India flags security challenges faced by Afghanistan at SCO meet

The SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group Meeting was held here today during which India underlined the security challenges posed by terrorism imposed from beyond the borders of the war-torn country. The Indian delegation was led by Additional Secretary (Multilateral Diplomacy) Gitesh Sarma at the second meeting of SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said. The meeting discussed issues on three agendas, namely the current situation of Afghanistan and its neighbouring regions, the reconciliation process in Afghanistan and role of SCO, and measures for cooperation between SCO and Afghanistan, the MEA said in a statement. India shared its perspectives on the security situation in Afghanistan, including security challenges posed by terrorism and extremism imposed from beyond its borders, extended support to the peace offer made by the President of Afghanistan to the armed opposition for talks in February this year and the need for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan controlled national peace and reconciliation in an environment free of terror and violence, it said. India also stressed on continued assistance for socio-economic development based on priorities of the Afghan people and ensuring greater connectivity and regional integration for Afghanistan. India reiterated its support to the membership of Afghanistan in the SCO, the statement said. It also conveyed its readiness to work closely with the SCO member states in efforts to bring peace, prosperity and stability in Afghanistan. On the sidelines of the Contact Group meeting, the Indian delegation held bilateral consultations with the delegations of China, Afghanistan, Russia and Tajikistan. The SCO in which China plays an influential role is comprised of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan were admitted to the organisation last year. Iran, along with Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia, is an observer in the SCO.