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India for continuing international focus on Afghanistan’s rehabilitation: Krishna

New Delhi, July 1 (ANI): India favours greater and continuing international focus and attention on developmental and security issues concerning Afghanistan and its neighbours, saying this is necessary and would be helpful in the long term.

Revealing this stance during an interaction with the media on Wednesday, External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna said: “We view greater international cooperation in Afghanistan as a key factor in restoring stability there. Afghanistan is going through a sensitive phase in the context of its forthcoming Presidential election. We view the elections as an internal matter of Afghanistan and believe that the role of the international community should be no more than supportive in this regard.”

He said that he had attended the G-8 Outreach Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan at Trieste on June 26-27, and the major topics of focus included narcotics production, border control and security, refugee issue and the development of Afghanistan’s economy and infrastructure.

In conclusion, it was felt that there was a need for improved coordination and cooperation on border issues, trade and transit.

Krishna said that India has a direct interest in the success of the international efforts in stabilizing Asia, and has stood ready to play a constructive role in defeating extremism.

“We have welcomed the recent international efforts with regard to Afghanistan, which are in line with our thinking,” Krishna said, adding that India “is playing a substantial reconstruction and assistance program role in Afghanistan that stretches across different sectors.”

He said that in Trieste he underlined that strengthening Afghan capacity and resources would be a critical factor for its future.

He also revealed that he had had useful bilateral discussions with his counterparts from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Great Britain, Italy, and Canada, besides Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, EC Commissioner for External Relations and UN Secretary General.

He said that his discussions with the Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta included bilateral issues, including on the progress of Indian assistance projects.

He also said that India’s interactions with the EU leadership, have intensified and diversified to cover all areas of bilateral engagement and regional and international issues. (ANI)

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