Development, security in South Asia should not be a zero sum game: Nirupama Rao

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New Delhi, June 14 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has proposed that development and security in South Asia should not be a zero sum game.

"India neither sees Afghanistan as a battleground for competing national interests nor assistance to Afghan reconstruction and development as a zero sum game. (Indeed, may I venture the proposition that development and security in the entire region of South Asia should not be a zero sum game," said Rao in her address at the Afghanistan-India-Pakistan Trialogue organized by Delhi Policy Group.

"We must be creative and flexible in our thinking on such issues. Our dollar 1.3 billion assistance programme is aimed at building infrastructure, capacity building in critical areas of governance, health, education, agriculture etc. and generating employment," she added.

"We have paid a heavy price in terms of the lives lost of our citizens, who work in Afghanistan, as we are targeted by those whose agendas conflict with the emergence of a strong and stable Afghanistan. We have sought to assist Afghanistan within our means," she claimed.

Nirupama Rao further said the international community as a whole has made great contributions in terms of diplomacy and development, in assisting Afghanistan to stand on its feet.

"A stable and settled Afghanistan, where the rank and file of the Taliban has given up violence against the government, and the people, cut all links with terrorism, subscribe to the values of the Afghan Constitution and its laws, and where development is the hard rationale, is what we seek and quest for," said Rao.

"It is important also that for such a structure to be durable and enduring, Afghanistan's neighbours, and regional partners, will need to be in the picture - both by consultation and by adherence to the principle of non-interference in the country's affairs, ensuring that it thrives as a trade and transit hub for the region, and by eradicating transnational terrorism," she added. (ANI)

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