(Eds: Updating with fresh inputs)
New Delhi, Jul 22 (PTI) In the midst of growing global concerns over the Taliban making rapid advances in Afghanistan, India on Thursday said it supports the government and the people of the country in realising their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future that protects the interest of all sections.
At a media briefing, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that India-Afghanistan relations are guided by the strategic partnership agreement signed between the two sides in 2011.
“As a contiguous neighbour, India supports the government and the people of Afghanistan in realizing their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future where the interest of all sections of Afghan society including women and minorities are protected,” Bagchi said.
He also referred to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar”s comments at the Afghanistan Conference in Geneva last year reaffirming India”s long-term commitment to the development of the country.
Afghanistan has been witnessing a series of terror attacks since the US began withdrawing its troops on May 1.
The US has already pulled back the majority of its forces and is looking to complete the drawdown by August 31, ending nearly two-decade of its military presence in the country.
Replying to a question on the situation in Afghanistan, minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan said in Rajya Sabha that the government continues to closely monitor the developments in that country.
“The government continues to closely monitor the developments in Afghanistan, including the evolving security situation and takes all necessary measures to safeguard our national interest,” he said.
As the situation deteriorated in Afghanistan in the last few weeks, India has been in touch with leading international players as well as the Afghan government on the overall developments in the country.
India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested nearly USD three billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.
To a separate question, Muraleedharan said India has seen reports regarding the extension of the so-called ”China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” (CPEC).
“India”s position on CPEC has been clear and consistent. It passes through parts of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh which are under the illegal and forcible occupation of Pakistan and hence impinges on the issue of sovereignty and territorial integrity of India,” he said.
Muraleedharan said India is of the “firm belief” that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognised international norms.
“They must follow the principles of openness, transparency and financial responsibility and must be pursued in a manner that respects the sovereignty,
equality and territorial integrity of other nations,” he said. PTI MPB ZMN
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI