India pledges $ 2 billion for Afghanistan

By: |
November 24, 2020 7:50 PM

“India is committed to a long-term role for the development of Afghanistan,” the external affairs minister S Jaishankar said at a virtual international pledging conference.

Vocational education is being provided to an increasing number of women in Afghanistan. (Representative image)Vocational education is being provided to an increasing number of women in Afghanistan. (Representative image)

Calling for an immediate and a comprehensive ceasefire, India on Tuesday (Nov 24, 2020) has announced new development initiatives for Afghanistan. These initiatives include a dam to supply water to Kabul and around 150 community projects for $80 million.

“India is committed to a long-term role for the development of Afghanistan,” the external affairs minister S Jaishankar said at a virtual international pledging conference.

While highlighting that today no part of Afghanistan is untouched by the 400 plus projects that have been undertaken in all 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces, the minister stated that India’s development portfolio in Afghanistan has to-date amounted to over US$ 3 billion. According to him, 65,000 Afghan students have also studied in India.

What are the other projects India is doing in Afghanistan?

India has an agreement with Afghanistan for building Shahtoot Dam in the Kabul river basin. This will provide drinking water to two million residents of Kabul city.

According to the external affairs minister, this dam will be built on the 202-km Pul-e-Khumri electricity transmission line. This line was built in 2009 to provide power to the city.

Under the Phase IV of its high impact community, development projects initiative focused on smaller project for villages and districts, India has plans to launch some 150 projects worth $80 million,

Describing the neighbouring Afghanistan as a contiguous neighbour, Jaishankar in his remarks expressed concern at the recent rise in violence in that country.

Expressing concern over the increasing level of violence and calling for an immediate ceasefire, the Minister said “ India will support all efforts to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan, and we also believe the peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.” he said.

Adding, “The interests of minorities, women and other vulnerable sections must be ensured and the gains of the last two decades must be preserved.”

Development aid for Afghanistan

It was of five types including large infrastructure projects like the 218-km Delaram-Zaranj road. This road provides alternative connectivity through Iran.

The India-Afghanistan friendship dam.

The Parliament building, high impact community projects, humanitarian assistance, human resource development.

Enhancing trade and investment through land and air connectivity.

Around 65,000 students have studied in India under scholarship programmes. 15,000 students are currently in India.

According to the minister 3,000 scholarships have been provided to Afghan women for higher studies.

Vocational education is being provided to an increasing number of women in Afghanistan.

The growth of the landlocked country has been affected by its geography. Alternative connectivity has been provided by India developed in Iran. This was the route used during the COVID-19 pandemic to transport 75,000 tonnes of wheat. And, also, more than 20 tonnes of medicines and equipment.

The two days (Nov 23-24) 2020 Afghanistan Conference is being co-hosted in Geneva by the governments of Afghanistan and Finland with the UN.

During the conference, besides the financial support, a joint political declaration, a new development framework, and a new aid architecture for Afghanistan’s development needs is expected to be drawn.

While the European Union for the next four years has pledged $1.2 billion to Afghanistan, ministers from several countries including Canda has called on the Taliban to declare ceasefire.

President Ashraf Ghani in his keynote speech thanked India for its commitment of over $2 billion and also both India and Iran for the Chahbahar corridor in related sea corridor as well as the air corridor.

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