Afghanistan faces existential threat from terror: India (Lead)

July 8th, 2012 - 3:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, July 8 (IANS) In a veiled reference to Pakistan, India Sunday said Afghanistan faces an “existential threat” from terror emanating from across its borders and urged the world to provide “substantial assistance” to Kabul.

Underlining India’s long-term commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan in the light of the 2014 withdrawal of foreign troops, Krishna highlighted an investment-driven approach to stabilising the country.

“While we assist Afghanistan in attaining its long-cherished goal of self reliance, we must also acknowledge that despite our successes in Afghanistan, the basic ideological, infrastructural, logistical and financial infrastructure of terror is still intact in the region,” India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said here.

He was speaking at an international conference on Afghanistan here where major donors pledged $16 billion in development aid to Afghanistan over the next four years to prevent instability and chaos that may follow after foreign troops leave that country in 2014.

“Afghanistan continues to be a country that faces an existential threat from terrorism emanating from beyond its borders, a threat that it is fighting every day, and that it is ill equipped to repel in the absence of substantial assistance from the international community,” Krishna said.

Krishna was making a veiled reference to widely suspected support militant networks in Afghanistan get from Pakistan’s military establishment, which regards that country as its strategic depth.

“Clear and visible support to Afghanistan is crucial in order to preserve the gains made by the international community and Afghan men and women in the past decade,” Krishna said.

Representatives from around 80 countries and international aid groups, including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, have gathered here to discuss aid to ensure sustainable development of Afghanistan beyond 2012 until 2014 and during the transformation decade (2015-24).

Underlining India’s long-term commitment to Afghanistan, Krishna said: “India does not plan to limit its future development engagement in Afghanistan to a particular time frame or only to the presently planned projects. Our partnership is for the long term.”

Over the years, India has pledged $2 billion for multifarious reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.

Krishna called for “indigenisation” of foreign aid and asked the international community to avoid temptation to lay down conditionalities on such assistance.

He lauded the the Mutual Accountability Framework that has been drafted for the conference as a noble effort.

Krishna said while India believes that “good governance is crucial to the building of a strong and legitimate state, it also requires a strong state that has full control over its territory.

“This is not yet the case in Afghanistan.”

Pitching for an investment driven approach to the revival of Afghanistan, Krishna referred to recommendations made by a regional investors’ conclave New Delhi hosted June 28 for shoring up the Afghan economy.

The key recommendations of the regional conclave included included providing the private sector investment protection and risk mitigation, providing incentives for investing in Afghanistan, and the creation of an international fund for small and medium enterprises.

“India is ready to partner the international community and Afghanistan to achieve these goals within a globalized economic environment. A dynamic Afghan economy could make it a source of security as well as the heart of a cooperative region,” he added.

Krishna said while $16 billion pledged for Afghanistan represent a baseline or minimum requirement for a least developed landlocked country hit by externally imposed conflicts for three decades, these amounts “give a fighting chance for success if they can be optimized and managed in a frugal way without excessive administrative costs”.

He said Indian projects in Afghanistan managed “have managed to carry out some of the most economical and cost effective projects in Afghanistan”.

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