Days when Afghanistan was used by others as ‘strategic depth’ are over: India to UNSC
United Nations: The days when Afghanistan was used by others as so-called “strategic depth” are over, India said, asserting that such skewed approaches have only brought misery to the people of Afghanistan and mayhem in the region.
Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Sanjay Verma addressed a UN Security Council briefing on Afghanistan on Tuesday and said peace and stability in Afghanistan are critical imperatives that the international community needs to collectively strive for.
He also said that India will continue to play its role in pursuit of this objective and that the interests of the Afghan people will continue to be at the core of New Delhi’s efforts.
“The days when Afghanistan was used by others as so-called ‘strategic depth’ are over. Such skewed approaches have only brought misery to the people of Afghanistan and mayhem in the region,” he said.
Verma said India is closely monitoring the security situation in Afghanistan and is actively engaged with the international community on issues related to that country.
“Terrorist attacks have targeted public spaces like places of worship and educational institutes, especially of minorities, as well as diplomatic premises. This is a concerning trend,” he said.
He noted that the collective approach of the international community has been articulated in the Security Council Resolution 2593, which unequivocally demands that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used for sheltering, training, planning, or financing terrorist acts, specifically terrorist individuals and entities proscribed by the UN Security Council, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.
The senior official also noted that closely linked to the issue of terrorism is the menace of drug trafficking. “It is important for us to strengthen international cooperation to disrupt and dismantle the trafficking networks,” he said.
On the political front, Verma said India continues to call for an inclusive dispensation in Afghanistan which represents all sections of the Afghan society. A broad-based, inclusive, and representative formation is necessary for long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan, and in turn, for economic recovery and development, he added.
Verma said India has direct stakes in ensuring the return of peace and stability to Afghanistan, “given our position as a contiguous neighbour and long-standing partner of Afghanistan, as well as our strong historical and civilizational linkages to the Afghan people. Our approach to Afghanistan, as always, will be guided by our historical friendship and our special relationship with the people of Afghanistan.”
Voicing deep concern at the unfolding humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, he said India has dispatched several shipments of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and is committed to continue helping Afghans going forward as well.
India’s main priorities in Afghanistan include providing immediate humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people, formation of a truly inclusive and representative government, combating terrorism and drug trafficking and preserving the rights of women, children, and minorities, Verma said, adding that these benchmarks were also set forth by the UNSC Resolution 2593 which guides the international community’s approach towards Afghanistan.
Acknowledging that the statement will probably be India’s last on Afghanistan in its current tenure as Security Council member, Verma said as a close neighbour, “Afghanistan will continue to remain in our hearts and we will continue to speak out in support of the Afghan people.”
India’s 2021-22 term on the Council as elected member ends this month. The country has declared its candidature for the 2028-29 term on the Security Council.