India offers $1 bn in fresh aid to Afghanistan

Published: September 14, 2016
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (left) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet in New Delhi on September 14, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (left) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet in New Delhi on September 14, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: India offered Afghanistan a fresh $1 billion in economic assistance after their leaders met in New Delhi on Wednesday to strengthen already close ties between the neighbours.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s commitment to helping the war-torn country strengthen its education, health, agriculture and other sectors during talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

In a joint statement, India announced the $1 billion offer, but there was no mention of providing weapons to help Afghanistan fight militants, which it has previously asked for.

Modi and Ghani called in the statement for an end to sponsorship and support of militants.

They did not name Pakistan, but they have previously accused their neighbour of supporting extremists.

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“The two leaders discussed the regional situation and expressed grave concern at continued use of terrorism and violence in the region for achieving political objectives,” Indian foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said.

“They called upon the concerned to put an end to all sponsorship, support, safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists, including for those who target Afghanistan and India,” he told reporters.

The Afghan government has accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban, while Delhi says Pakistan supports rebels crossing the border into Indian-held Kashmir — claims that Islamabad denies.

Ghani is expected to give a speech to a think tank on “global terrorism” later Wednesday as part of his two-day visit to the capital.

India, the fifth largest bilateral donor in Afghanistan, has been a key supporter of Kabul’s government and has poured more than $2 billion into the country since the Taliban was toppled in 2001.

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Delhi’s active engagement has led analysts to point to the threat of a “proxy war” in Afghanistan between India and its arch-rival Pakistan.

Pakistan has long been accused of supporting the insurgents in Afghanistan.

Modi visited Afghanistan in June to inaugurate a $290 million hydroelectric dam project, and opened Afghanistan’s new parliament complex in Kabul in December, built by India at an estimated cost of $90 million.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Haider
    Sep 15, 2016 - 12:03AM

    And what India need in return? Nothing in this world comes for free.Recommend

  • Truth
    Sep 15, 2016 - 12:21AM

    Its unfortunate that since 70 years Pakistan never had a visionary nor dynamic leader like Afghan current President Ashraf Ghani. India and Afghanistan are looking towards the future while Pakistan is stuck between a hard rock and a deep place.Recommend

  • Pukhtoon
    Sep 15, 2016 - 1:38AM

    If some Indians are naive enough to actually believe that the Afghans would forget and forgive whose side the Indians were on when the Soviets were invading and plundering Afghanistan, and also the fact that Pakistan’s KPK and Baluchistan absorbed and sheltered the maximum number of Afghan refugees in the world, then let us not wake those few Indians from their sweet dream. As of right now, many in India are already questioning the wisdom of this sure-to-prove-futile spending in a highly unstable country, while a third of Indians themselves don’t have access to drinking water or toilets and basic health facilities. Where only days back, wheel stopped and business was paralyzed due to biggest ever strike in which 30 crore plus refused to go to work citing exploitation. Anyone not wishing India well would simply sit back and watch the BJP undo their country. Recommend

  • Salim Khan
    Sep 15, 2016 - 6:55AM

    Indian aid has always been for capacity building and positive activities that helped nations grow on the path of progress instead of others who give it as corrupt money (USA) or trying to make more money by investing some money like China.Recommend

  • ZAK
    Sep 15, 2016 - 7:24AM

    India is not Afg immediate neighbour.
    Ghani should request moodi to accomodate millions of Afg Mohajreen in India.

    These Afg are currently residing in Pakistan.
    In order to reach India you ll have to pass through Pakistan.Recommend

  • JA
    Sep 15, 2016 - 9:10AM

    Enjoy Afghanistan, and Pakistan, expect more noise from them as refueling has been doneRecommend

  • baba
    Sep 15, 2016 - 9:29AM

    All Afghan refugees now need to be sent to India, as a good will gesture.Recommend

  • ra
    Sep 15, 2016 - 9:30AM

    we will always help Afghanistan,it has right to develop,just see how Bangladesh, Indonesia,Malaysia,Turkey, arab nation are developing.we want to see Afghanistan devoloping and became self reliant.Afghanistan is not ideological state,its is well established country.its people need self confidence.Recommend

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