Afghanistan faces threats from beyond its borders: Khurshid

Refering to Pakistan, India cautioned of "persistent threat" Afghanistan faced from beyond its borders and asked countries in the region to step up counter-terrorism efforts.

Almaty: In an apparent reference to Pakistan, India on Friday cautioned of the "persistent threat" Afghanistan faced from beyond its borders and asked countries in the region to acknowledge the rising dangers posed by these forces and step up counter-terrorism efforts.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, addressing an global conference on Afghanistan attended by representatives of over 30 nations and multilateral organisations, also counselled on exercising "care and caution" while pulling out international forces from the war-torn nation.

He also made it clear that India did not see Afghanistan as a zone of competitive influence and want it to be an opportunity for regional cooperation.

Speaking at the `Heart of Asia` ministerial conference on Afghanistan, he said the country would experience lasting peace only if short-sighted perceptions of competition and strategic depth were replaced by collaboration and economic investment by countries of the region and the rest of the world.

"While striving for realisation of this vision, we however do not have any illusion that, we can ignore political and security issues that stand in the way. We have no doubt that the greatest challenge posed to vision of Afghanistan is the persistent threat of terrorism that emanates from beyond its borders," he said.

The Almaty Declaration, adopted at the end of the conference, called on regional and non-regional countries to step up counter-terrorism efforts at national and multi-lateral levels, particularly with a focus on dismantling terrorist and organised crime sanctuaries, safe havens, and disrupting the financing, training and equipping of terrorist activities.

The conference also welcomed India`s initiative in implementing the Trade, Commerce and Investment Opportunities CBM, one of the six CBMs taken by the ministerial.

The meeting on Afghanistan is the third Heart of Asia ministerial-level meeting of the Istanbul Process and is attended by 14 countries in the neighbourhood and 16 others.

It assumes significance in the wake of the proposed withdrawal of US-led NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2014.