India welcomes Rabbani's peace mission
NEW DELHI (PAN): India's External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Thursday told the visiting former Afghanistan president, Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani, that his country can always count on India's support for development and peace.
Led by Burhanudin Rabbani, a high level peace delegation from Afghanistan arrived on Thursday here on a two-day visit.
Rabbani is chairman of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan established by Afghanistan in September 2010 to facilitate the peace process in the war-ravaged nation.
"As your neighbour, friend and well wisher, we would like to see peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan in which all sections of the society, regardless of gender or ethnicity, can work shoulder to shoulder to secure a bright future for the country.
"In your quest for progress, economic development and social harmony, you can always count on India’s unstinted support," S M Krishna told Rabbani.
Welcoming Rabbani, Krishna said the former is an old friend of India.
"I had the pleasure of meeting him during my visit to Kabul earlier in January this year when I was struck by his considerable understanding of the challenges confronting Afghanistan and the region," he said.
"We have historically enjoyed the closest of relations with the friendly people of Afghanistan. Our relationship is akin to a strategic partnership," Krishna said.
The peace group is visiting on the invitation of the S M Krishna. Rabbani is meeting senior Indian officials and politicians during his visit.
He met India's vice-president Mohammad Hamid Ansari during the day.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai had formed the council to further peace talks with the Taliban groups by engaging the militants in a reconciliation process.
Visits of various delegations from Afghanistan is an ongoing process in view of the close cooperation of India and Afghanistan on various issues and sectors.
Afghanistan’s first Vice President Marshal Mohammed Qasim Fahim was in India in June in a three-day state visit at the invitation of Indian President Pratibha Singh Patil.
India earlier last month also received the Afghanistan Minister of Defence General Abdul Rahim Wardak.
General Abdul Rahim Wardak paid a three-day visit to India with a high-level delegation.
In May Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Afghanistan to boost bilateral ties.
His visit followed the India visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in February.
The two nations recently signed several pacts to boost cooperation and capacity building in various sectors.
India is concerned over the decision of USA to pull out from Afghanistan which it says could hurt India with the aggrandizement of the Taliban and create uncertainty in Afghanistan.
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