Days after US President Donald Trump’s jibe over India’s contribution to Afghanistan, New Delhi has signed MoUs for implementing 26 projects worth $ 9.5 billion in the war-ravaged nation. These Afghanistan projects include construction of classrooms, building of orphanages, health clinics, canal protection walls and enhancing economic opportunities for women.
Sources in New Delhi said these projects would be developed in seven provinces of Afghanistan: Balkh, Ghor, Herat, Kabul, Bamyan, Badghis and Kapisa.
These projects come under the ambit of community based Small Development Projects (SDP) which are aimed at building capacities and capabilities of Afghan nationals and institutions for governance and delivery of public service, developing socio-economic infrastructure, securing and promoting livelihood options.
Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar signed the MoUs on behalf of New Delhi with different Afghan ministries at a ceremony in Kabul on Monday at which Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah was also present.
Abdullah later tweeted that the new projects by India were part of the 577 development projects at a total cost of $ 120 million funded by New Delhi from 2005-2021.
The fresh commitments by India to Afghanistan come days after Trump ridiculed India’s massive humanitarian assistance to the embattled country, which has been acknowledged not only by Kabul but the entire global community. New Delhi reacted sharply to Trump’s jibe by enlisting all that it has done in Afghanistan.
India is also believed to have conveyed its views on Afghanistan to US special envoy on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, who was in the Indian capital last week and held meetings with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.
Khalilzad is understood to have his Indian interlocutors that the Trump administration was desirous of India taking up more responsibility in Afghanistan, including in the area of defence. However, India has ruled out deploying its troops in Afghanistan even if US were to withdraw its forces from the country.