‘India not revising its strategic partnership with Afghanistan’

Source:  Agencies Published in US on Tuesday, September 01, 2015

KABUL – India's Ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha has rejected media reports that his government is heading for a strategic shift in relations with Afghanistan.

“India is not revising its strategic partnership with Afghanistan and its External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is not skipping a regional summit in Kabul this week to express New Delhi's displeasure over the Afghan unity government's outreach to its neighbour,” he said.

"Strategic partnerships are built on much more solid foundations, and that can’t be undone because of one meeting not happening at a senior leadership level,” he told Radio Free Afghanistan. "During the past 18 months, we have had seven summit-level meetings between our leaders."

According to a recent report in The Hindu newspaper, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is skipping the two-day Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) in Kabul on September 3 because the country is stung by Afghanistan's security and strategic shift towards Pakistan in the past year.

However, Ambassador Sinha said that Sushma has to miss the meeting because of previous engagements. But India will be represented by Sujata Mehta, a deputy foreign minister responsible for economic relations and international development assistance.

He said that Sushma Swaraj would meet her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session later this month. In 2011, Kabul and New Delhi signed a strategic partnership agreement cementing their bilateral relations and cooperation.