Joint VIF-RUSI-CICIR Conference on Afghanistan
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A trilateral conference on the theme of “China, India, UK and Afghanistan- A partnership for Stability” was organized at the VIF premises from 02 to 05 March 2015. The main objective of the deliberations was to find ways and means of cooperation amongst the regional powers in order to bring peace, stability and prosperity to Afghanistan. The Royal United Services Institute, UK delegation was led by Prof. Malcolm Chalmers and included Mr. Raffaello Pantucci and Edward Schwark and Ms Emily Winterbotham. The Chinese delegation was represented by Senior Colonel (Retd) Bai Zonglin, Dr. Jenny Jiang and Mr. Hebotao. Dr. Amrullah Saleh and Amb. Sultan Ahmed Baheen formed part of the Afghan delegation. The Indian side was represented by Gen. NC Vij, Lt. Gen RK Sawhney, Amb. TCA Rangachari, Amb. Jayant Prasad and Brig. Vinod Anand as the main speakers along with a large number of Indian strategic community including Amb. Kanwal Sibal, Mr. C Sahay and Mr. Jaidev Ranade.

The seminar was divided into eight sessions over two days. On the first day, the participants discussed the emerging security situation in Afghanistan where problems of equipping and funding the Afghan National Security Forces were highlighted. Continued funding and support in terms of air and surveillance cover was underscored. In session two, the need for connectivity and building of infrastructure and investment in Afghanistan was highlighted. Here, the possibilities of synergies between China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and India’s Connect Central Asia Policy were discussed. There was a degree of consensus that cooperation between China and India in the fields of agriculture, health and education in Afghanistan could be possible. The third session was devoted to the state of reconciliation process in Afghanistan with the latest developments of China taking the lead as also President Ashraf Ghani’s reliance on Pakistan to push forward the process. Session four involved discussions on future of Afghanistan and how various regional organizations could be helpful in stabilizing Afghanistan.

On the second day, the Deputy National Security Advisor, Dr. Arvind Gupta gave out his perspective on various aspects of the evolving situation in Afghanistan and India’s approach to the same. This was followed by a session on how Indian investors assess the environment in Afghanistan for investing their funds. Mr. Manish Mohan, Regional Director South and Central Asia, Confederation of Indian Industry explained at length the nature of presence of Indian companies in Afghanistan. Mr. Rakesh Gaur, Vice President, KEC International outlined his company’s activities in Afghanistan and problems and issues connected with operating in Afghanistan. The Company is involved in power transmission, distribution, telecommunication and railways in Afghanistan and has undertaken a number of projects in Afghanistan. Even the power transmission and distribution aspects of CASA-1000 project are being handled by the company but the project has not made much headway because of the recent happenings in Peshawar which is considered more unstable as compared to places in Afghanistan. The last session on 4th March involved group discussions on how to take out a publication based on the deliberations of the conference.

The last day involved an interactive session with local and international media where the participants interacted with print and electronic media on the evolving scenario in Afghanistan, different perspectives of the regional powers and possibilities of cooperation in Afghanistan. The conference received a wide coverage in the newspapers, online publications and on TV channels.

Event Date 
March 2, 2015
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