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Foreign Secretary meets Karzai on second day of Afghan visit

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
On the second day of his Kabul visit, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla met former Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Saturday and conveyed to him India's strong commitment for peace and stability in Afghanistan as well as its views on the peace deal between the Taliban and the US.
Shringla travelled to Kabul on Friday, and met the top Afghan leadership including President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Vice President-elect Amrullah Saleh, National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib and acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Haroon Chakhansuri.
In the meetings, the foreign secretary conveyed to the Afghan leaders India's support to government and people of Afghanistan in their efforts to bring peace and stability through an inclusive and Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled initiative.
About Shringla's talks with Karzai, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that a wide range of issues figured in the meeting.
Recalling Karzai's visit to India in January this year, the foreign secretary appreciated his contributions to strategic partnership between India-Afghanistan, Kumar said.
The MEA spokesperson said Karzai thanked the foreign secretary for India's development partnership with Afghanistan.
"They also discussed the ongoing peace process and developments in Afghanistan," he added.
Shringla dashed off to Kabul a day ahead of the signing of the much talked about peace deal between the US and the Taliban in Doha.
The deal provides for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan nearly 18 years after their deployment in the country.
India's Ambassador to Qatar P Kumaran was to attend the signing ceremony where the US and Taliban will ink the peace deal.
It will be for the first time India will officially attend an event involving the Taliban.
India has been a key stakeholder in Afghanistan as it has already spent around USD 2 billion in reconstruction of the war-ravaged country.
Major powers such as the US, Russia and Iran have been reaching out to the Taliban as part of efforts to push the stalled Afghan peace process.
India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan controlled.
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.
Ahead of peace deal, India conveyed to the US that pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terror networks operating from its soil must be kept up though Islamabad's cooperation for peace in Afghanistan is crucial.

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First Published: Feb 29 2020 | 6:44 PM IST

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