AMRITSAR: Without naming any country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday underscored the need to wipe out terror networks from the Heart of Asia region even as Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani said state-sponsored sanctuaries of terrorism did exist in Pakistan.
“As such, support for voices of peace in Afghanistan alone is not enough. It must be backed by resolute action. Not just against forces of terrorism, but also against those who support, shelter, train and finance them,’’ Modi said the Heart of Asia conference here. Without mincing his words, Ghani said, “Despite our intense engagement with Pakistan on bilateral and multilateral basis, the undeclared war... not only has not abated but also intensified during 2016 with special intensity. One of the key figures in the (Afghan) Taliban movement recently said if they didn’t have a sanctuary in Pakistan, they wouldn’t last a month.”
He added that Islamabad’s military crackdown on the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in the northwest of the country bordering Afghanistan had brought about selective displacement of terrorists.
Pakistan has long been accused of supporting the insurgents in Afghanistan, especially with attacks on Indian targets in the country.
Modi also called for an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled” peace process to bring stability to the country, terming it a “critical unfinished mission of our time”. “Silence and inaction against terrorism in Afghanistan and our region will only embolden terrorists and their masters. Our bilateral and regional commitments of material assistance for Afghanistan’s development and humanitarian needs must continue and increase,” he added.
Appreciating India’s support, Ghani said, “India’s support to Afghanistan to improve people’s life is transparent with no strings attached,” he said. “There are no hidden deals between India and Afghanistan. We thank India for that.”
Amritsar happens to nurture an old connection with Afghanistan. The flow of trade, people and ideas through the region has often intersected in Amritsar on the Grand Trunk Road.