Read the entire India-Afghanistan joint statement issued today:
- The Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi paid a visit to Afghanistan on Friday, 25 December 2015.
- The Prime Minister held detailed discussions with the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan H.E. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, and met the former President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.
- President Ghani and Prime Minister Modi jointly dedicated to the Afghan nation the National Assembly Building constructed under India-Afghanistan development cooperation. Addressing the Members of Meshrano Jirga and Wolesi Jirga on the occasion in the newly inaugurated premises, Prime Minister Modi complimented the people of Afghanistan and their elected representatives on consolidation of democracy in the country. He appreciated in this regard the contributions of former President Karzai and the National Unity Government of President Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah, including by drawing on Afghanistan’s rich diversity.
- The Prime Minister profusely thanked the Government and the people of Afghanistan for the honour accorded to India by naming a block of National Assembly Building after the former Prime Minister of India Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee. He also assured the Government of Afghanistan of Indian assistance for a new Administrative Block of the National Assembly.
- In their discussions, President Ghani and Prime Minister Modi stressed that the millennia-old ties between the two countries and their peoples had enriched not only their own history and culture but had also bestowed to the world precious legacy in trade routes, economy, art, architecture, religion, literature and music. They expressed their happiness that the India-Afghanistan relationship had blossomed in recent times with renewed vigor, vitality and a contemporary view.
- President Ghani conveyed to Prime Minister Modi that there is a historically huge reservoir of goodwill in Afghanistan for India. Prime Minister Modi mentioned to the President that friendship, mutual respect and good neighbourliness form the solid foundation of the multi-dimensional ties between India and Afghanistan.
- Prime Minister Modi conveyed India’s continued strong support for a united, democratic, sovereign, secure and prosperous Afghanistan.
- President Ghani and Prime Minister Modi recalled their earlier three meetings this year and expressed satisfaction at the implementation of the decisions taken in them to further develop all-round bilateral cooperation. President Ghani noted that India-Afghanistan partnership was helping the transformation of Afghanistan by enabling empowerment of its society, reconstruction and development of Afghan economy and strengthening of its polity.
- Prime Minister Modi and President Ghani discussed key aspects of utilisation of India’s pledged assistance of over USD 2 billion for development in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister also assured the President that as always, India will continue to be guided by the priorities and requirements of the Government of Afghanistan, including priorities for reconstruction in Kunduz in the aftermath of the recent terrorist rampage. The two leaders noted with satisfaction that India-assisted projects including Doshi and Charikar sub-stations and India-Afghanistan Friendship Dam in Chishti Sharif, Herat were to be fully functional shortly. President Ghani apprised Prime Minister Modi of the vast benefits to agriculture and the common man that will accrue from the Dam.
- The two leaders welcomed the part played by over 100 completed and ongoing Small Development Projects (SDP) in creating community infrastructure at the local level. The Prime Minister conveyed that the total SDP outlay was envisaged to grow to USD 200M by 2020.
- Prime Minister Modi also assured President Ghani that India would expeditiously supply 170,000 tonnes of wheat to meet Afghanistan’s urgent needs. Both the leaders decided that modalities for supply of 1000 new buses from India to Afghanistan will be developed.
- Reiterating India’s commitment to developing capacity in the areas of education and governance, Prime Minister Modi expressed his happiness that over 10,000 students from Afghanistan were engaged in studies in India. He conveyed that the existing scheme of 1,000 scholarships every year for Afghan students to study in India will be extended by another five years beyond 2017 with the possibility of one year vocational and skill training. He also conveyed that the Government of India would additionally provide 500 scholarships for study of children of martyrs of Afghanistan National Defence and Security Forces in reputed schools and colleges in India and Afghanistan.
- Both the leaders directed the concerned officials to encourage suitable tie-ups between institutions of the two countries in higher learning, skills development, and science & technology.
- Afghanistan welcomed the Indian government’s role in encouragement for participation of Indian public and private sectors investment in Afghanistan. The two leaders agreed to further promote trade ties between the two countries. Afghanistan also praised the decision of the Indian Government to ease procedures for the Afghan businesspersons for trade and investment in India.
- President Ghani welcomed the decision of India to start the setting up of Afghanistan National Institute of Mining and regulate exchange programs for training of mining sector experts based on the assessment of requirements. President Ghani also appreciated the setting up of the Kandahar Agriculture University and welcomed India’s commitment in continuing its support for the capacity development of this important institution.
- Referring to the next Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process to be hosted in India in 2016, Prime Minister Modi highlighted the significance India attaches to promoting connectivity for realising the shared vision of peace, progress and prosperity in the whole region. He specifically pointed out the benefits that will accrue to Afghanistan and all concerned from direct access for Afghan goods and trucks to Indian territory including all Afghan commodities. Afghanistan reiterated that inclusion of India in the Afghanistan Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement would be advantageous for the whole region. Both leaders welcomed the ground breaking for the TAPI project.
- In the context of promoting better connectivity for Afghanistan, the two leaders discussed prospects of trilateral cooperation in view of India’s participation in development of Phase-I of Chahbahar Port in Iran. They directed their concerned officials to conclude discussions on trilateral agreement among Afghanistan, India and Iran in this regard.
- President Ghani and Prime Minister Modi emphasized that people-to-people interactions lay at the heart of the relationship between the two countries. They agreed that active work of India-Afghanistan Foundation would contribute to facilitating such interactions. They also concurred that exchanges between Parliamentarians and civil society that contribute to mutual understanding and goodwill shall be encouraged.
- Declaring his satisfaction with the Afghan Cricket Team being assigned a new ‘Home Ground’ at Greater NOIDA near Delhi, the Prime Minister welcomed the growing India-Afghanistan cooperation for necessary facilities and training to develop cricket in Afghanistan, and assured further encouragement to such efforts.
- President Ghani and Prime Minister Modi decided that the bilateral Strategic Partnership Council, co-chaired by Foreign Ministers, shall meet in the first quarter of 2016 to review implementation of the decisions of the two leaders, following meetings of four Joint Working Groups of the Council. The two leaders also highlighted the significance of the 6 agreements that will be signed between the two countries shortly.
- President Ghani and Prime Minister Modi exchanged views on the security situation in Afghanistan, which faces serious challenges of terrorism,extremism and narcotics. Strongly condemning the barbaric incidents of terrorism in Afghanistan in recent months, the two leaders reiterated that peace in Afghanistan required elimination of terrorism perpetrated and supported from sanctuaries and safe havens. Prime Minister Modi expressed deep admiration of the people of India for their brave Afghan brothers and sisters in combatting all forms of terrorism at great cost to themselves.
- Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s full support to Afghanistan for strengthening its defensive capabilities for preserving Afghanistan’s unity and territorial integrity and ensuring security. In this context, the two leaders pointed out that the Mi-25 helicopters provided by the Indian Government to Afghanistan and their maintenance facility would address an important requirement. They agreed to increase and expand training opportunities for Afghan National Security and Defence Forces in relevant Indian institutions, based on the requirements of Afghanistan.
- The two leaders agreed that groups and individuals that perpetrate violence on the people of Afghanistan and challenge by use of violence and terror against the Government of Afghanistan cannot be allowed to exercise control or wield influence over any part of Afghanistan’s territory in any manner whatsoever, as that would pose serious risks to the gains of the last nearly one and half decades, and renew those very threats against which the people of Afghanistan and international community had resolutely fought and made great sacrifices.
- Prime Minister Modi strongly supported Afghan government-led reconciliation process which respects the redlines drawn by the people of Afghanistan and the international community, i.e., the groups and individuals to be reconciled must give up violence and abide by the Constitution of Afghanistan.
- The Prime Minister thanked President Ghani and the concerned Afghan authorities for ensuring safety of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the four Consulates General of India in Jalalabad, Kandahar, Herat & Mazar-e-Sharif, and Indian nationals in Afghanistan, including those working on various development projects.
- India welcomed the decision of the Government of Afghanistan to open a new Consulate General in the city of Hyderabad to further strengthen their historical ties.
- President Ghani accepted the invitation of Prime Minister Modi to visit India. Mutually convenient dates for the visit will be worked out through diplomatic channels.
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December 25, 2015
India’s Ministry of External Affairs