India to reaffirm long-term commitment on Afghanistan

India to reaffirm long-term commitment on Afghanistan

S M Krishna to counter Paks attempt to limit Delhis role

Krishna is also expected to argue against premature exit of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan.

The External Affairs Minister is representing India in the international conference on Afghanistan, which is set to begin in London on Thursday.

Ahead of the London Conference; Pakistan over the past few days revived a grouping of six immediate neighbours of Afghanistan along with Russia, US and UK.
Diplomatic sources in New Delhi said that Pakistan’s move was intended to limit India’s role in Afghanistan.

Wary of India’s role in Afghanistan; Pakistan has been mobilising the immediate neighbours of Afghanistan over the past few months. 

Islamabad’s diplomatic efforts resulted in a trilateral summit between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey in Istanbul last Monday.

This was followed by a conference of six neighbours of Afghanistan in the Turkish capital on Tuesday.

Apart from Pakistan, Iran, China and Tajikistan; the US, UK and Russia too sent their representatives to the meet in Istanbul. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – both neighbours of Afghanistan – were also invited, but did not attend the conference.

New Delhi has already conveyed its displeasure to Ankara for not being invited to the conference on Afghanistan, although India’s US $ 1.2 billion aid to the conflict-ravaged country makes it the sixth-largest donor, four times higher than an estimated US $ 300 million contribution by Pakistan.

India is involved in construction of highways, buildings and urban infrastructure in Afghanistan, although it has no military role.

Sources in New Delhi said that Krishna might refer to a recent opinion poll in Afghanistan that found India was viewed most favourably among the foreign countries by the Afghans.

The survey revealed that India topped the list of most favoured nations with approval from 71% Afghans, far ahead of the US, Germany, Iran and Britain. Pakistan was favoured by only 2% Afghans, the poll revealed.