India’s $1 billion boost for Afghanistan, joint front against terror

afghan-modi-ghani2Underlining its unstinting commitment for reconstruction of Afghanistan, India has pledged a grant of $1 billion to the neighbouring country and agreed to intensify bilateral counter-terror and security cooperation.

India announced its financial package assistance of $1 billion for the development of Afghanistan after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in New Delhi on September 14. The latest grant makes Afghanistan the single largest recipient of India’s financial assistance as India had earlier pledged $2 billion for the neighbouring country, most of which has already been spent on diverse projects.

PM Modi “conveyed India’s readiness to consider further requirements of Afghanistan for capacity and capability building in spheres such as education, health, agriculture, skill development, empowerment of women, energy, infrastructure and strengthening of democratic institutions,” said a joint statement after the talks. “To this end, the Prime Minister offered that, as a close neighbour and friend of Afghanistan and its people, India would allocate a sum of USD 1 billion.”

India also proposed to supply world class and easily affordable medicines from India and cooperation in solar energy through mutually agreed instruments.

Boosting their strategic partnership, India and Afghanistan signed crucial pacts, including the Extradition Treaty, an agreement on cooperation in civil and commercial matters and an MOU on Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Joint front against terror

afghan-modi-ghani1Intensifying counter-terror and security cooperation figured prominently in discussions. Amid worsening violence triggered by the Taliban and its associated outfits, 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.

“They agreed that this phenomenon presented the single biggest threat to peace, stability and progress in the region and beyond,” said the statement. With an eye on Pakistan, the two leaders 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.”