New Delhi, Beijing to jointly train Afghan diplomats in rare collaboration

India and China will jointly train Afghan diplomats from mid-October this year, in a rare third-country collaboration, official sources said on Wednesday. The decision follows a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The genesis for this joint collaboration was agreed upon during the meeting between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Wuhan summit in April this year. 
The joint undertaking by New Delhi and Beijing in Afghanistan assumes significance as it is the first between two feuding neighbours. It also points to Beijing acknowledging India’s view points on the Afghan scenario.
“The cooperation with China on Afghanistan is going to be in the sector of training of diplomats. Part of the training will take place at the Foreign Service Training Institute in New Delhi, while the other part will take place in Beijing,” the source said.
Ghani briefed Modi on initiatives by his government towards peace and reconciliation and also in confronting the challenges of terrorism and extremism imposed on Afghanistan and its people, a statement by the ministry of external affairs said.
Sources said Ghani shared his assessment of the security situation in Ghazni province and expressed confidence that his government and the Afghan security forces will be able to handle the situation there.
Ghani gave the Indian government an account of the recent Taliban attack on Ghazni, in which over 100 “foreign nationals” were killed by Afghan forces. These, he said, had come from Pakistan. Media reports showed a number of bodies returned to Pakistani towns for last rites.
Ghani also informed the Indian side that Islamic State was increasing its presence in Afghanistan, something that has been echoed by the US, Russia and Iran separately. However, the Afghan assessement of the composition of IS continues to be that they are mainly disaffected TTP members from Orakzai agency of Pakistan, confirming once again that Pakistan’s interference in Afghanistan was unchanged.
Modi is reported to have raised the issue of seven abducted Indians in Afghanistan, who have gone missing since May this year. Ghani said he was “personally monitoring” the progress in securing the release of the Indian engineers who were abducted.
“The prime minister reiterated India’s support to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation process that would enable Afghanistan to continue as a united, peaceful, inclusive and democratic nation and emerge as an economically vibrant country. The prime minister emphasised India’s unwavering commitment to support the efforts of the government of Afghanistan to this end, as also for the security and sovereignty of Afghanistan. He unequivocally condemned terrorist attacks and violence in Afghanistan which have caused immense loss of precious human lives and expressed solidarity with the people and national defence forces of Afghanistan in their fight against terrorism,” the official statement by MEA said.
The two leaders reviewed the progress of the multi-faceted India-Afghanistan strategic partnership.
Addressing a civic reception in his honour by the India Foundation, Ghani said the war in Afghnaistan was an “unrestricted war”, targeting civilians and places of worship. Defending his ceasefire offer to Taliban, he said it was widely welcomed in the country. “Peace in Afghanistan must be an inclusive peace. Why is peace with Taliban important? Because if we arrive at peace with Taliban, we can concentrate on counter-terrorism. No matter how much the process goes on for and how much blood is spilt, Taliban are part of our society.”