India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti on Friday said there should be zero tolerance for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations for enduring peace in Afghanistan and terrorist safe havens in the region must be dismantled.
Addressing United Nations Security Council (UNSC) briefing on Afghanistan, Mr Tirumurti said, “It needs to be ensured that Afghanistan’s neighbours and the region are not threatened by terrorism, separatism and extremism.”
“There needs to be zero tolerance for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It is equally important to ensure that the territory of Afghanistan is not used by terrorist groups to threaten or attack any other country. Those providing material and financial support to terrorist entities must be held accountable.” The envoy said that the current situation prevailing in Afghanistan is of great concern to India.
The violence shows no sign of abating. The report of the UN makes it clear that civilian casualties and targeted killings have reached record levels. There have been targeted attacks on religious and ethnic minorities, girl students, Afghan security forces, Ulemas, women occupying positions of responsibility, journalists, civil rights activists and the youth.”
Making a reference to the recent killing of Indian journalist Danish Siddiqui and the attack on the Afghan Defence Minister, the envoy said, “More than 100 Afghan civilians were mercilessly killed in Spin Boldak. The rapid deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan constitutes a serious threat to regional peace and stability.”
“It is, therefore, time for the international community and, in particular, this Council to take stock of the situation, and decide on actions that would help bring a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire and ensure an immediate cessation of violence.”
Anything short of this will constitute a serious threat to regional peace and security, Mr Tirumurti added.
Extending support for dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the Indian envoy said, “If the peace process is to be successful, then it is necessary to ensure that the Taliban engage in negotiations in good faith, eschew the path of violence, sever ties with the Al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations, and commit itself towards reaching a political solution.”
Violence and military threat cannot be used to strengthen the negotiating position of any side. A tangible demonstration of this commitment is required, he added.
Mr Tirumurti further said that India wishes to see an independent, peaceful, sovereign, democratic, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. “I would like to reiterate our support for an inclusive, Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process. Any political arrangement or settlement in Afghanistan must ensure that the gains of the last two decades are protected, and not reversed.”
He further said India supports a leading role for the United Nations and calls on the Secretary General to take an initiative towards finding a lasting and durable outcome. “We welcome any move towards a genuine political settlement that leads to these objectives. The only way forward are negotiations that will provide an acceptable compromise reflecting the Doha Process, the Moscow Format and the Istanbul Process.”
Lastly, he concluded by saying that India will continue to stand with Afghanistan in ensuring that peace and stability are restored through a legitimate and transparent democratic process that is essential for the long-term stability of Afghanistan and the region “We will continue to provide all support to Afghanistan in realizing their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future, free of terror, where the rights and interests of all sections of the Afghan society are promoted and protected.”