Kabul: Stressing that any kind of support to terrorism is a crime against humanity, Indian defense minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said that members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) must actively work together to create a safe, secure and stable region, which includes helping a war-torn Afghanistan.
Addressing the SCO defense ministers’ meet at Dushanbe, Singh said that the eight-member grouping (India, Russia, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) has a “collective stake” in ensuring peace and prosperity in the region, which is threatened by “instability and violent extremism” all over again.
“It is in the same spirit that India helps the people of Afghanistan, which is facing violence and devastation over decades. So far, India has completed 500 projects in Afghanistan and is continuing with some more, with a total development aid of $ 3 billion,” he said. “Peace and prosperity cannot co-exist with terrorism. Any act of terror and support to such acts, including cross border terrorism, committed by whomsoever, wherever and for whatever motives, is a crime against humanity. India reaffirms its resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms.”
He reiterated the resolve of India, which with its geostrategic location is both a Eurasian land power as well as a stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific, to work within the SCO framework for the overall benefit of the region. “Our intent and aspirations are focused on the prosperity and development of the entire region. We affirm this intent through our national policy of Security and Growth for All in the Region, commonly known by the acronym ‘Sagar’,” he said.
Security and stability are the most essential components to create a conducive environment for the growth and economic development of the region. India accords high priority to the consolidation of trust in the security domain within SCO as well as strengthening ties with SCO partners on the basis of equality, mutual respect and understanding, said, Singh.
In other news, the 23rd Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) meeting was held on Wednesday at the Presidential Palace in Kabul and the main purpose of the meeting was to review progress on the Afghanistan Partnership Framework (APF) so that a positive Joint Review can be obtained at the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in November leading to continuation of external assistance as pledged at the Afghanistan 2020 Conference held in Geneva in November 2020.
As per the co-chairs’ statement, “The international partners reiterated their commitment to a democratic and peaceful Afghanistan. They further emphasized that Afghan authorities have the primary responsibility to provide stability, security, and protection of all civilians throughout Afghanistan. The participants emphasized that Afghanistan needs a lasting ceasefire and an immediate end to the current violence. There is no military solution. Only an Afghan-led, inclusive political settlement that leaves no one behind—including women and girls—will bring needed support from the international community to bring the peace and prosperity that all citizens of Afghanistan deserve/have the right to enjoy. In the interest of the Afghan people, the Taliban and various terrorist organizations must lay down their weapons.”
The statement added that all partners committed to implement international agreements on human rights particularly the rights of women and girls to inclusive and equitable human and economic development for all Afghans; and to the protection of minorities.
The JCMB meeting emphasized the importance of implementing the national priority programs under Afghan National Peace and Development Framework – 2 (ANPDF-II) and need for an effective monitoring system and results framework. The meeting also included voices from civil society especially on preservation of civic space so the NGOs can deliver humanitarian services for people of Afghanistan.
In other news, Russian President Vladimir Putin has held a meeting with the permanent members of the Russian Security Council and Afghanistan was one of the key issues discussed, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.