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India-Pakistan ties had impacted Afghanistan tremendously

NEW DELHI: Arguing that strained India-Pakistan ties had impacted Afghanistan tremendously, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai said maintaining balance between the two had been very difficult.

“India is the greatest friend of Afghanistan. India has been a tremendous contributor to Afghanistan, but the impact that Pakistan can make in Afghanistan is a lot greater than any other country. The unfortunate state of relationship between India and Pakistan has impacted Afghanistan tremendously. We did try to balance it, but the balancing was very very difficult,” he said.

Karzai was speaking at the Raisina Dialogue 2020, where he said the only way forward for his country was talks with the Taliban.

“It isn’t our war. It is not our conflict. It is somebody else’s conflict. Why should we be dying in it? Why should the Taliban be used in the conflict against their own country?”
Debate over ‘Indo-Pacific’

The US hit out at Russia for calling the Indo-Pacific concept ‘divisive’ and said the concept was “principled vision”.

US Deputy NSA Matthew Pottinger said countries that support the notion of a free and open Indo-Pacific are those that have citizen-centric visions, rather than regime-centric visions.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the Asia Pacific was a concept from colonial times.

“(Today) global commons are important and Indo-Pacific is a global common,” he said. MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the Indo-Pacific concept “was PM Narendra Modi’s vision” and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was expanding it. “The concept is inclusive”.