India pledges Afghanistan $1 billion in Aid to strengthen relations between Two Countries

The moves come ahead of a major donor meeting to be held in Brussels next month

PM Narendra Modi with President Ashraf Ghani. Source-wikimedia commons

NEW DELHI, September 14, 2016: India promised $1 billion in fresh aid to Afghanistan when PM Narendra Modi and President Ashraf Ghani, met in New Delhi on Wednesday to strengthen relations between the two countries ahead of a major donor conference next month, in October.

Reuters report said that in a joint statement both the leaders pledged the financial help to back India’s “abiding support for a unified, sovereign, democratic, peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.”

They also expressed “grave concern at the continued use of terrorism and violence in the region for achieving political objectives”- a veiled reference to Pakistan which denies sponsoring or supporting Islamic extremists.

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With a majority of US troops pulled from Afghanistan, efforts are being ramped up to rebuild the country after decades of conflict dates back to the Soviet invasion of 1979 to the prolonged Taliban insurgency, mentioned Reuters.

At India’s Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, a government-funded think tank, Ghani in a speech said, “Forty years of violence would have broken any other country,” but now he is pleased to say that with India’s aid pledge, we can rebuild our country.

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Besides a threat of an armed conflict, it was also vital to build market institutions that could lift living standards in a nation where 70 percent of people live on less than $2 a day, said a former World Bank official.

On October 5, 2016, Afghanistan and The European Union will host a donor conference in Brussels which will be attended by 70 states and 30 international organizations and agencies, to ask for backing on reforms that will stabilize and develop the Central Asian country.

– prepared by Kabir Chaudhary of Newsgram. Twitter: @Kabeer_97