Abdullah Abdullah, Modi discuss new strategy, re-affirms commitment to deepen bilateral relations

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NNEW DELHI: Abdullah Abdullah, chief negotiator in the intra-Afghan peace dialogue with Taliban, on Thursday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and re-affirmed the long-term commitment to further deepen India-Afghan ties.

“Strengthening our commitment to our close neighbour. PM @narendramodi met with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah @DrabdullahCE of Afghanistan, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation. He reaffirmed our long-term commitment to further deepening India-Afghan ties,” Anurag Srivastava, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson, tweeted.

NEW DELHI: Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured Afghan peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah on Thursday of India’s continued backing for the peace process in Afghanistan.

Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation in Afghanistan, met Modi at his official residence to brief him on the peace process and the talks currently being held by the Afghan government and the Taliban at Doha in Qatar.

The Chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan who is here on a five-day visit said the meeting with Doval was “constructive” and that the latter had assured him of India is in favour of a “democratic and sovereign Afghanistan, where no terrorists can operate”.

“Had a constructive discussion with Ajit Doval, the NSA of India. We discussed the Afghan Peace Process, & the talks in Doha. He assured me of India’s full support for the peace efforts, & that any peace settlement acceptable to Afghans, will have the support of India,” read a tweet from Abdullah.

“He further stated that his country is in favour of an independent, democratic, sovereign & peaceful Afghanistan, where no terrorists can operate. I thanked India for the invitation, its continued support for Afghanistan, & its constructive role in peace efforts,” he added.

This is the first visit of Abdullah to India after the formation of a new government in Afghanistan. His visit comes at a time when the Afghanistan government and Taliban are trying to negotiate a deal in order to restore peace in the country. The peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban began on September 12 in Qatar’s capital Doha.

Doval also hosted a dinner for Abdullah’s delegation that was attended by foreign secretary Harsh Shringla, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, army chief Gen MM Naravane, senior officials of the external affairs ministry and key members of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

In Islamabad, he had met Prime Minister Imran Khan, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa. Abdullah told the Pakistani leadership that a message about reducing violence and showing greater flexibility in negotiations should be communicated to the Taliban leadership participating in the negotiations in Doha.

India, the region’s largest provider of development aid to Afghanistan, has expressed concern at a recent spike in violence by the Taliban and terror attacks on minorities such as Sikhs. It has said intra-Afghan negotiations must ensure the interests of minorities, women and vulnerable sections of society and reduce violence across Afghanistan and its neighbourhood.