India Seeks more Talks with US on Afghan Withdrawal

Washington, May 31 (IANS): Voicing New Delhi's concern that extremist elements would gain ground once Western forces pull out of Afghanistan, Indian ambassador Nirupama Rao has called for greater coordination with the United States.

"Both our countries understand the imperative of ensuring success in Afghanistan, and defeating the evil designs of forces of instability," Rao said at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, Wednesday.

In the last year, the two nations have had close consultations on building "a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan," Rao said. "These consultations must be strengthened."

Speaking ahead of India-US strategic dialogue here on June 13, she said: "We understand that after 10 long years of war there is a manifest and genuine desire to seek an end to conflict.

"But equally, we must ensure that the enormous sacrifices and efforts of the past decade have not been in vain," Rao said.

"Given the history of the last few decades in Afghanistan and the tide of extremism and radicalism that has swept across that country to the great detriment of its men, women and children, one cannot but help be concerned about what the future holds for that country" after the NATO pullout, she said.

NATO leaders in a May 21 summit in Chicago had endorsed President Barack Obama's exit strategy of pulling combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

"India has invested significant resources for Afghanistan's development in areas identified by Afghanistan and our Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan is a reflection of this commitment," Rao said.

On Iran, the Indian envoy said "India believes that while Iran has rights to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, it must simultaneously and rigorously fulfil the treaty obligations which it has acceded to."


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Title: India Seeks more Talks with US on Afghan Withdrawal

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