US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan shouldn't create vacuum for 'disruptors' to step in: Gen Rawat

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New Delhi, Apr 15 (PTI) Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat on Thursday said the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan should not create a vacuum for 'disruptors' to step in and that India wants a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the country.

In an address at the Raisina Dialogue, he said India would be very happy to provide whatever support it can extend for the development of Afghanistan and make sure that peace returns to it.

He said if the US was of the view that withdrawal of its forces and similar drawdown by its NATO allies would lead to peace in Afghanistan, then, India would be happy to see emergence of such a situation.

'But our concern is that the vacuum that is going to be created should not create space for disruptors to step in, and, therefore, the violence continues in Afghanistan,' Gen Rawat said at the virtual conference.

He, however, did not explain whom he referred to as disruptors.

In a major announcement, President Joe Biden on Wednesday said the US troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan beginning May 1 and the process will be completed by September 11.

In a tweet last night, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he spoke to Biden and that his country respects the US decision.

In his remarks, Gen Rawat said there are many nations which are willing to step into Afghanistan to take advantage of the opportunities following the withdrawal of US troops. He, however, did not name the countries.

Afghanistan is a nation which is rich in resources and there are nations which tend to exploit resources for their own benefit...If that happens, it should be prevented. The international community must step in to ensure that Afghanistan is for the Afghans,' he said.

There have been renewed global efforts to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan. Russia recently organised a conference in Moscow where all major stakeholders were invited to brainstorm over ways to move forward in the peace process.

India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested USD two billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.

India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

Last month, Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar visited India during which External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed to him New Delhi's long-term commitment towards a peaceful, sovereign and stable Afghanistan. PTI MPB ZMN