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India-US talks focus on Afghanistan
June 25, 2013, 7:47 am


Indian external affairs minister Salman Khurshid (left) and US secretary of state John Kerry in New Delhi [AP]

The Joint Statement on the Fourth Indo-US Strategic Dialogue issued after talks between external affairs minister Salman Khurshid and US secretary of state John Kerry stressed on an Afghan-led reconciliation process, calling for concerted international support to forge a stable Afghanistan.

The new US Af-Pak envoy James Dobbins will be in Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the reconciliation process with the Indians, Kerry said at a joint press conference with Khurshid.

India’s external affairs minister said: “The secretary of state himself said that as they proceed, they will ensure that none of the concerns of India are overlooked or undermined.”

India has already pledged $2 billion in assistance to Kabul.

In April, China and India held their first official dialogue on Afghanistan in an attempt to forge 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.

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’s President Hamid Karzai asserted in May that India is among the closest of countries to Afghanistan and according to many surveys the country most liked by the Afghan people.

During Monday’s talks, India and the US also agreed to set a timeline for operationalising the civil nuclear agreement.

The joint statement, however, did not hold any US backing for India’s bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

International hotspots like Syria and Iran also found no mention in the statement.

With inputs from Agencies

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