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Will do everything possible to secure release of seven kidnapped Indians: Afghan President to PM Modi

Giving an overview of the security scenario in Afghanistan, Ghani also apprised Modi about Taliban attack on southeastern city of Ghazni and increasing presence of ISIS in the country.

Published: 19th September 2018 09:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2018 09:40 PM   |  A+A-

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during the bilateral talks. | PTI

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Wednesday assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his government would do everything possible to secure the release of seven engineers abducted by Taliban in the restive northern Baghlan province in May, official sources said.

During extensive talks with Modi, Ghani also conveyed to him that the Afghan government is enhancing security for Sikhs in Afghanistan in the wake of killing of 13 people of the community in a suicide bombing in July, the sources said.

They said Ghani's response on both the issues came after Modi raised them, adding the Afghan president expressed regret over killing of the 13 Indians in the terror attack in Jalalabad.

Seven Indian engineers were kidnapped in Baghlan province on May 6, and Modi, in the talks, conveyed his concerns over them to Ghani.

In the talks, the decision by India and China to initiate joint projects in Afghanistan was also deliberated upon.

The sources said a Sino-India integrated training programme for Afghan diplomats will kickstart next month in Delhi.

The diplomats will first train in Delhi and then will leave for Beijing. Ghani was here on a day-long working visit.

Giving an overview of the security scenario in Afghanistan, Ghani also apprised Modi about Taliban attack on southeastern city of Ghazni and increasing presence of ISIS in the country.

On the Ghazni attack, he said involvement of Pakistani national has emerged, the sources said.

However, Ghani informed Modi that Afghan armed forces were capable of handling the security challenges with the help of international community. He also complimented India's support for Afghanistan.

They said Ghani gave a realistic assessment of the situation in Afghanistan including the status of the peace process.

Ghani said a three-day event in Mumbai on investment opportunities in Afghanistan earlier this month resulted in commitment of investment to the tune of USD 600 million.

The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, said the two leaders reviewed and positively assessed the progress of the multi-faceted India-Afghanistan strategic partnership.

"They expressed satisfaction at the increase in bilateral trade that has crossed the USD 1 billion mark," it said, adding they expressed determination to strengthen connectivity, including through Chabahar port and Air-Freight Corridor.

"It was agreed to deepen the New Development Partnership in the areas of high impact projects in this field of infrastructure, human resources development and other capacity building projects in Afghanistan," the MEA said.

It said Ghani briefed Modi on initiatives by his government towards peace and reconciliation and also in confronting the challenges of terrorism and extremism imposed on Afghanistan and its people.

"The Prime Minister reiterated India's support to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation process that would enable Afghanistan to continue as a united, peaceful, inclusive and democratic nation and emerge as an economically vibrant country," it said.

The MEA said the prime minister also emphasised India's "unwavering commitment" to support the efforts of the government of Afghanistan to this end, as also for the security and sovereignty of Afghanistan.

"He unequivocally condemned terrorist attacks and violence in Afghanistan which have caused immense loss of precious human lives and expressed solidarity with the people and national defence forces of Afghanistan in their fight against terrorism," it said.

The two sides also vowed to work more closely with their regional and international partners for prosperity, peace, stability and progress of the region, it said.

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