New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Underlining its 'unwavering commitment' to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, India Tuesday said it will ensure that the country does not become 'a target for extremist forces' and stressed that New Delhi's security was intertwined with that of Kabul's stability.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna held wide-ranging talks with his Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul, who began his three-day visit to India Monday.
The two foreign ministers held the maiden meeting of the India-Afghanistan Partnership Council, which was set up under the landmark strategic partnership agreement concluded in October last year between New Delhi and Kabul during the visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai here.
'This event is also a reflection that India is unwavering in its commitment to assisting the people of Afghanistan in their endeavour to build a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous nation,' Krishna said at a joint press conference after the talks.
'Let me assure you that while it is a time of change and transformation in the region, India's commitment to Afghanistan is neither 'transitory' nor in 'transition,'' he said.
'We will continue to partner the Afghan government to ensure that Afghanistan is a source of regional stability and does not become a target for extremist forces,' he stressed.
Issues relating to security of nearly 4,000 Indians living in that country and the security of Indian missions and facilities figured in the discussions.
Alluding to the April 15 multiple terror attacks in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan, Krishna commended the Afghan National Security Force for handling the attacks with 'confidence' and hoped that they would be able to take care of the country's security after international troops leave in 2014.
'Afghanistan's defence of its own territory is of extreme importance to us. Our security is entwined with the stability and security of Afghanistan,' Krishna replied when asked about the fear of the Taliban takeover after the exit of the western troops in 2014.
He also pitched for 'an Afghan-led inclusive and transparent reconciliation process' that sticks to red lines laid down at the earlier conference in Bonn and Kabul that envisages negotiations with only elements who accept the Afghan constitution and abjure violence.
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