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    Afghan-US-India talks in the pipeline

    WASHINGTON (PAN): In a major development the United States and India on Wednesday announced to hold trilateral consultations with Afghanistan.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the proposed three-nation-talks at a joint news conference with the visiting Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, following the conclusion of the third India-US Strategic Dialogue.

    “Today we agreed to move forward with a formal trilateral consultation among our three nations,” Clinton told reporters.

    The announcement was also reflected in the joint statement issued at the end of the strategic dialogue, in which Afghanistan is believed to have been a major topic of discussion.

    Noting that India and the US have each signed strategic partnership agreements with Afghanistan, Krishna and Clinton in their joint statement welcomed their productive joint consultations on Afghanistan.

    “They intend to explore opportunities to work together to promote Afghanistan’s development, including in areas such as agriculture, mining, energy, capacity building and infrastructure. “Noting the importance of women’s economic empowerment for Afghanistan’s economic success, they plan to work to further increase their ongoing vocational training and empowerment initiatives,” said the joint statement.

    Clinton highly appreciated India’s role in this war-torn country.

    “We very much appreciate India's commitment to help build a better future for the Afghan people -- helping them with more than $2 billion for development, supporting the New Silk Road Initiative, hosting the investment conference at the end of the month, providing security, training and support,” she said.

    Clinton added: “I am very pleased that Afghanistan is getting this kind of encouragement and tangible support because it's in everyone's interests that Afghanistan be as secure and stable as possible.”

    Responding to questions, Krishna said Afghans would be able to find a solution to their conflict within their constitution.

    “The external support will not be available to Afghanistan indefinitely. And that is the reason why we have impressed upon Afghanistan and other countries, who are remaining friends of Afghanistan, that we need to equip Afghanistan with a security force which consists of Afghans, which is trained by Afghans, or trained by others, but basically Afghan-led,” he said.