India, China agree to jointly train Afghan diplomats

Published October 16, 2018
China's Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui. ─ Photo courtesy Chinese Embassy in India.
China's Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui. ─ Photo courtesy Chinese Embassy in India.

NEW DELHI: India and China have launched a programme to impart training to 10 Afghan diplomats which will be followed by similar joint plans to help rebuild the war-torn country, said China’s Ambas­sador to India Luo Zhaohui on Monday in a speech.

“This is just the beginning. China and India have respective advantages. For example, India has remarkable edge in agriculture and medical services, and China in hybrid rice and poverty reduction, he said.

“I am sure that in the future days China-India cooperation in Afghanistan will span from training programme to more concrete projects.”

In many of these countries, China is helping to build infrastructure as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, which India see as a bid by China to expand its influence.

China’s call for partnership comes just a week after its embassy in New Delhi said India and China must deepen their cooperation to fight trade protectionism, as it criticised the United States for what it termed provoking disputes.

China’s ambassador said the joint training of Afghan diplomats at the Indian Foreign Service Institute was the first step in China-India-Afghanistan cooperation that was agreed this year at a summit between President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi and Xi agreed to handle long-standing political differences peacefully at the summit in China.

Luo said India-China cooperation in Afghanistan should be extended to countries such as Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Myanmar and Iran. Such cooperation is the first by the two Asian giants which have long been locked in a tussle for influence in the region.

Within Afghanistan, India and the China have been on opposite sides with China relying on its old ally Pakistan as it seeks to stabilise Afghanistan by various means. India, on the other hand, has invested billions of dollars in economic projects and training of military officers to strengthen the Afghan government in its fight against the Taliban.

For its part, Pakistan sees the expansive diplomacy in Afghanistan by its old rival as a way to encircle it.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2018

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