India, Afghanistan, US hold first ever trilateral dialogue

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 India, Afghanistan and US
New York, Sept 26: India, Afghanistan and the US have held a maiden trilateral dialogue here on Wednesday, discussing the situation in the war-torn country along with a host of other regional issues, including terrorism.

"This trilateral marks the further strengthening of Afghanistan's cooperation with two of its key friends and partners who are fully behind the vision of a secure, peaceful, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan living in peace, security, friendship and cooperation with its region and the wider world," a chairman's statement issued late last night by Afghanistan's Mission to the UN said.

The discussions marked the beginning of a series of consultations among the three governments, who have common interests across South and Central Asia and have pledged to work together on common challenges and opportunities including combating terrorism and violent extremism, reviewing cultural exchanges and increasing regional trade, investment and economic integration.

"All sides welcomed the frank and comprehensive nature of the discussions and agreed the dialogue helps advance their shared values, interests and goals," the statement said. The meeting, held at the Afghan Mission here, was attended by Joint Secretary (Pakistan/Afghanistan/Iran) YK Sinha and Joint Secretary (Americas) Jawed Ashraf from the Indian side, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman and Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake.

The announcement regarding the trilateral dialogue, held on the sidelines of the 67th annual session of the UN General Assembly, was made during the India-US Strategic Dialogue held in Washington early this year, which was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. India and the US had clarified that the trilateral dialogue was not targeted against Pakistan, which has always been wary of New Delhi's role in Afghanistan.

PTI

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