India, US to focus on development to stabilise Afghanistan


New Delhi : With power games intensifying in the wake of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 2014, India and the US have decided to develop an economic development-focused agenda to stabilise the country.

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The volatile situation in Afghanistan and the prospects of cooperation figured prominently during the talks between Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and visiting US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman Monday.

The two diplomats discussed a cluster of bilateral issues, including ongoing efforts to implement the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal, counter-terrorism and defence cooperation.

The discussions saw a meeting of minds and congruence of perspectives on Afghanistan.

“There was a discussion of developments in Afghanistan, including the road map to the transition envisaged in 2014,” said official sources here Tuesday.

“Both sides agreed that economic development needs to be focussed on in Afghanistan,” said the sources.

With the Asia-Pacific region emerging as a new arena of regional competition, Sherman explained the US’ rebalancing towards Asia, called the Asia pivot strategy in diplomatic circles.

The situation in West Asia in light of developments in Syria and violence in Gaza also figured during the discussions.

Mathai underscored India’s interest in importing LNG from the US.

Besides Mathai, Sherman also met External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon. During his discussions with Sherman, Khurshid indicated that he looked forward to engaging with the Obama Administration to take our relationship forward.

US President Barack Obama met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Cambodia last week and underlined that “India is big part of my plan”.