New Delhi, May 17 (PTI) India on Sunday welcomed the power-sharing deal between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah after months of a bitter dispute over the results of last year's presidential election that pushed the country into a political crisis.
In its reaction, India hoped the political agreement and creation of a council for national reconciliation will result in renewed efforts for establishing enduring peace and stability, and putting an end to externally sponsored terrorism and violence in Afghanistan.
'India welcomes the political agreement concluded by the political leadership in Kabul today,' the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
It said India is concerned over continuing violence and terror attacks in Afghanistan and called for an immediate ceasefire as well as assistance to people reeling under the coronavirus pandemic.
As per the deal, Ghani will stay as the president while Abdullah will helm the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) with executive authority and his team will have a 50 per cent share in the cabinet, according to Afghan media reports.
The HCNR has been mandated to lead future peace talks including with the Taliban. Abdullah served as the chief executive in the previous government led by Ghani.
Following the presidential elections, Ghani was declared the winner by Afghanistan's Election Commission in September last year but his challenger Abdullah refused to accept the results and proclaimed victory for himself.
After months of political uncertainty, Ghani was sworn in as the Afghan president for a second term on March 9, but Abdullah also declared himself as the president by holding his own oath-taking ceremony the same day.
'India has consistently supported inclusive governance, national unity, strong institutions, constitutional order, rights of all sections of society and the territorial integrity of Afghanistan,' the MEA said.
'The continuing and enhanced violence and terror in Afghanistan is a matter of deep concern. India calls for an immediate ceasefire and assistance to the people of Afghanistan to deal with the humanitarian situation arising from COVID-19,' it added.
The power-sharing agreement between Ghani and Abdullah came over two-and-half months after the US inked a peace deal with the Taliban, providing for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and effectively drawing curtains to Washington's 18-year war in the country.
The US has lost over 2,400 soldiers in Afghanistan since late 2001.
India has been a key stakeholder in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. It has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan controlled.
India has also been maintaining that care should be taken to ensure that any such process does not lead to any 'ungoverned spaces' where terrorists and their proxies can relocate.
India has been calling upon all sections of the political spectrum in Afghanistan to work together to meet the aspirations of all people in that country, including those from the minority community, for a prosperous and safe future.
There have been global concerns over Pakistan's support to Taliban and other terror groups operating in Afghanistan.
Days before inking of the peace deal between the US and Taliban, India conveyed to the Trump administration that pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terror networks operating from its soil must be kept up. PTI MPB NSD