India, US discuss spurt in militancy in Afghanistan

April 24th, 2008 - 5:53 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) India and the US Thursday discussed ways to boost cooperation on a range of global issues like counter-terrorism, climate change, and escalation of violence in Afghanistan and its implications on regional stability. US Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky, who arrived here Tuesday night, met Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and other senior officials.

The talks were held as part of the annual India-US Global Issues Forum, which started in 2002. The US delegation included Assistant Secretary for Oceans, Environment, and Science Claudia McMurray and Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour David J. Kramer.

The two sides expressed concern over the resurgence of Taliban-instigated violence in Afghanistan that has the potential to undermine regional stability.

The US appreciated India’s resolve to continue with its reconstruction work in the war-torn country in the face of repeated attacks on its humanitarian aid programme and the New Delhi-aided construction projects in that country, reliable sources said.

The kidnapping of an Indian worker from the western Afghan province of Herat Monday evening is the latest in a series of attempts to undermine India’s reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.

The two sides identified ways to boost coordination in countering the Taliban-sponsored violence. India told the US that it plans to increase the security cover for the nearly 4,000 Indian workers in Afghanistan.

With climate change a prominent global issue, the two sides also discussed the need for a new post-Kyoto global regime to tackle global warming that will be a key theme at the G-8 summit in Japan in July.

The two sides will discuss issues related to climate change in greater detail when Dobriansky meets Shyam Saran, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s special envoy on the India-US nuclear deal and climate change, later in the day. The nuclear deal, which is stalled due to domestic political opposition in India, will also be discussed.

Dobriansky, also the US special envoy on Tibet, discussed last month’s unrest in Lhasa with Indian officials and underlined the need for dialogue to resolve the issue between China and Tibetan leaders.

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