India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for his bold steps towards peace and expressed hope that it will be respected by all parties, referring to a ceasefire announced by the Afghan leader for Eid.
Addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in China, Modi also promised that India will play an active role in the contact group for Afghanistan under the SCO banner, the Times of India reported.
"Afghanistan is an unfortunate example of effect of extremism and terrorism. I hope the bold initiatives towards peace taken by President Ghani will be respected by all parties," Modi said at the summit.
The ceasefire will last from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr - June 12-19.
Responding to Ghani's announcement, the Taliban on Saturday announced the suspension of fighting for the first three days of Eid - the first ceasefire by the militant group in Afghanistan since 2001.
Modi’s comments came after India and China’s recent agreement to undertake a joint economic project in Afghanistan. They agreed to move forward in identifying a specific project initially in the area of capacity building in Afghanistan.
Modi on Sunday meanwhile appealed for a regional front against terrorism and slammed attempts to "threaten" peace in Afghanistan.
At the restricted session of the Shanghai Cooperation Summit in the Chinese city of Qingdao, Modi said the worsening situation in Afghanistan was "an unfortunate example" of terrorism.
"All parties in the region should respect the sentiment with which (Afghan) President Ghani has taken courageous steps for peace," Modi said.
He said it was "our common responsibility to ensure that reasons that threaten Afghanistan's sovereignty and security are not repeated".
Addressing Sunday's session of the summit, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said a new agreement approved by the bloc spells out plans for joint anti-terror efforts for the next three years. The bloc includes China, Russia, four ex-Soviet Central Asian nations, India and Pakistan, AP reported.
Putin said the bloc's new counterterrorism agreement foresees joint drills, exchanging information and conducting coordinated anti-terror action.
He emphasized the need for the group to closely follow the situation in Afghanistan to fend off the threats posed by militants in the country.
Founded in 2001, the Beijing-based bloc was originally conceived as a vehicle for resolving border issues, fighting terrorism and — more implicitly — to counter American influence in Central Asia following its invasion of Afghanistan.