India's 'primary interest' is to build 'stable' Afghan society, says Shivshankar Menon

New Delhi, Sept. 20 (ANI): Reiterating India's supportive interests in Afghanistan, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on Friday said the Government of India is willing to discuss any concerns that Pakistan might have about the country's activities there.

"Our primary interest in Afghanistan, as I have said, is to make it possible for the Afghan people to do what they want to do, which is to build a stable and prosperous society of their own and (one) free of terror. In that effort, we will work with them-with the Afghan authorities, with the Government, with the people of Afghanistan. We will keep doing so because, for us, there is no end game in Afghanistan," Menon said.

"I'm not sure there is any reason for any concern. In fact, we have consistently said to Pakistan...we are very happy to sit with Pakistan and talk about what we're doing in Afghanistan because if there are any worries, any misapprehensions about what we're doing there-we would be very happy to do that. We would hope that as a result of that process that Pakistan would also be a factor of stability in Afghanistan," he added.

Menon recalled that Indian establishments have been attacked on Afghan soil on multiple occasions in the recent past, and the Government of India is learning how to deal with these incidents of violence .

"Well, I think we have had attacks on our missions for some years and we know where they come from and we are learning how to deal with them," he said.

In August, this year, there was an attack near the Indian embassy in Jalalabad leaving nine people dead.

According to BBC, Pakistan has accused India of fomenting trouble on its western border through its consular presence in the Afghan cities.

However, India has denied the charges and said that it is working on trade and development.

U.S. Special Representative James Dobbins had stated that Pakistan's concerns on cross-border infiltration are somewhat exaggerated and India's presence is reasonable as it shares cultural and economic ties with Afghanistan.

India has spent 2 billion dollars on development projects in Afghanistan and has strong diplomatic and trade ties with Kabul.

Dobbins has further called for collaboration of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US to deal with the threat of cross-border infiltration, the report added.

On September 17, India and Afghanistan held consultations in New Delhi during which the two sides discussed issues of mutual interest.

According to official sources, Afghanistan's Deputy Foreign Minister Ershad Ahmadi met Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and discussed forthcoming events related to Afghanistan that will take place on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. Ershad Ahmadi also called on External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid . (ANI)


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