Thu, Dec 8, 2016 | updated 07:51 PM IST

India offers additional USD one billion as developmental assistance to Afghanistan

Updated: Sep 15, 2016 13:41 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept. 15 (ANI): India has pledged an additional one billion dollars as development assistance to Afghanistan for capacity building, strengthening democratic institutions, education, health, agriculture and energy.

The announcement was made after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in New Delhi yesterday.

During the talks, both countries called for eliminating all forms of terrorism in the region. In a joint statement after the talks, both countries agreed that terrorism is the single biggest threat to peace, stability and progress in the region and beyond.

Giving a stern message to Pakistan, they called upon the concerned to put an end to all support, safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists.

Giving the highlights of the joint statement, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said, both leaders reaffirmed their resolve to counter terrorism and strengthen security and defence cooperation.

Jaishankar also said, enhancing connectivity and liberalising visa regime were also discussed during the meeting.

India and Afghanistan also signed agreements on Extradition Treaty, Outer Space and Judicial Matters after the talks.

Later, the Afghan President spoke at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis. He said, the conflict in north-western parts of Pakistan and Balochistan is equivalent to a war. A huge number of Pakistani forces moved to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and this violence needs to be covered by media.

Mr Ghani said, South Asia is reeling under two wars - one in Afghanistan which he said is not a civil war and the other in Pakistan.

Delivering a keynote address at a business meeting, Mr Ghani suggested setting up a Task Force by the Governments and Chambers of Commerce of India and Afghanistan to take the countries' strategic relationship forward.

He said, the allocation of 1 billion dollars by Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards rebuilding and future of Afghanistan is a statement of belief in the strategic partnership.

He underlined the need for business chambers of the two countries to contribute towards Afghanistan's efforts by setting up a target of 10 billion dollars in trade and investment in the next five years.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh said, the strategic partnership between India and Afghanistan has been growing steadily. He said, it is time to boost the relationship further by taking trade and investment to the next level.

The Minister said, the private sector needs to explore new avenues for partnership and must engage in creating capabilities and capacities, allowing Afghanistan to rebuild its economy and providing employment opportunities to its citizens. (ANI with inputs)