India on Monday said that as a neighbour of Afghanistan, the current situation in the war-torn country is of “great concern” to it and hoped that there is an inclusive dispensation that represents all sections of the society, underling that a “broader representation” would help the arrangement gain more acceptability and legitimacy.
The UN Security Council, currently being presided over by India for the month of August, held a meeting for the second time in a period of 10 days to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
“In the short period of time, we have witnessed dramatic changes in the situation. We have also seen very unfortunate scenes at the Hamad Karzai International Airport in Kabul,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said.
Making a statement in his national capacity at the UNSC meeting, Tirumurti said “as a neighbour of Afghanistan, as a friend of its people, the current situation prevailing in the country is of great concern to us in India.”
It is time for the international community, in particular the Security Council, to act and ensure an immediate cessation of violence and contain any possible crisis and mitigate its consequences, he said.
As the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates even further, Tirumurti said Afghans are worried about whether their right to live with dignity would be respected.
“There are many unanswered questions. We hope that the situation stabilises soon and the parties concerned address the humanitarian and security issues.
“We also hope that there is an inclusive dispensation which represents all sections of Afghan society. Voices of Afghan women, aspirations of Afghan children and the rights of minorities must be respected. A broader representation would help the arrangement gain more acceptability and legitimacy,” Tirumurti said.
Emphasising that the current situation in Afghanistan has numerous challenges, he said there are a few opportunities.
“If there is a zero-tolerance for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and it is ensured that the territory of Afghanistan is not used by terrorist groups to threaten or attack any other country, then Afghanistan’s neighbours and the region would feel safer,” Tirumurti said, making a thinly-veiled reference to Pakistan.
He noted that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also “underlined this unequivocally just now”. In his address to the Council, Guterres said that the international community must unite to make sure that Afghanistan is never again used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist organisations.
Tirumurti noted with concern that there is widespread panic among the people and women and children are in distress in Afghanistan. “Incidents of firing have been reported from the city including at the airport. While the security situation remains precarious, a grave humanitarian crisis is unfolding. We have heard urgent appeals from all quarters, including from the Secretary-General.
“Afghanistan has already seen enough bloodshed in the past. It is time for the international community to come together unitedly, rising above any partisan interests, to support the people of Afghanistan in their desire for peace, stability and security in the country and to enable all Afghans, including women, children and minorities, to live in peace and dignity,” the Indian envoy said.
He highlighted that India has contributed significantly in recent years to the development of the country. In this context, Indian development projects has been undertaken in critical areas of power, water, road, healthcare, education, agriculture and capacity building.
“India’s emphasis has been on the welfare and the wellbeing of the people of Afghanistan. Before the current crisis unfolded, India had ongoing development projects in every one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan,” Tirumurti said, adding that there is a need to continue to support the robust work of the UN mission in Afghanistan and ensure their safety.
“We call upon the parties concerned to maintain law and order, ensure the safety and security of all concerned, including UN, diplomatic and consular personnel, and observe human rights and international humanitarian law in all circumstances in Afghanistan,” he added.