India proposes three-prong strategy for Afghanistan

November 11th, 2008 - 10:32 am ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Nov 11 (IANS) India has proposed a three pronged strategy - security, capacity building and regional cooperation - to bring long-term peace and stability to Afghanistan, which has been experiencing civil war for nearly three decades.Representing India’s viewpoint as a member of the official Indian delegation to the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly, Telugu Desam MP K. Yerran Naidu sounded a caution Monday on peace talks with the Taliban.

Those representing terrorists and killing innocent people should not be treated at par with an elected government, he said, in an apparent reference to the Afghan government’s recent peace talks with the Taliban. A number of countries have been supporting the peace talks of late.

Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta last month confirmed that a meeting between government representatives and the Taliban did take place in Saudi Arabia.

“It is important that we ensure that we do not accord the terrorists parity with the legitimate government of Afghanistan or the international community that acts in support of the latter,” said Naidu.

In fact, similar has been the view of the Hamid Karzai government, which has been arguing that the peace talks should not undo the developments of the post-Taliban era.

Later, proposing a three-pronged strategy for Afghanistan, where India is involved in massive developmental efforts, Naidu said one element of this strategy should be security. No doubt Afghanistan cannot be secured by military means alone, but without a robust military effort, the country cannot be made secure, he argued.

“It is for this reason that India sees a need for a much closer alignment between the consistent applications of force wherever terrorist groups are present and the achievement of the political objectives of our efforts in Afghanistan,” he said.

Arguing the case for developing the capabilities of the Afghan government, he said this is very essential to ensure that they will be left with the capacity and the resources to chart their own road, whenever the time for that comes.

“The third element is to ensure that Afghanistan is at peace within its region and vice versa. Without this, we cannot hope to stabilise Afghanistan,” he said.

Earlier, Thomas Matussek of Germany introduced a draft resolution on Afghanistan, expressing solidarity with the war-torn country. He said the Afghan government needs to improve governance “across the board” and take decisive action to combat drugs and corruption, and to continue justice sector reform to improve the human rights situation.

In his speech, the Afghan Ambassador to the UN Zahir Tanin said the international community needs to embark on a smart and sustainable strategy that would be guided primarily by the interests of the Afghan people, with a priority goal of creating a self-sustaining country. He also urged a greater focus on addressing and curbing civilian casualties.

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