India, US pitch for Afghan-led reconciliation processJanuary 20th, 2012 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Reviewing the situation in Afghanistan, India and the US Friday agreed to pitch for “an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” reconciliation process and discussed the ongoing political turmoil in Pakistan.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (AfPak) Marc Grossman held talks with Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai that focused on the prospects of reconciliation in Afghanistan and India’s developmental partnership with the violence-beset country.
Besides Mathai, Grossman held talks with National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and India’s AfPak envoy Satinder K. Lambah.
“We reviewed the situation in Afghanistan and I appreciated his desire to continue this conversation between the United States and India on this important subject,” Grossman said after talks with Mathai.
“We have made this trip in support of Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation and so after New Delhi this evening we are going to Kabul,” Grossman said before he left for Kabul where he will meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai and holds wide-ranging discussions.
In his discussions, Mathai reiterated India’s support for an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” reconciliation process and underlined the need for red lines to be observed while bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. Mathai conveyed to the US envoy the need for the international community to stay engaged in Afghanistan, a point that was made last month by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna at the Bonn conference on Afghanistan’s future.
Warning against the dangers of abandoning Afghanistan, India had exhorted the international community to stay engaged for the long term to eliminate “sanctuaries of terror” and pitched for a Marshall Plan-like initiative to help rebuild the violence-torn country.
India has pledged $2 billion for an array of development projects in Afghanistan.
Underlining New Delhi’s enduring commitment to the rebuilding of Afghanistan, Krishna also warned against terror emanating from across the border — an all-too obvious reference to Pakistan that is suspected of fomenting instability with a view to gaining strategic depth in that country at India’s expense.
Grossman said that the US would continue to reinforce its conversation with Pakistan on the situation in Afghanistan and called for reviving the trilateral dialogue.
“What happens between Afghanistan and Pakistan is extremely important. We encourage dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’d like again to get into the meeting of the Core Group - Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US — because I think a conversation about all these things is really necessary,” he said.
Amidst the ongoing political turmoil in Pakistan, Grossman stressed that the US backed the civilian government and democracy there.
“We support the civilian government in Pakistan and democracy in Pakistan,” he said. “But you know, this is a question for the Pakistanis, this is an internal question for them. They have their own ways of going forward and, so I wouldn’t comment any further on their internal developments,” he said when asked to comment on the standoff between the army and the civilian government in Pakistan.
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Tags: afghan president hamid karzai, bonn conference, country india, development projects, external affairs minister, hamid karzai, krishna, marc grossman, marshall plan, mathai, menon, national security adviser, peace and stability, political turmoil, president hamid karzai, ranjan, reconciliation, reviewing the situation, sanctuaries, satinder