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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightModi, Afghan President...

Modi, Afghan President speak out against terror, talk of trade

Modi, Afghan President speak out against terror, talk of trade

New Delhi: India and Afghanistan on Tuesday spoke out strongly against terror as visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, emphasised what India has been stressing - that there can be no differentiation between good and bad terror - and called for a united regional and global approach to fight the scourge.

Ghani, whose country continues to battle the Taliban menace after the drawdown of the US-led international forces, said: "Terror must be confronted and must be overcome... we are determined to make Afghanistan the graveyard of terror, our will must not be underestimated and we will not be beaten into submission."

Ghani, who arrived here on Monday night on a three-day official visit, pushed for a regional framework of peace and cooperation in order to fight the "disease of terror" and cure it "lock, stock and branch".

"We are determined to change the regional nature of cooperation, against all kinds of violence," he said. "Terror cannot be classified into good and bad, it cannot be differentiated. We must have a unified approach, and we must be united in the region and globally to contain the phenomenon."

The US and its ally Pakistan have maintained differentiation between "good terrorists" and "bad terrorists", which India has all along rejected, maintaining there can be no differentiation between terrorists.

Prime Minister Modi, in his speech, said that the success of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process "requires a positive and constructive approach from neighbours, including an end to support for violence" - in a tacit reference to Pakistan, where the Taliban are believed to be harboured along the border.

"We share Afghanistan's pain over persisting terrorism and extremist violence that destroy lives and derail progress," he said, and also thanked Ghani for the bilateral cooperation against terrorism.

Modi said that India is ready to walk "shoulder to shoulder" with Afghanistan and also backed Ghani's vision of making Afghanistan the hub of connectivity in the region.

"We believe Afghanistan's direct surface link to India and the rest of South Asia, and increased connectivity to sea, could turn Afghanistan into a hub that connects Asia's diverse regions and beyond," he said.

Modi said India is ready to welcome Afghan trucks at the Attari check post and also join the Afghan-Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement.

He also pledged to take the Chahbahar Port project in Iran forward and added that both sides will quickly conclude a bilateral Motor Vehicles Agreement.

India will expand its development partnership in Afghanistan and also explore new trade and investment opportunities, he added.

Stressing that India and Afghanistan are "bound by million ties through millennia", Ghani said that some 30 million people in India claim descent from Afghanistan and that he had met some people on Monday evening who despite staying in India for 200 years speak Pashtu and Dari.

He spoke of boosting the potential of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

Ghani said his vision was to recreate the old place his country had of being a "roundabout" where ideas, people and goods from South and Central Asia came, merged and transited.

He said his vision was that Afghanistan would be a place where the energy of Central Asia will flow to South Asia, as well as pipelines, fibreoptics and connectivity.

He cited Rabindranath Tagore's iconic "Kabuliwala", saying that he wanted to thank the Nobel laureate who has "done more to give us a brand" than any advertisement could ever bring.

He said he was delighted the old version of the novel continues to be popular in India and that a "new version is being prepared to give a much more authentic setting inside Afghanistan".

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