United Nations, Dec 20 (IANS) India has noted that the drawdown of the US-led forces in Afghanistan could create "a security vacuum" even as the country "continues to face an existential threat from terrorism" with the terror infrastructure drawing upon "support from beyond its borders".
Hardeep Puri, India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, addressing a Security Council debate on 'Situation in Afghanistan', also said the security transition in Afghanistan with the drawdown of the US-led forces in 2014 "must ensure lasting peace and security for all sections of Afghan society".
Puri said the international community and Afghanistan "have achieved important milestones this year on the long road towards peace, progress and security in the country", said a statement Thursday.
He said the Delhi Investment Summit held in New Delhi in June was an "important endeavour in focussing regional and international attention towards investments in Afghanistan and their potential in providing economic development and stability to Afghanistan during the transition period".
However, he noted that "amidst these salient developments, Afghanistan continues to face an existential threat from terrorism. The infrastructure of terror is still intact in the region drawing upon ideological, financial and logistical support from beyond its borders".
"The syndicate of terrorism which includes elements of the al-Qaida, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other terrorist and extremist groups, is active in the region and is far from being isolated. While the security situation continues to remain fragile, ISAF draw down has proceeded apace."
The drawdown has "accentuated the uncertainties with the risk of creating a security vacuum coupled with an economic downturn in Afghanistan, which could undermine the hard fought gains we have achieved together during the last decade. The security transition must ensure lasting peace and security for all sections of Afghan society."
Puri also noted that regional cooperation and connectivity "are critical for Afghanistan's political and economic progress. We are fully cognizant that the economic viability of Afghanistan depends on its fuller integration into the neighbourhood, so that it can regain its historical role of a land-bridge between South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Eurasia. Conscious of this imperative need, India has taken the lead in two commercial Confidence Building Measures under the Istanbul process."
Puri said, "India remains unwavering in its commitment to assisting the people of Afghanistan in their endeavour to build a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous nation."
"India has pledged up to $2 billion in development and humanitarian assistance. We have managed to carry out some of the most economical and cost-effective projects in Afghanistan."
He said India supported the good work done by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
"As we enter in the New Year, we must create an enabling environment where the Afghan people could live in peace and security and decide their future themselves, without outside interference, coercion and intimidation," Puri said.