India, China share converging views on terror at Afghan meet

India and China on Friday shared their converging views on terrorism while highlighting mutual concerns over resurgence of terror groups in the backdrop of the US' troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Beijing: India and China on Friday shared their converging views on terrorism while highlighting mutual concerns over resurgence of terror groups in the backdrop of the US' troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The two countries with shared concerns over cross border terrorism took an active role at a key conference on the future of Afghanistan here.

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, who took part in the fourth ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan attended by new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Pakistan's National Security Advisor Sartaz Aziz, and officials of several other countries, had a separate meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines.

Wang was highly appreciative of India taking the lead role in implementing confidence building measures in Afghanistan as well as New Delhi's contribution for the reconstruction of the war-torn country, Singh, the former army chief told Indian media here.

"They do feel concerned about terrorism which India also feels concerned about. To that extent there is a convergence of views on this particular issue," he said.

He said China has some concerns over Afghanistan as it has invested there.

China, which is trying to put down Uygur militancy is concerned about the likely fallout if Taliban and al-Qaeda once again take over Afghanistan.

Already, Beijing is exercised over the steady infiltration of militants from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Afghanistan into its troubled Xinjiang province.

China has held several rounds of talks with India, Pakistan and Russia in the recent past over the future of Afghanistan.

Singh also dismissed the significance of Ghani choosing to visit China first saying that it will not have any impact on India's policy on Afghanistan.

"It does not affect India's policy towards Afghanistan. Let us not read too much into it. We do not read too much into it," he said.

Indian officials said Ghani's visit was timed with today's meeting on Afghanistan which was postponed due to delayed election results in that country.

Besides Afghanistan, Wang and Singh discussed follow up action to be taken on various initiatives announced during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to India.

Wang also inquired when Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit China, Singh said.

About the US troop withdrawal, Singh said at the moment US is maintaining certain amount of troops.

"It is not a complete withdrawal. Whatever structures will

come up in future, it will come up with consensus between all parties involved," Singh said.

"We have shared views on international terrorism. We have mentioned in numerous fora. International terrorism and its linkages need to be taken care of. We are happy that China shares this view," he said adding that China does not want Afghanistan to become an epicentre of terror again.

Asked about possibilities of intelligence sharing over various terror groups which have common linkages, he said "these things will evolve over a period of time. At this moment to say anything will not be correct".

China blames East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an al-Qaeda-backed militant group for the violence in Xinjiang which ironically has its training bases in Pakistan's tribal area.

Similarly, officials say a number of India-linked militant groups in Pakistan have their common linkages with al-Qaeda and Taliban.

To a question about the issue of cross border infiltration, Singh said "We have shared concerns. How the shared concern goes in future, let us wait and see".

Asked what he meant by the shared concern, Singh said that the apprehension was that the region may fall back into what it was.

"Obviously, China is concerned that peace and development must prevail in Afghanistan, same as we think," he said.

He said in his brief meeting Wang did not mention ETIM.

"All he shared was his view of terrorism. I do not know what he is thinking," he said.

Asked about India's assessment of Afghanistan, Singh said "We have welcomed the national unity government because it brings certain amount of stability. We hope it would be able to bring about better administration and take help from the processes the world has placed out there whether financial or otherwise for betterment of Afghanistan".

India has so far contributed about USD 1.4 billion for various projects in Afghanistan which included highways, dams as well as construction of the Afghan parliament building.

China today pledged to provide non-reimbursable assistance of USD 81.43 million to Afghanistan this year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said addressing the conference.

Beijing will also provide non-reimbursable assistance of about USD 244 million over the coming three years to Afghanistan, he said.

China will also help the country train 3,000 Afghans in the next five years and provide 500 scholarships, Li said.

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