Underlining the importance of peace negotiations in Afghanistan, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Wednesday spoke against the unilateral "imposition of will" in the war-torn country while calling for preserving the gains made over the past two decades.
During a joint presser with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Mr Jaishankar said, "The gains to Afghan civil society, especially rights of women, minorities and social freedom --- over the last two decades are self-evident. Afghanistan must never be home to terrorism, nor become a source of refugees."
Mr Jaishakar made these remarks in the presence of Mr Blinken, who is on his first visit to India after assuming office. He will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This remark comes amid stalled intra-Afghan negotiations and the Taliban's growing grip over the war-torn country. The minister said it is essential that "peace negotiations are taken seriously by all parties."
"The world wishes to see an independent, sovereign, and democratic Afghanistan, at peace with itself and its neighbours. But its independence and governance will only be ensured if it is free from malign influences," he added.
Mr Jaishankar said that "unilateral imposition of will" by any party "will obviously not be democratic" and can never lead to stability. "Nor such efforts can ever acquire legitimacy."
Speaking on the COVID challenge, Mr Jaishankar thanked the Biden administration for keeping the raw material supply chains open for vaccine production in India.
"Let me acknowledge responsiveness of Biden administration to keeping the raw material supply chains open for vaccine production in India and then say big thanks for the support we received during COVID second wave from US, a support that was truly exceptional," said Mr Jaishankar.
The two sides also focused on expanding vaccine production to make it globally affordable and accessible, the minister said.
"We also discussed travel challenges resulting from COVID. The US has been very forthcoming on the issues of students," Mr Jaishankar added.
He also said that India-US cooperated on several fronts in the year 2021.
"Whether it is responding to the COVID challenge, cooperating on defense and security, encouraging trade and investment, addressing climate change or expanding education innovation, I can say truly that there is much that has happened in 2021."