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India and Iran step up efforts to stabilise Afghanistan Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

India and Iran step up efforts to stabilise Afghanistan

India has been a key supporter of Kabul's government [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 February, 2018

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India and Iran's leaders met to discuss increasing efforts to bring stability to war-torn Afghanistan.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed on Saturday to step up efforts to bring stability to war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Modi reiterated India's commitment to help Afghanistan become "a peaceful, secure, permanent, prosperous and pluralistic country" after holding talks with Rouhani in New Delhi on the last day of the Iranian leader's three-day visit.

"Looking at our common interests, we are committed to stopping the expansion of such forces that promote international organised crime in terrorism, extremism, illegal drug trafficking, cyber crime and various forms," Modi said

"We want to see our region and the world free from terrorism."

There was no mention of financial assistance or providing weapons to help Afghanistan fight militants by either leader.

They did not name Pakistan but it has long been accused of supporting insurgents in Afghanistan.

India has been a key supporter of Kabul's government and has poured more than $2 billion into the country since the Taliban were toppled in 2001.

In 2016, India offered $1 billion in economic aid to strengthen various sectors in the war-torn nation including education, health and agriculture.

Modi said both countries wanted to increase economic cooperation, regional connectivity and improve energy security to reach landlocked Afghanistan and central Asia via the southern Iranian port of Chabahar.

The port, which was inaugurated in December, has been touted as a way for India to establish trade routes that bypass its rival Pakistan.

India has been a key purchaser of Iranian oil and gas, and maintained trade ties even as international sanctions were imposed on Tehran over its nuclear programme between 2012 and 2016.

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