India willing to stand by Afghan people: EAM S Jaishankar

By Saurabh Sharma
External affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar

India-Afghanistan relation: India's own approach to Afghanistan has been guided by historical friendship with its people and this will continue to be the case, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday. 

Speaking at UN high-level meeting on Afghanistan, the minister said that even in the past, New Delhi has contributed to the humanitarian needs of Afghan society. 

“Our friendship is reflected in Indian development projects in all 34 (Afghan) provinces. In face of grave emergency situation, India is willing to stand by Afghan people, as in the past. International community must come together to create best possible, enabling environment," Jaishankar said. 

He said there is sea change in Afghanistan's political, economic, social and security situation, and consequently its humanitarian needs.

The minister also said the issue of travel and safe passage that can emerge as obstacle to humanitarian assistance be immediately sorted out. “Those who wish to travel in and out of Afghanistan should be granted such facilities without obstruction," he added. 

Jaishankar said that the normalisation of regular commercial operations of the Kabul airport would not only assist in that regard but then become the basis of a regular flow of relief material. This would also accelerate activities that would complement domestic relief measures, he added. 

After twenty years of fighting, Taliban captured power in Afghanistan on 15 August. Following the return of Taliban, many countries stopped financial aids and the country's reserves were frozen. The series of developments have caused financial stress and are pushing millions into poverty.  

Earlier in the day, the United Nations urged the world to raise $606 million for the war-torn country. After decades of war, Afghans are facing perhaps their most perilous hour, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his opening remarks to a conference in Geneva seeking aid for Afghanistan.

"The people of Afghanistan are facing the collapse of an entire country — all at once," he said. 

(With inputs from agencies)


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