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China, India eyes joint Afghanistan strategy
April 18, 2013, 2:12 pm

An archaeological dig located at the world's second-biggest unexploited copper mine in Kabul, Afghanistan. [AP]

China and India also discussed the tapping of large mineral resources in Afghanistan [AP]

China and India are evolving a joint strategy to deal with the possible return of Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan after the departure of US troops next year.

India and China have on Thursday held their first dialogue on Afghanistan in Beijing.

“The two sides agreed that Afghan issue concerns regional security and stability”, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing in Beijing.

India and China reiterated their support for an Afghan led and Afghan owned reconciliation process, the Chinese spokesperson asserted.

“China and India are two important countries in the region and consultations on Afghanistan helps them to coordinate positions, deepen cooperation and contribute to early settlement of the issue”, she said.

China is trying to seek convergence of positions with India for a joint strategy to deal with the volatile situation with the likely return of Taliban and al-Qaeda militant groups.

China and India also discussed the tapping of large mineral resources in Afghanistan, among major multilateral projects.

The talks in Beijing today were held between Yash Sinha, additional secretary, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran (PAI), and Luo Zhaohui, director general of the Asian division of the Chinese foreign ministry.

Afghanistan loomed large on this month’s annual Counter Terrorism talks between India and China.

China’s investments in Afghanistan amounted to around $3 billion.

India has been one of the largest donors to Afghanistan, assisting with its humanitarian needs, energy projects, and even the construction of the parliament building in Kabul.

A group of Indian companies which in 2011 won rights to mine iron-ore in Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, should invest $10 billion to $13 billion, and Chinese firms should commit $5 billion to $7 billion on the Aynak copper deposit in Logar province, Afghanistan’s finance minister Zakhilwal said in January this year.

Afghanistan borders China’s volatile Xinjiang province where the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, an al-Qaeda affiliated group is fomenting a separatist movement among a majority Muslim Uygur community.

The Hindu said that while India has more political influence in Kabul, China “scores over India in its ability to influence the behaviour of violence prone groups through its close ally Pakistan.”

The Chinese premier Li Keqiang will be visiting New Delhi next month to boost bilateral ties between the two Asian giants.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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