India's relationship with Afghanistan is an article of faith: Sushma Swaraj

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Without naming Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said that India and Afghanistan "will remain united in overcoming the challenges posed by cross-border terrorism and safe havens and sanctuaries".

Sushma Swaraj and Salahuddin Rabbani

A joint statement, released after a meeting between EAM Sushma Swaraj and Afghanistan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani vowed to fight counter terrorism.

Asserting that its relationship with Afghanistan is an "article of faith" for India, Swaraj said the two countries remain united in overcoming the challenges posed by cross border terrorism and safe havens and sanctuaries. Rabbani said India and Afghanistan have agreed to strengthen security cooperation.

"India has further agreed to provide assistance to Afghan national defence forces," he said. Afghanistan has long been pressing for greater Indian assistance in defence supplies and capacity building.

"India will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with people of Afghanistan. We remain united in overcoming challenges posed by cross border terrorism and safe havens&sanctuaries (of terrorism)to both our countries, said EAM Sushma Swaraj.

Strategic friendship with Afghanistan is an "article of faith" for it and "not just another relationship, but a spiritual and civilisational connect", she added.

"Both countries suffer from terrorism & violent extremism that threaten us & the region's stability, " said Salahuddin Rabbani.

Current regional trends bring India&Afghanistan closer than ever to protect & achieve our socio-economic,security and trade interests, said Afghan FM.

I must be clear that our friendship with India or any other country does not mean hostility with others in our neighborhood, he added.

Afghanistan strongly and openly supports India's bid for permanent membership of UN Security Council: Afghan FM Salahuddin Rabbani.The two sides inked four pacts after the meeting, including a motor vehicles agreement and a fresh document on India's development assistance.

"We jointly agreed to embark on a New Development Partnership in keeping with the priorities of Afghanistan..116 new High Impact Development Projects would be jointly implemented that would bring socio-economic and infrastructure development," Swaraj said.

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