India, Afghanistan to enhance collaboration to enter into strategic economic partnership

Kabul, May 12 (ANI): India and Afghanistan have agreed to enhance collaboration in economic and commerce organization to enter into a strategic economic partnership, recognizing the advantages of closer economic integration with the South Asian market and the region.

In a joint declaration issued here during the two-day visit of Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, both India and Afghanistan agreed to explore greater cooperation in sectors such as mining, metallurgy, fuel and energy, information technology, communications and transport, and also jointly explore the possibilities of regional trading arrangements with other countries.

The two sides agreed to impart a long-term commitment to their multifaceted bilateral relations and to actively develop them in the years ahead.

India and Afghanistan confirmed their adherence to the common ideals of peace, democracy, inclusive development, rule of law, non-violence, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and underlined their shared commitment to combating terrorism that threatens both countries as well as the region and the world as a whole.

Reaffirming their commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, India and Afghanistan decided to establish a Strategic Partnership covering all areas of mutual interest.

"Based on mutual understanding and long term trust in each other, this partnership envisages the elevation of their multifaceted ties to a higher level, both in the bilateral field and in the international arena," they added.

The two sides also said that the strategic partnership between the two countries is based upon the principles of sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of States, non-interference in their internal affairs, mutual respect and mutual benefit.

The two sides decided to hold follow up discussions in the near future towards preparation of a Strategic Partnership document between the two countries.

In the political sphere, the two sides agreed to hold regular Summit level meetings, institutionalized dialogues at various levels, regular consultations on peace and security, and closer cooperation and coordination at the United Nations and other international and regional fora.

The two sides also emphasized the importance of parliamentary exchanges, and those in the area of media, culture, youth, civil society and people-to-people relations, to provide further substance to the Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

The two sides also agreed that an important part of their Strategic Partnership would be cooperation in the area of security, law enforcement and justice, including an enhanced focus on cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, organised crime, and illegal trafficking in narcotics, and money-laundering. (ANI)