New Delhi: UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged India Monday to help shore up stability in war-torn Afghanistan after the departure of US troops, saying the world was relying on South Asia`s powerhouse to play a lead role.
Speaking on a visit to the capital New Delhi, Ban said India had a "huge role" to play on the security front in a region that has been beset by unrest.
"The world is looking at India to help advance peace and prosperity in South Asia," the UN secretary general said at a pubic lecture.
"Continuing instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan is not only the responsibility of these two nations. These challenges should be addressed through greater bilateral parleys.
"The security challenges in Afghanistan cannot be solved by military process. It needs regional support from India," he added.
India has poured $2 billion in reconstruction aid into Afghanistan and has been asked for further support, including military assistance in Kabul`s battle to contain a Taliban insurgency after a NATO combat mission wound up at the turn of the year.
But while pledging to do all it can to promote stability, New Delhi is wary of being sucked into a "proxy war" in Afghanistan involving allies of its nuclear-armed neighbour Pakistan.
Neither country has signed up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but in his speech, Ban urged India to embrace the idea of nuclear disarmament to avoid a "nightmare" scenario.
"South Asia faces danger of nuclear weapons. Addition to arsenal raises risk of nuclear nightmare. I request India to express solidarity in nuclear disarmament," Ban said.
Since first becoming a nuclear power in 1974, India has said it would only ever use atomic weapons in response to an attack as part of its "no first use" doctrine.