India at UNSC extends support to efforts achieving peace in Afghanistan; reiterates call for comprehensive ceasefire

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Ambassador TS Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations (Photo/ANI)
Ambassador TS Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations (Photo/ANI)

New York [US], March 23 (ANI): Reiterating its call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan as "the need of the hour", India on Tuesday expressed support all efforts towards achieving sustainable peace, security and stability in the country.

Speaking at the UNSC debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Ambassador TS Tirumurti said that the ceasefire in Afghanistan "is not only in the interest of the people" of Afghanistan but a basic prerequisite for the success of the peace process. "It goes without saying that talks and violence cannot go hand in hand," he said.

"India supports all efforts towards achieving sustainable peace, security and stability in Afghanistan. Such a process must be transparent, inclusive, Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, fully respecting the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan," he said.

The Indian envoy said that the gains of the last two decades must be preserved in any constitutional framework that Afghanistan designs for itself.

"The rights of women, minorities and the vulnerable need to be protected, and respect for human rights and democracy needs to be ensured. Full participation of women and ethnic and religious minorities in the peace process is essential to preserve a democratic and pluralistic polity," he said.

The envoy pointed out that India and Afghanistan share a natural and long-standing historical relationship adding that the strategic partnership and enduring commitment to the development of Afghanistan reflect this "time-tested" partnership.

Tirumurti said that the commencement of the intra-Afghan talks in Doha last year has not resulted in a decrease in violence; on the contrary, it has only increased.

"These attacks are aimed at forcing the Afghan people to make pre-determined choices through coercion and spreading fear and intimidation within the society. As Afghanistan's immediate neighbour, we are deeply concerned at the rising use of violence as a tool for pressure tactics," he said.

He also called for enduring peace in Afghanistan, terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries must be dismantled immediately and terrorist supply chains broken.

"There needs to be zero tolerance for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It is important to ensure that the territory of Afghanistan is not used by terrorist groups to threaten or attack any other country. Those providing material and financial support to terrorist entities must be held accountable, without any double standards," he said.

Tirumurti said that India continues to stand with Afghanistan in ensuring restoration of normalcy through a legitimate democratic process that is essential for the long- term stability of Afghanistan and the region.

"India will continue to provide all support to the Government and people of Afghanistan in realizing their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future, free of terror, so that as to protect and promote the rights and interests of all sections of Afghan society," he said.

Last February, the Taliban and the Afghan government reached a landmark agreement, mediated by the United States, paving the way for peace talks, which began in the Qatari capital of Doha on September 12, 2020.

The Doha negotiations failed to put an end to the confrontation on the ground. On the contrary, Afghanistan has witnessed a spate of bomb attacks and clashes in recent months, with the military continuing to regularly conduct operations against Taliban operatives. (ANI)