India and Australia have called for a “broad-based and inclusive” government in Afghanistan to ensure long-term peace and stability in the war-torn country, signalling their clear unwillingness to accord any recognition to the Taliban regime.
The two countries underlined the urgent need for all countries to take “immediate, sustained, verifiable and irreversible” action to ensure that no territory under their control is used for terrorist attacks and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such strikes. Australia reiterated its condemnation of terrorist attacks in India, including 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot and Pulwama attacks, and reiterated its support for New Delhi in the fight against terrorism, the joint statement said.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held in-person talks on Saturday with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton. In the talks, the ministers renewed commitment to achieving an “early harvest” announcement by December on an interim agreement to liberalise and deepen bilateral trade in goods and services that would pave the way for an early conclusion of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).
“The ministers also underscored the importance of an early resolution of the issue of taxation of offshore income of Indian firms under the India-Australia Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement,” the joint statement said.
On the situation in Afghanistan, the statement said the ministers expressed deep concern over it. “The ministers called for the Taliban to guarantee safe passage for foreign nationals and Afghans wanting to leave the country. They reiterated calls on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to adhere to counterterrorism commitments and human rights, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2593,” statement said.
“In this regard, the ministers reiterated their call for protection of rights of women and children and their full participation in public life,” it said. “The ministers agreed that a broad-based and inclusive government is necessary for long term peace and stability in Afghanistan. The ministers also agreed to remain alert to the broader repercussions of the developments in Afghanistan for the ongoing terrorist threats around the world, and in our region,” it said.