India for ensuring terror groups don't find sanctuaries

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday apparently made thinly-veiled references to Islamabad, saying silence and inaction against terrorism in the region will encourage terrorists and their facilitators.

India also blames Pakistan for supporting terror groups that conduct violent attacks in the country. Aziz also accused India of not treating the Pakistani media properly at the Heart of Asia meeting and said he was not allowed to have a press conference. He said that all major players must extend long-term support to Afghanistan.

He said that that peace can not prevail in South Asia without the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. "In this context, let me emphasize that peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes will further improve prospects of regional cooperation and connectivity". The member nations of the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process include India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, and Saudi Arabia. "We can not deny that the more connected Afghanistan is, the more assured would be the economic growth of Afghanistan and the region", added Mr Modi. Afghanistan should be the centre of connectivity, not peripheral.

"We also plan to connect Afghanistan with India through an air transport corridor", Modi said.

India scored a major diplomatic victory over its rival neighbour after an worldwide conference on Afghanistan here on Sunday named Pakistan-based terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, as grave threats to peace in the South Asian region.

Addressing a press conference after, Sartaj Aziz said that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's statement against Pakistan is condemnable.

"There is a necessity to create a fund to combat terrorism".

Last year, Afghanistan suffered the highest number of civilian casualties and military-related deaths in the world, Ghani said.

"As a Taliban figure said recently, if they had no sanctuary in Pakistan, they wouldn't last a month", said the Afghan President.

Ghani thanked Pakistan for its pledge to donate $500 million, but said: "This fund, Mr. Aziz, could very well be used for containing extremism because without peace any amount of assistance will not meet the needs of our people".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had visited the Golden Temple yesterday, while Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited it today.

Observing that regional cooperation plays an important role in ensuring political stability and promoting economic cooperation, he said, "Postponement of the SAARC Summit scheduled in Islamabad in November was a setback to these efforts and "undermined the spirit of regional cooperation".

█ India's assistance transparent and with no strings attached.

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