Modi reiterates India stand for building peaceful Afghanistan (Roundup)

New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reiterated India’s commitment for building a peaceful Afghanistan when Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer and Head of the Council of Ministers Abdullah Abdullah called on him here.

“The prime minister expressed deep gratitude towards the government and the national security forces of Afghanistan for their bravery and sacrifice in order to protect the Indians, especially during the attack on the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif on January 4-5, 2016,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

“The prime minister reiterated India’s commitment to extend all possible support to the efforts of the Afghan people in building a peaceful, stable, prosperous, inclusive and democratic country,” it stated.

On his part, Abdullah Abdullah recalled positively the maiden and successful visit of Modi to Afghanistan in December last year.

During Modi’s visit to Kabul on December 25, the new Afghan parliament building, constructed with India’s aid, was inaugurated.

At Monday’s meeting, Abdullah Abdullah said that the visit re-energised the strategic partnership between the two countries.

“He deeply appreciated the support being extended by India for infrastructure development and capacity building in Afghanistan,” the external affairs ministry statement said.

“The two leaders shared views on further deepening the strategic partnership, both in the bilateral and regional context.”

An agreement for visa-free travel for diplomatic passport holders of the two countries was exchanged in the presence of Modi and Abdullah Abdullah.

The Afghanistan Chief Executive later held a meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during the course of which India approved the third phase of 92 small development projects in Afghanistan.

External affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted that Sushma Swaraj has approved the “strategic partnership for the benefit of (Afghan) people”.

Abdullah Abdullah, who arrived here on Sunday on a five-day visit to India, will leave for Jaipur on Tuesday where he will deliver the keynote address at a conference on counter-terrorism organised by the India Foundation in collaboration with Sardar Patel University of Police, Security and Criminal Justice, Jodhpur.

President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate the conference on Tuesday.

The conference will bring together counter-terrorism practitioners, policy makers and public intellectuals from India and abroad, the president’s secretariat said in a statement.

The first counter-terrorism conference was held in March 2015 in Jaipur.

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