India, US agree to trilateral consultations with Afghanistan

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Washington, Jun 13: India and US have agreed to formal trilateral consultations with Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday, while highly appreciating New Delhi's role in the war-torn country. "Today we agreed to move forward with a formal trilateral consultation among us three nations (India, US and Afghanistan)," Clinton told reporters at a joint news conference with India's External Affairs Minister SM Krishna following the end of the Strategic Dialogue. Afghanistan was one of the major topics of discussions at the dialogue.

"Both the US and India have signed a strategic partnership agreements with Afghanistan to demonstrate our enduring commitment," Clinton said. India is scheduled to host for the first time, with support from the US, an international investors' meet in New Delhi later this month.

"We very much appreciate India's commitment to help build a better future for the Afghan people: helping them with more than USD 2 billion for development; supporting the New Silk Road Initiative; hosting the investment conference at the end of the month; providing security, training and support," the Secretary of State said. "I am very pleased that Afghanistan is getting this kind of encouragement and tangible support because it's in everyone's interests that Afghanistan be secure and stable," Clinton said. Krishna said while India's role has always been a very constructive, Afghanistan falls in its larger neighborhood, with which it has civilisational, historical, trade and cultural ties. 

"And President (Hamid) Karzai, when he came last October to Delhi, we signed a strategic partnership with Afghanistan. And the whole purpose behind that is to convey to the people of Afghanistan that the Afghan problem has to be solved," he said. "Yes, they need external support to the extent that is possible. And that external support will not be available to Afghanistan indefinitely. And that is the reason why we have impressed upon Afghanistan and other countries who are remaining friends of Afghanistan, that we need to equip Afghanistan with a security force which consists of Afghans, which is trained by Afghans, or trained by others, but basically Afghan-led and Afghan," Krishna stressed.

He added: "So I think we will continue to do that and I'm sure that Afghanistan will be able to find a solution within the four corners of their constitution." During the talks, India also raised the issue of elimination of terror safe havens in Pakistan. "We are committed to building an Afghan capacity for governance, development and security, and to unlock its economic potential through regional integration. We again stress the importance of eliminations of safe havens in Pakistan for Afghanistan's security and the region's stability," Krishna said.


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