Pics: PM Narendra Modi pledges India's support to Afghanistan in talks with Ashraf Ghani

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New Delhi, Apr 28: India on Tuesday made a strong pitch for a positive and constructive approach from neighbours of Afghanistan including an end to support for violence as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani discussed here key issues including security and connectivity.

Asserting that Indo-Afghan partnership has blossomed despite barriers of geography and hurdles of politics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the success of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process within the framework of the Constitution of Afghanistan, without the shadow of violence was in their shared interest.

After the comprehensive talks with Ghani on entire gamut of bilateral ties as well as on key regional and international issues, Modi, at a joint press event with the visiting leader, said he conveyed India's support for his vision for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

"We have a shared interest in the success of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. This should be conducted within the framework of the Constitution of Afghanistan, without the shadow of violence.

"It should reinforce the political, economic and social progress of the last fourteen years. And, it should protect the rights and aspirations of all sections of the society, including Afghan women," Modi said.

Without naming Pakistan, which has been accused by the previous Afghan government of supporting violence in Afghanistan, Modi said, "Its (process) success requires a positive and constructive approach from neighbours, including an end to support for violence."

Noting that India deeply values its friendship and the goodwill with Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said the country stands with the people of Afghanistan, as they build a united, stable, democratic and prosperous nation.

"This comes from the responsibility of our friendship. It also stems from our commitment to regional peace and progress.... And, it will not be limited to the period of transition or the decade of transformation. This is an enduring commitment," Modi added.

Pics: When Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani landed in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Mohammad Ashraf Ghani President of Afghanistan along with President Pranab Mukherjee in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan during the ceremonial welcome in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Pics: When Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani landed in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Mohammad Ashraf Ghani President of Afghanistan along with President Pranab Mukherjee in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan during the ceremonial welcome in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Pics: When Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani landed in India

President Pranab Mukherjee receives his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Ashraf Ghani during Ceremonial Reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday. Also seen in the picture is Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Pics: When Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani landed in India

President Pranab Mukherjee shakes hands with his Afghanistan counterpart Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan during the ceremonial welcome in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Pics: When Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani landed in India

President Pranab Mukherjee with his Afghanistan counterpart Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan during the ceremonial welcome in New Delhi on Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also seen.

Pics: When Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani landed in India

President Pranab Mukherjee receives his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Ashraf Ghani during Ceremonial Reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday.

"We share Afghanistan's pain over persisting terrorism and extremist violence that destroy lives and derail progress. I thank him for cooperation against terrorism," Modi said and expressed his gratitude to the Afghan security forces, who protect Indians in Afghanistan as their own people.

On his part, Ghani said terror was "hounding" people of Afghanistan and it needed to be confronted and overcome. Modi also said India was prepared to continue its support for capacity building of Afghan security forces.

"I am pleased that we have delivered three Cheetal Helicopters to Afghanistan, which will add to the growing capabilities of the valiant Afghan forces," the Prime Minister said. Noting that the peaceful democratic transition last year was a great boost for Afghanistan's progress, Modi said preserving the mandate and political unity will be important for the country's future.

Modi said the President shared his impressive vision for Afghanistan's prosperity, based on its talent, resources and location.

"We believe that Afghanistan's direct surface link to India and the rest of South Asia, and increased connectivity to sea, could turn Afghanistan into a hub that connects Asia's diverse regions and beyond.

"We are ready to welcome Afghan trucks at the ICP Attari. We are also prepared to join the successor agreement to Afghan Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement. This will re-establish one of the oldest trading routes of South Asia. I also reaffirmed my commitment to take the Chahbahar Port project in Iran forward. We will also quickly conclude a bilateral Motor Vehicles Agreement," the Prime Minister said.

India will expand its development partnership, which includes infrastructure, agriculture, connectivity, human resource development, community projects and humanitarian assistance, the Prime Minister said, adding it will explore new trade and investment opportunities.

"Afghan children have a special focus in our efforts. Today, I conveyed fresh support for Habibia School in Kabul, the Indira Gandhi Child Health Care Hospital and Red Crescent Society Fund for treatment of children with congenital heart disease," he added. 

PTI

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