General Assembly Security Council

UNSC Debate on UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)

[23 March 2021; 1000 hours]

 

Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

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Madam President,

 

I would like to begin by thanking SRSG Deborah Lyons for her comprehensive briefing and join other members in expressing my delegation’s appreciation for the work done by UNAMA in Afghanistan. I would also like to thank Ms. Shaharzad Akbar, Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, for her remarks.  I deeply appreciate the statement of Ambassador Adela Raz of Afghanistan.

 

Madam President,

 

2. Afghanistan is going through a critical phase. The violence, unabated terror attacks and targeted assassinations have reached unprecedented levels. Targeted attacks on Afghan security forces, ulema, innocent students in schools and universities, women occupying positions of responsibility, journalists, civil rights activists, youth and minority communities only serve to highlight the concerted effort by terrorists and their sponsors to erode the gains of the last two decades. The report of the Secretary General makes it clear that regrettably the commencement of the intra-Afghan talks has not resulted in a decrease in violence; on the contrary, it has only increased.

 

3. The members of this Council came together earlier this month to strongly condemn the alarming number of attacks deliberately targeting civilians in Afghanistan. They also expressed their deep concern about the threat posed by terrorism to Afghanistan and the region. These attacks are aimed at forcing the Afghan people to make pre-determined choices through coercion and spreading fear and intimidation within the society. As Afghanistan’s immediate neighbour, we are deeply concerned at the rising use of violence as a tool for pressure tactics.

 

4. India believes that an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan is the need of the hour. This is not only in the interest of the people of Afghanistan, who have been the victims of unrelenting violence, but a basic prerequisite for the success of the peace process. It goes without saying that talks and violence cannot go hand in hand.

 

Madam President,

 

5. India supports all efforts towards achieving sustainable peace, security and stability in Afghanistan. Such a process must be transparent, inclusive, Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, fully respecting the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan.

 

6. The gains of the last two decades must be preserved in any constitutional framework that Afghanistan designs for itself. The rights of women, minorities and the vulnerable need to be protected, and respect for human rights and democracy needs to be ensured. Full participation of women and ethnic and religious minorities in the peace process is essential to preserve a democratic and pluralistic polity.

 

7. For enduring peace in Afghanistan, terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries must be dismantled immediately and terrorist supply chains broken. There needs to be zero tolerance for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It is 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, without any double standards.

 

8. For Afghanistan’s economic development, it is important to have unhindered access to the high seas. The international community should work towards the removal of artificial transit barriers imposed on Afghanistan and ensure full transit rights guaranteed to Afghanistan under bilateral and multilateral transit agreements without any hindrance.

  

Madam President,

 

9. As neighbours, India and Afghanistan share a natural and long-standing historical relationship. Our strategic partnership and enduring commitment to the development of Afghanistan reflect this time-tested partnership.

 

10. In pursuance of the same, India has committed over USD 3 billion towards development, reconstruction and capacity building in Afghanistan over the last 20 years. We have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Afghanistan for building the Shatoot dam, which would provide safe drinking water to the residents of Kabul city. India is also launching Phase-IV of its High Impact Community Development Projects in Afghanistan, which include more than 100 projects worth US$ 80 million. As of today, our developmental footprint is spread across all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.

 

11. To provide greater regional connectivity, India has operationalized air freight corridors and the Chabahar Port. India extended humanitarian assistance of 75,000 MT of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port to overcome food insecurity in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, as a part of our endeavour to help Afghanistan tide over the COVID-19 pandemic, we have contributed to the supply of 9,68,000 doses of Made in India vaccines to Afghanistan, 500,000 of which were supplied by India as a grant.

 

Madam President,

 

12. Several Indian nationals, especially our diplomats, including my dear colleague V. Venkateshwar Rao and also Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta, and engineers and doctors, have sacrificed their lives for Afghanistan while on duty. We in India, therefore, have the highest stakes in ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan. We are ready to work with all stakeholders including regional countries towards that objective.

 

13. India continues to stand with Afghanistan in ensuring restoration of normalcy through a legitimate democratic process that is essential for the long-term stability of Afghanistan and the region. India will continue to provide all support to the Government and people of Afghanistan in realizing their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future, free of terror, so that as to protect and promote the rights and interests of all sections of Afghan society.

 

I thank you.