The Union Ministry of External Affairs on Monday said that the Indian government will help members of the Hindu and Sikh communities from Afghanistan who want to come to India, reported PTI.
“We are in constant touch with the representatives of Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities,” ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. “We will facilitate repatriation to India of those who wish to leave Afghanistan.”
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on Sunday evening after making rapid advances through the country amid amid the withdrawal of foreign troops. Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani left the country, reportedly for neighbouring Tajikistan.
The airspace over Afghanistan was closed on Monday afternoon after thousands fearful of Taliban rule desperately thronged the airport in an attempt to flee the war-torn country. At least five people were reportedly killed amid the chaos at the Kabul airport. Some videos showed horrifying images of at least two people who tried to escape Kabul by clinging to a plane fall after takeoff.
Bagchi told reporters in Delhi that the suspension of commercial flights has paused India’s repatriation efforts, reported NDTV. “We are awaiting the resumption of flights to restart the process,” he said.
“The situation in Afghanistan is being monitored on a constant basis at high levels,” Bagchi added. “The government will take all steps to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals and our interests in Afghanistan.”
The spokesperson said that New Delhi will stand by the Afghans who have been India’s partners in promoting mutual developmental, educational and people-to-people endeavours.
He said that the Indian government had issued several advisories for the safety of its citizens in Afghanistan, including calling for their immediate return.
“We had circulated emergency contact numbers and had also been extending assistance to community members,” Bagchi added. “We are aware that there are still some Indian nationals in Afghanistan who wish to return and we are in touch with them.”
Will feel safer if there’s zero tolerance for terror: India at UNSC
India on Monday said that Afghanistan’s neighbours will feel safer if there is zero tolerance for all forms of terrorism and if “it is ensured that the territory of Afghanistan is not used by terrorist groups to threaten or attack any other country”.
India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations TS Tirumurti made the statement at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, held under India’s presidency, on the situation in Afghanistan.
Tirumurti added that the current situation is of great concern to India as “Afghan men, women and children are living under a constant state of fear” and are uncertain about their future.
He also urged the international community to ensure the violence in Afghanistan comes to an end soon.
Here is the full text of Tirumurti’s speech at the meeting:
Excellencies, Dear colleagues,
Allow me at the outset to warmly welcome the Secretary General and his important remarks. I also welcome the presence of the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations.
The Council is meeting for the second time in a period of ten days to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. In this short period of time, we have witnessed dramatic changes in the situation. We have also seen very unfortunate scenes at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. There is widespread panic among the people. Women and children are in distress. Incidents of firing have been reported from the city, including at the airport. While the security situation remains precarious, a grave humanitarian crisis is unfolding.
We have heard urgent appeals from all quarters, including the Secretary General. It is time for the international community, in particular, this Council, to act and ensure an immediate cessation of violence and contain any possible crisis and mitigate its consequences.
As a neighbour of Afghanistan and a friend to its people, the current situation prevailing in the country is of great concern to us in India. Afghan men, women and children are living under a constant state of fear. They are uncertain about their future. Everyone is concerned about the increasing violations of the fundamental rights of Afghan citizens. Afghans are worried about whether their right to live with dignity would be respected. There are many unanswered questions.
We hope that the situation stabilizes soon, and the parties concerned address the humanitarian and security issues. We also hope that there is an inclusive dispensation which represents all sections of Afghan society. Voices of Afghan women, aspirations of Afghan children and the rights of minorities must be respected. A broader representation would help the arrangement gain more acceptability and legitimacy.
The current situation in Afghanistan has numerous challenges. However, there are a few opportunities. If there is a zero tolerance for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and it is ensured that the territory of Afghanistan is not used by terrorist groups to threaten or attack any other country, then Afghanistan’s neighbours and the region would feel safer. The Secretary General has underlined this unequivocally just now.
Afghanistan has already seen enough bloodshed in the past. It is time for the international community to come together unitedly, rising above any partisan interests, to support the people of Afghanistan in their desire for peace, stability and security in the country and to enable all Afghans, including women, children and minorities, to live in peace and dignity.
India has contributed significantly in recent years to the development of the country. In this context, Indian development projects have been undertaken in critical areas of power, water supply, road connectivity, healthcare, education, agriculture and capacity building. India’s emphasis has been on the welfare and well-being of the people of Afghanistan. Before the current crisis unfolded, India had ongoing development projects in every one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan.
As underscored by Council members, we need to continue to support the robust work of UNAMA and ensure their safety. We call upon the parties concerned to maintain law and order, ensure the safety and security of all concerned, including UN, diplomatic and consular personnel, and observe human rights and international humanitarian law in all circumstances in Afghanistan.