Afghanistan needs powerful friend like India: MPs
President Ashraf Ghani after assuming charge in September went to Pakistan, India’s arch rival, on an official visit, which was followed by trips to Kabul by senior Pakistani officials.
Repeated visits by Pakistani officials offered hope for a thaw in the opt-strained relations between the two neighbours, but some analysts believe close ties with Islamabad could affect historic relations with India, the world largest democracy.
The Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament on Wednesday discussed President Ghani’s ongoing trip to India, where he met Indian leaders and discussed with them the war on terrorism, trade ties among other issues of mutual interest.
Mohammad Sarwar Usmani, a lawmaker from Farah province, welcomed President Ghani’s trip to India and said Afghanistan needed to maintain good relations with a powerful friendly country like India in the region.
“The history shows India remained loyal to Afghanistan, giving us huge economic assistance and has nerver betrayed the people of Afghanistan,” the lawmaker noted.
On the other hand, he said, Pakistan had never maintained friendly relations with the Afghans and always adopted covert polices for achieving its targets in Afghanistan.
The lawmaker urged the government to concentrate more on bilateral relations with India, China and Russia and ignore Pakistan.
Haider Jan Naeemzai, who represents Kuchi tribe in the lower house, said India had been economically assisting Afghanistan, but Afghan leaders should serve the national interest in relations with other countries.
Another lawmaker Mohammad Hassan Sharifi Balkhabi urged a balanced foreign policy. He said the president had once claimed remarkable progress in relations with Pakistan and then declared India a close friend of Afghanistan.
Balkhabi said it was important to maintain good ties with Pakistan and other countries that could play a key role in Afghanistan’s reconciliation process.
He, however, said Pakistan was not positively responding to Afghanistan’s demands including the establishment of durable peace.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesman Ghulam Siddique Siddiqui told a press conference here that Afghanistan valued its relationship with India and felt proud to have a friend like India in the region.
Also Dawlat Waziri, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman, said Afghanistan had historic friendly relations with India, adding that currently a number of Afghan forces were being trained in India.
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