Prime Minister Narendra Modi had words of praise on Sunday for the bold initiatives taken by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani towards establishing peace in Afghanistan and expressed hope that it will be respected by all parties, referring to a ceasefire announced by the Afghan leader for Eid.
Speaking at the restricted session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, Prime Minister Modi also promised that India will play an active role in the contact group for Afghanistan under the SCO banner. “Afghanistan is an unfortunate example of effect of extremism and terrorism. I hope the bold initiatives towards peace taken by President Ghani will be respected by all parties,” Modi said at the summit, also attended by Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain.
Modi was referring to the Afghan government’s surprise announcement of the week-long ceasefire with the Taliban for Eid. The ceasefire will last from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr, President Ghani had tweeted last week, indicating it could run from June 12-19. Responding to Ghani’s announcement, the Taliban yesterday announced the suspension of fighting for the first three days of Eid – the first ceasefire by the militant group in Afghanistan since the 2001 US invasion.
It is remarkable that India and China have agreed to undertake a joint economic project in Afghanistan. They have agreed to move forward in identifying a specific project initially in the area of capacity building in Afghanistan. This will be a first project of its kind in the war-torn country where China, while trying to expand its influence, has tacitly backed Pakistan, which has been accused by Afghanistan and the US of backing the Taliban and its most violent attacks in the country destabilising any attempts to restore peace. Since 2002, India has committed USD 2 billion to the socio-economic rebuilding of war-torn Afghanistan.