India said on Tuesday that terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries must be dismantled immediately and terrorist supply chains disrupted for enduring peace in Afghanistan as it called for zero tolerance for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross-border attacks. During a UN Security Council debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also pressed for a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire in the war-torn nation to ensure immediate reduction in violence and protection of civilian lives.
“For enduring peace in Afghanistan, terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries must be dismantled immediately and terrorist supply chains disrupted. There needs to be zero tolerance for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including its cross-border one, he said in an apparent reference to Pakistan. “It is equally important to ensure that the territory of Afghanistan is not used by terrorist groups to threaten or attack any other country. Those providing material and financial support to terrorist entities must be held accountable,” he added.
Noting that the intra-Afghan talks have not resulted in a reduction of violence in Afghanistan, Jaishankar said, “It is therefore crucial that the international community and, in particular, this Council presses for a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire to ensure immediate reduction in violence and protection of civilian lives.” “A durable peace in Afghanistan requires a genuine double peace. That is, peace within Afghanistan and peace around Afghanistan. It requires harmonizing the interests of all, both within and around that country,” he said. India has been supportive of all the efforts being made to accelerate the dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban, including the intra-Afghan negotiations, he said.
If the peace process is to be successful, then it is necessary to ensure that the negotiating parties continue to engage in good faith, eschew the path to find a military solution, and fully commit towards reaching a political solution, he said. “India welcomes any move towards a genuine political settlement and a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan. We support a leading role for the United Nations, since that would help improve the odds for a lasting and durable outcome,” he said.
“I would like to reiterate our support for an inclusive, Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process. Any political settlement in Afghanistan must ensure that the gains of the last two decades are protected, and not reversed, he added. It should, therefore, preserve the constitutional democratic framework and ensure the protection of rights of women, children and minorities, he said.
The Taliban and the Afghan government are holding direct talks to end 19 years of war that has killed tens of thousands of people and ravaged various parts of the country. The intra-Afghan began as the US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha on February 29, 2020 following multiple rounds of negotiations to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home, effectively drawing curtains on America’s longest war. India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested close to USD three billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.