NEW DELHI: India has reiterated its commitment to a “unified, sovereign, democratic, prosperous and peaceful" Afghanistan, ahead of the signing of a peace deal between the US and the rebel Taliban on Saturday.
In a letter delivered by Indian foreign secretary Harsh Shringla to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also pledged support to Ghani to fight terrorism in the region.
The contents of Modi’s letter were made public on Saturday.
“We also remain committed to our principled position of support for an inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled peace and reconciliation process," Modi said in his letter.
“Under your leadership we would take our cooperation to new heights to enhance security and fight terrorism in the region."
The letter assumes significance given that the US and Taliban are to sign a peace deal in Doha on Saturday that will allow Washington to reduce American troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 initially from an estimated 13,000 now, before withdrawing them altogether.
The Taliban has promised not to allow Al Qaeda elements back into Afghanistan. It was an Al Qaeda plot that led to attacks in the US in September 2001, triggering the long drawn out US war on terrorism in Afghanistan.
After the deal is signed in Doha, the Taliban and the Ghani government are to scheduled sit down for talks that is expected to see a power sharing arrangement emerge.
New Delhi’s backing for an Afghan-led and Afghanistan-controlled process is significant in this context given that the Taliban is seen as controlled by Pakistan. The shape of a new administration in Kabul is of interest to India as New Delhi would like to see a government that is not inimical to India.
Pakistan is being represented at the signing ceremony on Saturday by its foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. India’s ambassador to Qatar, P Kumaran, will represent India at the signing event.