India is a 'strategic partner' of Afghstan and its role in establishing lasting peace in the war-torn country is 'vital', said Afghstan Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday.
Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday departed for India for his official visit on an invitation by the Government of India to discuss the peace efforts and the need for regional consensus and support for the Afghan peace process.
He is accomped by a high-level delegation. During this visit, he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, and deliver a keynote speech at the Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi.
"The Chairman of HCNR during his stay will exchange views with the leadership of the Republic of #India on the #AfghanPeaceProcess, peace talks in Doha, regional support for the process, & overall bilateral relations between the two countries," Abdullah wrote on Twitter.
"Abdullah before his departure to India stated: 'India is a strategic partner of AFG, & has continuously supported the government & people of AFG. Our historical relations with India is very important to us, & the role of India in establishing lasting peace in AFG & the region is vital. I am visiting India up on an official invitation by the Gov. of #India to discuss the peace efforts, & the need for regional consensus & support for the #AfghanPeaceProcess," he added.
Abdullah's visit comes at a time when the Afghstan government and Taliban are trying to negotiate a deal in order to restore peace in the country. Abdullah Abdullah recently had visited Pakistan and discussed the Afghan peace process with Pakist Prime Minister Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister, and other Pakist officials.
The peace talks between the Afghstan government and the Taliban began on September 12 in Qatar's capital Doha to end decades of war in which tens of thousands have been killed.
Violence, however, has not abated in the country even as Afghan negotiators have been engaged in direct talks for the first time.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had participated in the opening ceremony of Afghan peace negotiations in Doha through video conferencing and reiterated that the peace process should be Afghan-led and ensure the interests of minorities and women.
He said that Afghan soil should never be used for carrying out anti-India activities and supported the need for an immediate ceasefire in order to establish long-lasting peace in Afghstan.
On September 25, Jaishankar had met former Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum and said India remains fully committed to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled peace process.
( With inputs from ANI )
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