Jaishankar attends meeting on Afghan peace process


New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said the Afghan peace process must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan.

In a virtual address on Afghan peace negotiations at Doha, Jaishankar said the peace process must promote human rights and democracy, ensure interest of minorities, women and the vulnerable sections, and “effectively” address violence across the country.

Giving a gist of his address in a series of tweets, Jaishankar also reaffirmed India’s long-held position that the peace process should be “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled”.

“The friendship of our peoples is a testimony to our history with Afghanistan. No part of Afghanistan is untouched by our 400-plus development projects. Confident that this civilizational relationship will continue to grow,” he said.

Last month, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani agreed to release 400 Taliban prisoners, paving the way for beginning of the long-awaited peace process aimed at ending nearly two-decades of conflict in the war-torn country.

India has been a major stakeholder in peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested USD two billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.

India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

India has been keenly following the evolving political situation after the US inked a peace deal with the Taliban in February. The deal provided for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, effectively drawing curtains to Washington’s 18-year war in the country.

The US has lost over 2,400 soldiers in Afghanistan since late 2001.

India has also been maintaining that care should be taken to ensure that any such process does not lead to any “ungoverned spaces” where terrorists and their proxies can relocate.

India has been calling upon all sections of the political spectrum in Afghanistan to work together to meet the aspirations of all people in that country including those from the minority community for a prosperous and safe future.