Act against supporters of terror: PM
December 04 2016 11:39 PM
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani arrive for the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar yesterday.

Agencies/Amritsar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday urged action against those who support and finance terror and endanger peace in the entire South Asian region.
“We must demonstrate a strong collective will to defeat terror networks. Support for peace alone is not enough. It must be backed by resolute action,” Modi said while addressing the inaugural function of the sixth ministerial ‘Heart of Asia conference - Istanbul Process on Afghanistan’ here.
“Silence and inaction against terrorism in Afghanistan and our region will only embolden terrorists and their masters....”
Modi also emphasised that India’s bilateral and regional commitments of material assistance for Afghanistan’s development needs must continue and increase.
He said India’s commitment to Afghanistan is “absolute and unwavering”.
“We also plan to connect Afghanistan with India through an air transport corridor,” Modi said.
He also urged member countries that all should work to build stronger positive connectivity between Afghanistan and other countries of the region.
With Pakistan being represented at the conference by its top diplomat Sartaj Aziz, Modi said mere action against “forces of terrorism” was not enough and the world also needed to act against “those who support, shelter and finance them”.
Addressing the conference later Afghan President Ashraf Ghani accused Pakistan of waging an “undeclared war” and said Taliban insurgents battling his government would not last a month without sanctuary in the neighbouring state.
Ghani also urged Pakistan to spend around $500mn pledged in aid for Afghanistan to tackle extremism instead.
“Despite our intense engagement with Pakistan on bilateral and multilateral basis, the undeclared war not only has not abated but also intensified during 2016 with special intensity,” Ghani said.
“One of the key figures in the Taliban movement recently said if they didn’t have a sanctuary in Pakistan, they wouldn’t last a month,” he added.
Delegations from more than a dozen countries including Pakistan, China, Russia, Turkey and Iran attended the conference in the northern city of Amritsar.
They discussed challenges to the long-term growth and stability of the war-torn country.
India, the fifth largest bilateral donor to Afghanistan, has been a key supporter of Kabul’s government and has poured more than $2bn into the country since the Taliban were toppled.
Both the Indian and Afghan leaders in recent months have vocally blamed Pakistan for its support for groups and individuals behind attacks in their countries.
Last December Modi inaugurated Afghanistan’s new parliament complex in Kabul, built by India at an estimated cost of $90mn.
A few days after his visit militants launched a 25-hour gun and bomb siege near the Indian consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
And in March Taliban militants fired a barrage of rockets at the parliament complex.
In an earlier bilateral meeting Modi and Ghani discussed a range of issues including improved connectivity, trade, investment and terrorism.
“The two leaders discussed several aspects of the close and friendly relations between the two countries,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.
He said the leaders also reviewed the progress on recent decisions to deepen bilateral economic co-operation and strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries.
“The two leaders noted with satisfaction the prospects for bilateral relations and agreed that both countries would continue to work ever harder for further strengthening them.”
Ghani, in his address yesterday, said they had reached agreement on an air cargo corridor between the two countries.
The strained ties between India and Pakistan have impeded any progress on land transport links between India and Afghanistan.
The two countries also recently signed a three-way transit agreement with Iran to develop the southern Iranian port of Chabahar.
The deal, bypassing Pakistan to connect Iran, India and Afghanistan to Central Asia, is expected to boost economic growth in the region. Page 23




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