Those providing safe havens to terrorists equally guilty: India

New Delhi/Brussels, Oct 5 (IANS) Without naming Pakistan, India on Wednesday said those providing safe havens to terrorists “are no less guilty”.

“Complacency, hypocrisy or duplicity towards godfathers of terrorism is an invitation to disaster,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup quoted in a tweet Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar as saying in his speech at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan.

“Those who provide safe havens and training to terrorists are no less guilty,” Akbar said.

Being hosted by the European Union and the Afghan government, the Brussels Conference is aimed at acting as a platform for the South Asian nation to set out its vision and track record on reform.

“For the international community, it will be the opportunity to signal sustained political and financial support to Afghan peace, state-building and development,” the conference website says.

The event is being attended by 70 countries and 30 international organisations and agencies.

On Tuesday, speaking at a meeting on regional integration and prosperity ahead of Wednesday’s conference, Akbar said that the terror and violence unleashed against Afghanistan did not allow for easy implementation of development work in the war-torn country.

“Peace is essential to development; terrorism is anathema to development,” Akbar said.

“The scale of terrorism and violence unleashed against Afghanistan is of a magnitude that simply does not allow for easy project implementation, efficient delivery of assistance or the rapid inflow of investments into an economy that has huge resources and obvious potential,” Akbar said.

“The international community must ensure security if it wants stability and economic development in Afghanistan. We cannot underline ‘must’ often enough. We abandon this duty at our own risk, for the fangs of terrorism recognise no borders.”

Akbar’s comments on Tuesday came after India pulled out of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Summit that was scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November citing Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism in the region.

New Delhi’s move came after the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an army base at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 19 Indian soldiers.

Afghanistan, along with Bangladesh and Bhutan, too pulled out of the summit citing the same reason.

In a curt message to the Saarc secretariat in Kathmandu, Kabul stated: “Due to increased level of violence and fighting as a result of imposed terrorism on Afghanistan, President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani with his responsibilities as the Commander in Chief will be fully engaged, and will not be able to attend the summit.”

In his speech in Brussels on Tuesday, Akbar said that India was committed “to work with the people and government of one of our closest friends towards peace, stability and progress in Afghanistan and in our wider region”.

“India has dedicated its efforts and resources into bilateral cooperation with Afghanistan, with improvements of internal capabilities and provision of year-round regional connectivity,” he said.