NEW DELHI: Two days after US President Joe Biden announced withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, India on Friday said any political settlement in the war-ravaged country must be inclusive and should preserve the socio-economic and political gains of the past 19 years.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it has noted the decision of the US to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and to end its military operations there.
“India remains engaged with the Afghan stakeholders and also our regional and international partners regarding next steps,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
He said India is “deeply concerned” about the increase in violence and targeted killings in Afghanistan and that it has called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire.
“We are closely following the ongoing intra-Afghan peace process. Afghan people have seen more than four decades of war and unrest and deserve long-lasting peace and development,” the spokesperson said.
Bagchi was responding to media queries on the US announcement.
“India is of the view that an Afghan peace process should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. Any political settlement must be inclusive and should preserve the socio-economic and political gains of the past 19 years,” he said.
“India supports a united, democratic and sovereign Afghanistan. We are deeply concerned about the increase in violence and targeted killings in Afghanistan. India has called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire,” Bagchi added.
The MEA spokesperson said India has participated in the Doha conference, the Geneva conference and the Heart of Asia conference in Dushanbe on the Afghan peace process.
“India remains engaged with the Afghan stakeholders and also our regional and international partners regarding next steps,” he said.
In a major announcement, President Joe Biden on Wednesday said US troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan beginning May 1 and the process will be completed by September 11.
There have been renewed global efforts to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan.
Russia recently organised a conference in Moscow where all major stakeholders were invited to brainstorm over ways to move forward in the peace process.
India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan.
It has already invested USD 2 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.
India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled.
Last month, Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar visited India during which External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed to him India’s long-term commitment towards a peaceful, sovereign, and stable Afghanistan.