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India to undertake low-cost housing projects in Afghanistan

Ashok Tuteja | New Delhi |

Undaunted by the current security situation in Afghanistan, India has decided to spend nearly $450 million in the embattled nation to build low-cost houses for Afghan refugees repatriating to the country.

According to official sources, Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra has had detailed discussions with officials of the Afghan Urban development and Housing Ministry on various housing projects to be launched.

India is believed to have asked Afghan authorities to share the various models and plans regarding housing projects to be launched in different parts of the country. The Afghan Government, it is learnt, was designing housing projects, taking into account factors like environment and living conditions.

Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar, who was in India earlier this week, had also met senior Indian officials and discussed the progress on various reconstruction and infrastructure projects under way in Afghanistan with India’s assistance.

The Afghan authorities reiterated their gratitude to India for playing a huge role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime. India has invested about two billion dollars in various projects in the war-ravaged nation and its contribution has come in for praise even for the common people. The construction of the Salma Dam, new Afghan Parliament building and Zaranj-Delaram Highway are some of the major projects that have been undertaken by India.

The sources said the Afghan Government has also expressed its desire to increase the exports of dry fruits, fresh fruits and vegetables to India. The exports of these items from the land-locked country to Pakistan have suffered in recent months due to the ongoing border tension between the two nations.