Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (centre), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee (left) at the ceremonial reception for the visiting leader at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi yesterday. Image Credit: AFP

New Delhi: India on Tuesday offered assistance to war-ravaged Afghanistan in diverse sectors including defence as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held extensive talks during which both leaders stressed the need for concrete action to dismantle terror networks.

According to sources, Indian side told the Afghan delegation that Afghanistan should “let their defence requirements be known” to India.

Significantly, Gani’s predecessor Hamid Karzai was strongly pushing for supply of military hardware by India to enhance Afghan defence capability.

In the meeting, Modi and Ghani, who is here on his first visit after assuming office in September last, discussed host of key issues including connectivity and security, with the Prime Minister making a strong pitch for a positive and constructive approach from neighbours of Afghanistan including to end support for violence.

Asserting that Indo-Afghan partnership has blossomed despite barriers of geography and hurdles of politics, Modi said the success of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process within the framework of the Constitution of Afghanistan, without the shadow of violence was in their shared interest.

After the comprehensive talks with Ghani on entire gamut of bilateral ties as well as on key regional and international issues, Modi, at a joint press event with the visiting leader, said he conveyed India’s support for his vision for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“We have a shared interest in the success of an Afghan- led and Afghan-owned process. This should be conducted within the framework of the Constitution of Afghanistan, without the shadow of violence.

“It should reinforce the political, economic and social progress of the last fourteen years. And, it should protect the rights and aspirations of all sections of the society, including Afghan women,” Modi said.

The Afghan President identified terror as a major challenge facing the region and said his government was determined to make Afghanistan the “graveyard of terror”.

Without naming Pakistan, which has been accused by the previous Afghan government of supporting violence in Afghanistan, Modi said, “Its (process) success requires a positive and constructive approach from neighbours, including an end to support for violence.”

Noting that India deeply values its friendship and goodwill with Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said the country stands with the people of Afghanistan as they build a united, stable, democratic and prosperous nation.

“This comes from the responsibility of our friendship. It also stems from our commitment to regional peace and progress And, it will not be limited to the period of transition or the decade of transformation. This is an enduring commitment,” Modi added.

On his part, Ghani, who has visited China and Pakistan before coming here and has pro-Islamabad approach, appreciated India’s contribution in reconstruction efforts in his country as also massive human resource development projects for Afghan youths, sources said.

India has so far contributed over USD two billion for various projects including in social sector.