region and beyond.

“Stressing that elimination of all forms of terrorism, without any discrimination, is essential, they called upon the concerned to put an end to all sponsorship, support, safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists, including for those who target Afghanistan and India.

Both leaders reaffirmed their resolve to counter terrorism and strengthen security and defense cooperation as envisaged in the India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement,” read the statement.

The leaders also reportedly expressed satisfaction over signing of the Extradition Treaty, the Agreement on Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matters and the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Outer Space during Ghani’s visit.

It was also stressed that expeditious implementation of the trilateral agreement involving Afghanistan, India and Iran, signed in May this year, using Chahbahar will augment connectivity within and of the region.

“In this context, the leaders appreciated the recent decision taken by the three countries to convene a joint forum involving important stake holders, including from business and industry.”

Both leaders meanwhile welcomed intensification in the interaction involving India and Afghanistan with regional and other countries and international organizations to foster peace, stability and development in Afghanistan.

“They appreciated, in particular, the outcome of the India-Iran-Afghanistan trilateral consultations and looked forward to the resumption of India-US-Afghanistan consultations in New York later this month. The prime minister conveyed to the president that India would continue to engage with the international community to assist the government of Afghanistan in all possible ways,” read the statement.

“In this context, the leaders underscored the significance of the Amritsar Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA) on the forthcoming 4 December, as well as the Brussels Conference on 5 October. They noted that the choice of Amritsar underscored the value of restoring connectivity and was in consonance with this year’s theme for HoA: ‘Addressing Challenges, Achieving Prosperity’.

In conclusion, the statement said: “It also underscores that India and Afghanistan remain committed to the expeditious realization of seamless two-way connectivity between South Asia and Central Asia.”

Later in the day, Ghani, who is on an official two-day visit, along with Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh, will address an interactive business meeting.

Ghani will also deliver a speech at the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses before paying a courtesy call on President Pranab Mukherjee in the evening.

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