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Text of Indo-Afghan Joint Statement

Source: PTI
August 28, 2005 20:44 IST
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Following is the text of the Indo-Afghan Joint Statement after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul

At the invitation of His Excellency Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanisthan, His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, is currently paying a state visit to the Islamic Republic (28-29 August, 2005)

During the visit, the two leaders held talks on a broad range of bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues of common concern. They expressed satisfaction at the progress in bilateral relations since President Hamid Karzai's visit to India (23-25 February, 2005) and agreed to take this relationship into a new stage of partnership. They affirmed that India and Afghanistan enjoy a warm and friendly relationship underpinned by historical ties and cultural links. The time tested friendship between the people of the two countries has survived many challenges and is today based on a shared commitment to the ideals of democracy, peace and security.

India remains fully supportive to the goal of a sovereign, stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. Both leaders agreed that such an Afghanistan is also necessary for peace, security and stability in the region. The two leaders condemned global terrorism as a threat to democracy and declared that there can be no compromise with those who resort to terrorism. They reiterated their commitments to work together to ensure that Afghanistan would never again become a safe haven for terrorism and extremism.

India has admired the courageous steps taken by the Afghan government and the people under the leadership of President Hamid Karzai towards the restoration of peace and the adoption of a democratic polity while addressing the challenge of economic development and reconstruction.

President Hamid Harzai thanked India for its demonstrated commitments to Afghanistan by providing more than USD 500 million for projects in the area of infrastructure, humanitarian assistance and institutional and human resource development.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh reaffirmed India's continued commitment and pledged an additional USD 50 million assistance to Afghanistan.

In the presence of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President Hamid Karzai, bilateral cooperation agreements in the areas opf Agricultgure and Health were signed. A new initiative on 'Small Developmental Projects' has been launched to work with local communities in development programmes.

Following on a pilot project undertaken by the Confederation of Indian Industry in pursuance to President Karzai's visit to India earlier this year, the two governments agreed to launch a 'Skill Building Initative's in Afghanistan in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry and the United Nations. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced that India will adopt 100 villages in Afghanistan to promote integrated rural developments by introducing solar electrification and rain water harvesting using technologies that have been developed and succesfully demonstrated in India.

While annnoucing a gift of 1000 sewing machines to the Ministry of Women's Affairs, it was agreed that India would assist in establishing a Women's Vocational Training Centre in Kabul.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh welcomed President Hamid Karzai's suggestion to make greater use of Indian institutions for training of Afghans. In order to accelerate the human resource development process, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced 500 scholarships for Afghan students for university education and in addition 500 short-term training fellowships under the ITEC Programme for Afghan men and women. A symbol of long-standing cooperation between the two countries in the field of education is the 102-year-old Habibia school which was destroyed in the war and after its rebuilding by India, will be jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President Hamid Karzai.

To support Afghanistan's steps towards democracy, both countries will expand their cooperation in building of democratic institutions, infrastructure and human capacity.

India welcomes the forthcoming Parliamentary elections which mark a significant milestone in this process and has already set up dedicated training programmes for Afghan officials.

Tomorrow, Baba-e-Milat His Majesty Mohammad Zahir Shah will lay the foundation stone of the new Parliament building in the presence of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President Hamid Karzai at Darul Aman. India has already committed USD 25 million for the construction of the Parliament.

President Hamid Karzai shared his vision of restoring Afghanistan's historic role as a land bridge between Central Asia and Indian sub-continent and the initiatives taken in rebuilding its road network.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh endorsed this vision as an important step for promoting regional cooperation by encouraging, both trade and people-to-people contact among the countries of the region.

In this context, President Hamid Karzai conveyed Afghanistan's interest in seeking closer links with SAARC.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh welcomed this initiative and affirmed India's support for Afghanistan's engagement with SAARC.

The two leaders endorsed the need for greater consultation and cooperation in a future project of a Turkmenistan gas pipeline to India that would pass through Afghanistan and Pakistan.  

The two leaders reaffirmed that Afghanistan and India have a common interest in reinvigorating the past ties and developing a new partnership for the 21st century.

The two leaders emphasised the importance of regular high level exchange between the two countries. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh extended an invitation to President Hamid Karzai to visit India at a mutually convenient time. President Hamid Karzai conveyed his acceptance to the invitation.

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