India, Australia pitch for ‘broad-based and inclusive’ government in Afghanistan

By The Hindu

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.

In a joint statement issued early on Sunday following the inaugural India-Australia 2+2 ministerial dialogue, the two sides sought the protection of rights of women and children and their full participation in public life and expressed concerns over targeted violence against the defenders of their rights.

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.

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