India wants to be part of solution in Afghanistan: Khurshid

Last Updated : 08 April 2013, 17:33 IST

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India wants to be part of the solution and not part of the problem in Afghanistan though there are some quarters who view New Delhi as the latter, said External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Monday.

"India has not and must not be a bystander and aloof of what is happening in Afghanistan," Khurshid said, giving a talk on the release of a report on Afghanistan here.

"What is happening to Afghanistan is happening to us, it is in the neighbourhood, and is actually in the family and that is why it is important to India," said Khurshid at the talk organised by Delhi Policy Group at the India International Centre here.

He said the "family" also comprised of blocs of people "who don't want us to be doing development work in Afghanistan", in an indirect reference to Pakistan, which views India's involvement in developmental work in Afghanistan with concern.

He said India is involved in a lot of development work in Afghanistan, reaching down to the district level.

"India wants to be part of the solution and not part of problem in Afghanistan, some people want to see us as part of problem...we don't want to give them a chance," said Khurshid, adding that India would work with all stakeholders and as a team in Afghanistan where the US-led troops are due to pull out in 2014.

He said the solution won't be sustained unless Indian inputs are there.

He said India is a "little concerned about good Taliban, bad Taliban", and added that "it is ultimately for Afghanistan to decide". "It is our duty to forewarn them of consequences they might find others are overlooking."

Taking on critics of India's foreign policy, Khurshid said: " I see a lot of disturbing and distressing responses from people who should have valuable inputs to provide on policy..."

"...We either have an element of jingoism with people thinking India should be policing the entire region and the rest of the world and have a first strike capability for any disturbed area of the world and tell them how to live their lives according to our view of the world."

And the others were those "who are happy just whining and groaning about how ineffective and to what extent India is a defeated nation as far as foreign policy is concerned," Khurshid said, adding "this is a very sad part".

"We need a very generous dose of how we are to live together in the world, it is a dangerous world," he added.

He gave the example of US intervention, saying that Washington had come to a state of fatigue after their intervention in Iraq and elsewhere.

"It is a lesson to be learnt, that even a rich and powerful nation like US, is beginning to think twice about intervening."

Taking potshots at critics on television shows, he said "it easy to do warmongering on television late evening, but much more difficult to be out there facing flak..."

Khurshid said it is easy to be glib and to casually talk about engaging enemy with weaponry, but "there is a way of resolving things through dialogue, and other measures", which is what is needed in Afghanistan.

Afghan Ambassador S.M. Abdali, in answer to a query, said: "Unfortunately, Pakistan is part of the problem, and we are trying to make them part of the solution (to Afghanistan).. They have the key of war and key of peace and we hope they well choose peace rather than war... We are busy with them."

He also said that the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan "is a process that has come step by step, and was planned very carefully... it took months to agree to the benchmarks."

He said Kabul wants the international troops with them "in a different formation".
He said he had met Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor to discuss the opening of a mining institute in Afghanistan and the Indian minister had expressed his full support to the endeavour.

The report "Afghanistan 2012: Looking to the future" by Radha Kumar and Kailash K. Prasad was released at the event.

Published 08 April 2013, 17:33 IST

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