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Situation in Afghanistan couldn’t be seen in isolation: Modi in Italy

Situation in Afghanistan couldn't be seen in isolation: Modi in Italy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi during their meeting at Palazzo Chigi in Rome. (Photo credit: PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Italy to attend the G-20 summit, said the situation in Afghanistan couldn’t be seen in isolation. He added that the international community “would have to watch out carefully against any form of intimidation or threat emerging out of the war-torn country”.

Modi, in his first in-person meeting with Italian counterpart Mario Draghi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, pointed out that the root causes of the problems in Afghanistan had to be looked into. They are radicalism, extremism and terrorism, and the consequence of this had to be very, very carefully examined, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said during a press conference.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, two weeks before the US’ complete troop withdrawal on August 31 after a costly two-decade war.

The prime minister was quite categoric that the situation in Afghanistan could not be seen in isolation, he said.

Modi said that the failure and inability to provide good governance, the failure to be able to deal with the situation as it stands had to also be a subject of introspection, Shringla said.

The prime minister said that any form of intimidation or threat that would emerge out of Afghanistan is something that the international community would have to watch out very carefully for, the official said.

There was a strong sentiment on Afghanistan, which is fully understood both by partners in the European Union and in Italy, Shringla said, adding that both the prime ministers reciprocated those sentiments and felt that this is something that needed to be looked into.

He said that the emphasis is also on the humanitarian situation and the Italian prime minister referred to his efforts during the G20 Summit in Afghanistan to mobilise support to ensure that the people of Afghanistan did not suffer as a consequence of the current situation.

PM Modi also pointed out that there should be a distinction between those who govern and those who are people in Afghanistan and that people had to be offered humanitarian assistance, Shringla said.

He further said that there is a need to ensure that there is direct, unimpeded access of that humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, the official added. 

Modi will also hold a one-on-one meeting with Pope Francis on Saturday at the Vatican City ahead of the delegation-level talks during which they are expected to discuss a range of areas of interest in terms of the general global perspectives and issues such as COVID-19.

“The Prime Minister will have a separate call. He will be meeting his Holiness on a one-on-one basis. And that could, after a certain period of time, be followed up by delegation-level talks,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters on Friday while briefing the details of the Prime Minister’s engagements in Italy.

Shringla said the Vatican has not set any agenda for the talks. “I believe tradition is not to have an agenda when you discuss issues with His Holiness. And I think we respect that. I’m sure the issues that will be covered would cover a range of areas of interests in terms of the general global perspectives and issues that are important to all of us,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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