India, US plan trilateral talks with Afghanistan
In a significant indication of alignment of interests, India and US on Thursday decided to hold trilateral consultations with Afghanistan. This comes after both New Delhi and Washington have signed Strategic Partnership agreements with Kabul in the last nine months.
According to a joint statement issued after the Indo-US strategic dialogue between External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday night, they welcomed their "productive" joint consultations on Afghanistan and "intend to seek new opportunities to intensify their consultation, coordination and cooperation to promote a stable, democratic, united, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan".
The two leaders stressed the importance of sustained international commitment to Afghanistan as it assumed full responsibility for governance, development and security.
The statement said they intended to explore opportunities to work together to promote Afghanistan's development, including in areas such as agriculture, mining, energy, capacity building and infrastructure. Noting the importance of women's economic empowerment for Afghanistan's economic success, they plan to work to further increase their ongoing vocational training and empowerment initiatives.
"To support their efforts in Afghanistan, they agreed to hold a trilateral dialogue with the Government of Afghanistan," the joint statement said.
Clinton, according to the statement, welcomed India's hosting of the Delhi Summit on Investment in Afghanistan on June 28 in New Delhi and both leaders looked forward to the July 8 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan.
They discussed the vision for enhanced regional connectivity through South and Central Asia and reiterated the importance of taking concrete steps to promote expanded private investment and trade in Afghanistan.
They acknowledged the critical importance of improving Afghanistan's integration and linkages within the South and Central Asia region and welcomed the ministerial meeting in Kabul on June 14.
Acknowledging that success in Afghanistan requires, in addition to building up its capacity to defend itself, an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process, they reiterated that success in Afghanistan and regional and global security required elimination of safe havens and infrastructure for terrorism and violent extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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