Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ashraf Ghani on Monday discussed the evolving security situation in the region against the backdrop of a spike in terrorist violence in Afghanistan.
The two leaders had a phone conversation and exchanged greetings on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha. Ghani thanked Modi for timely supply of food and medical assistance to meet Afghanistan’s requirements, according to an official statement.
“The two leaders also exchanged views on the evolving security situation in the region and other areas of mutual bilateral interest,” the statement said, adding Modi had reiterated India’s commitment to the Afghan people “in their quest for a peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Afghanistan”.
The phone conversation coincided with a meeting in Kabul between Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib and Indian ambassador Vinay Kumar.
Kumar spoke of India’s continued help for Afghanistan to counter the Covid-19 pandemic, and Mohib thanked India for its support and affirmed Afghanistan’s “strong commitment to the bilateral partnership”, the Afghan National Security Council said.
The contacts between the two sides came a week after Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi chaired a virtual meeting with his counterparts from Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan and called for “four-party cooperation”, including on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Wang also said Kathmandu and Kabul should learn from China-Pakistan cooperation and the four countries should work together to extend CPEC to Afghanistan.
The meeting, held against the backdrop of the China-India border standoff, was viewed warily in New Delhi. India also has serious concerns about the spike in terrorist violence in Afghanistan and the role being played by Pakistan in the Afghan peace process.
Days after a report by a UN expert team monitoring the implementation of sanctions against banned terror groups and individuals said almost 6,500 Pakistani terrorists were present in Afghanistan, acting Afghan interior minister Masoud Andarabi said on Monday that the new leader of the Khorasan unit of Islamic State was a member of the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network.
“Shahab Almahajir, the newly appointed leader of Islamic State of Khorasan Province-ISKP is a Haqani member. Haqani & the Taliban carry out their terrorism on a daily basis across Afg & when their terrorist activities [do] not suit them politically they rebrand it under ISKP,” Andarabi tweeted.