May 12, 2011
At the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, paid an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
During the visit, H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh held detailed discussions with H.E. President Hamid Karzai on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
The two sides recognized the ancient, historical and traditional ties that have existed between the two countries for centuries, and their mutual desire for close cooperation to strengthen and develop these ties for mutual benefit. Drawing upon their rich and fruitful tradition of cooperation in various fields since the establishment of their diplomatic relations, and emphasizing the fundamental and lasting importance of the Treaty of Friendship between the Government of India and the Royal Government of Afghanistan of 04 January 1950, and subsequent Agreements and Joint Statements, the two sides agreed that the further comprehensive development of their bilateral strategic ties would promote progress and prosperity in both countries and the region as a whole.
The two sides agreed to impart a long term commitment to their multifaceted bilateral relations and to actively develop them in the years ahead. India and Afghanistan confirmed their adherence to the common ideals of peace, democracy, inclusive development, rule of law, non-violence, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and underlined their shared commitment to combating terrorism that threatens both countries as well as the region and the world as a whole. The two leaders shared their vision of Afghanistan as an independent, democratic, stable and prosperous country.
Reaffirming their commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, India and Afghanistan decided to establish a Strategic Partnership covering all areas of mutual interest. Based on mutual understanding and long term trust in each other, this Partnership envisages the elevation of their multifaceted ties to a higher level, both in the bilateral field and in the international arena.
The two sides declared that the Strategic Partnership between the two countries is based upon the principles of sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of States, non-interference in their internal affairs, mutual respect and mutual benefit.
The two sides decided to hold follow up discussions in the near future towards preparation of a Strategic Partnership document between the two countries. The Strategic Partnership will be implemented under the framework of a Partnership Council. The Council will be headed by the Foreign Ministers of both the countries and will meet annually. It will consist of separate Joint Working Groups (JWGs) on designated issues of common concern.
The two sides agreed that the Strategic Partnership between India and Afghanistan will include various facets of the bilateral relationship.
In the political sphere, the two sides agreed to hold regular Summit level meetings, institutionalized dialogues at various levels, regular consultations on peace and security, and closer cooperation and coordination at the United Nations and other international and regional fora.
In the area of economics and commerce, the two sides decided to enter into a Strategic Economic Partnership, recognizing the advantages of closer economic integration with the South Asian market and the region. They agreed to explore greater cooperation in sectors such as mining, metallurgy, fuel and energy, information technology, communications and transport, and also jointly explore the possibilities of regional trading arrangements with other countries. The two countries agreed on the importance of regional projects such as TAPI, in promoting regional integration.
The two sides agreed to enhance and expand cooperation in the field of education & human resource capacity development, including through expanded opportunities for education and training for Afghan students in India and a significant expansion of the ongoing Small Development Projects (SDPs) scheme for grass-root level development in all parts of Afghanistan, especially remote and rural areas, and for the welfare particularly of Afghan women and children.
The Indian side announced an additional outlay of US$ 500 million for these and other projects to be decided in consultation with Afghan partners making their total development commitment to Afghanistan US $ 2 billion. The Afghan side expressed gratitude to India for its commitment to Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development and for its generous support over the past ten years, including the new announcement of an additional US$ 500 million to its past contribution.
The two sides also emphasized the importance of parliamentary exchanges, and those in the area of media, culture, youth, civil society and people-to-people relations, to provide further substance to the Strategic Partnership between the two countries.
The two sides agreed that regional economic cooperation, with a view to assisting Afghanistan in emerging as a land bridge and trade, transportation and energy hub connecting Central and South Asia by enabling free and more unfettered transport and transit linkages would be in the interest of the country and the region as a whole. In this context, the two sides agreed on the need to explore regional infrastructure development projects and further energize cooperation under the framework of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
The two sides also agreed that an important part of their Strategic Partnership would be cooperation in the area of security, law enforcement and justice, including an enhanced focus on cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, organised crime, and illegal trafficking in narcotics, and money-laundering.
The two sides affirmed that their Strategic Partnership was not directed against any other State or group of States.