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Afghan Foreign Minister in India to Boost Strategic Partnership


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NEW DEHLI (Hindustan Times) – India and Afghanistan are looking to revamp their intelligence sharing system after the recent multiple strikes by Taliban in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan, Indian media reported on Monday.

Afghan policemen inspect the site of a suicide car bomb explosion near the Indian Embassy in Kabul on October 8, 2009. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
Kabul and other Afghan cities were targeted on April 15 by Taliban in what were the most ferocious coordinated strikes in the country in years. While Indian establishments were not specifically targeted, Kabul’s diplomatic enclave was attacked by the terrorists. The Indian embassy in Kabul had issued a security alert on March 19 about attacks by, as it said in the advisory, anti-government elements (AGEs) in public places, which suggested that it had some inkling of the terror strikes which followed. Government sources said Rassoul will brief Krishna in detail about the attacks and preventive measures being taken.
Concerning the bombing of October 2009 shown in the the above image, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters in India: “I believe the suicide bomb was directed against the embassy because the suicide bomber came up to the outside perimeter wall of the embassy with a car loaded with explosives obviously with the aim of targeting the embassy.”

Ahead of Indian foreign minister S.M. Krishna’s meeting with his Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul this week, government officials said the two countries have decided to shun the practice of sharing intelligence through “routine” letters and will instead focus on transferring intelligence inputs immediately.

India assured that its assistance was neither “transitory” nor in “transition” to Afghanistan, which said it was looking forward to increasing training and capacity building of its security forces apart from equipping them with Indian help. The two countries also set in motion the implementation of the Strategic Partnership Agreement, inked last year during Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to India, by launching the Partnership Council, co-chaired by external affairs minister SM Krishna and his Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul.

The Afghan minister also briefed Krishna on the peace process and said: “the cooperation partnership is not only good to our two countries but also important for promoting peace, security and prosperity in the region.”

“Let me assure you that while it is a time of change and transformation in the region, India’s commitment to Afghanistan is neither transitory nor in transition,” Krishna said at a joint press conference.

Asserting that India would continue to partner the Afghan government to ensure that it is a source of regional stability and does not become a target for extremist forces, Krishna said: “Afghanistan’s defence of its own territory is of extreme importance to us. Our security is entwined with the stability and security of Afghanistan.”

Noting that the Council meeting was “also a reflection that India is unwavering in its commitment to assist the people of Afghanistan in their endeavour to build a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous nation”, Krishna also underlined the need for adherence to the Red Lines on the reintegration process: “These red lines for reintegration are crucial in the common endeavour to prevent Afghanistan sliding back to safe haven for terrorists and extremist groups and to preserve the gains made by the international community in past decade.”

During his visit, Rassoul will call on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and national security adviser Shivshankar Menon. “The visit forms part of the high-level engagement between the two countries and provides an opportunity for both countries to review and consolidate the implementation of their strategic partnership,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

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