Speaking at the Conference on India-Afghanistan Relations organised by the Hudson Institute in Washington on Thursday, US Deputy Secretary of State for Afghanistan Affairs Nancy Jackson, suggested that India should proceed with its involvement in the peace process in the war-torn country.
“We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, including $3 billion in civilian assistance since 2001. For our part, we remain committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region", Jackson said.
Jackson said that the US welcomes India’s substantial investment in Afghanistan and would continue to support efforts to achieve a peaceful and lasting outcome in that country.
Indian envoy to the United States Harsh Vardhan Shringla said some wanted to interpret New Delhi’s presence in Afghanistan from the narrow lens of Pakistan, but India’s ties and friendship with that country go way back.
Shringla said India looks forward to peace in Afghanistan, and where there was no room for terrorist elements to create a foothold.
“It is also important to deliver the message to terrorists that democracies do not surrender to terrorism and in the ideological battle of the 'emirate' vs the 'republic', the latter prevails", he said.
India has so far contributed over $3 billion in aid and assistance to Afghanistan, engaging in several infrastructure and humanitarian projects. The Zaranj-Delaram Road, a High School in Kabul, the Salma Dam, and a 220KV DC transmission line are among several ongoing Indian projects in the country.
For nearly a year, the Taliban and the United States have been attempting to negotiate a peace deal that would ensure the withdrawal of foreign troops in exchange for the movement's guarantees that the country will not become a safe haven for terrorists.
Washington and the Taliban movement were "on the threshold of an agreement" in September before US President Donald Trump called off secret peace talks after an American soldier was killed by the insurgents.
In response, the Taliban warned that Americans "will suffer more than anyone else" for their decision, claiming it would lead to "further losses of US lives".
Trump responded by stating that after the breakdown of the negotiations, the US military would hit the enemy "harder than they have ever been hit before and that will continue".