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Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

India, Afghanistan committed to fighting cross-border terrorism

India, Afghanistan committed to fighting cross-border terrorism

Afghanistan strongly and openly supports India's bid for permanent membership of UN Security Council: Afghan FM Salahuddin Rabbani.The two sides inked four pacts after the meeting, including a motor vehicles agreement and a fresh document on India's development assistance.

The one-day visit by Afghanistan's Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Salahuddin Rabbani to Delhi for the second round of the "India Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Council" is significant, as it comes soon after US President Donald Trump's statement urging India to "help to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development".

Swaraj, who hosted Rabbani in New Delhi, told reporters that India and Afghanistan jointly agreed to embark on a "new development partnership" in keeping with Afghanistan's priorities.

"We discussed measures for enhancing trade and investment cooperation".

India agreed to extend further assistance for the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in fighting terrorism.

"We hope also that India, as a good friend of other countries in the region like Russian Federation and Iran, can convince those countries to work with the Afghan government to support the peace process in Afghanistan".

Swaraj said that from 2018, a new 500 scholarships programme for next of kin of the martyrs of Afghan National Defence and Security Forces will begin.

"The Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister emphasised that the two nations enjoyed a time-tested and friendly relationship and reiterated India's abiding support for a united, sovereign, democratic, peaceful, stable, prosperous and pluralistic Afghanistan", said the statement.

Smooth connectivity to Afghanistan remains biggest hurdle for India. Rabbani briefed PM on situation in his country.

The Afghan leader noted that India and Afghanistan were victims of terrorism and violent extremism.

Swaraj said, development of Chahbahar Port in trilateral cooperation with Iran is being expedited and India will supply wheat to Afghanistan in coming weeks through Chahbahar port.

Although India provides economic aid to Kabul, it has been more measured in giving military assistance, wary that Pakistan has resisted a greater role for India in Afghanistan. The projects will be part of a next generation "New Development Partnership".

India already has donated three multirole Mi-35 helicopters to Afghanistan, and trains Afghan security forces and police personnel.

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