India signs 11 MoUs worth $9.5 million with Afghanistan

January 21, 2019

Kabul- Notwithstanding the recent terror attack targeting Indian nationals in Kabul and US efforts to cut a deal with Taliban, India has signed 11 MoUs worth $ 9.5 million with the incumbent Afghan government this week.

The MoUs were for infrastructure, public services such as health clinics and governance-related projects.

These projects include construction of classrooms, orphanages, health clinics, canal protection walls and enhancing economic opportunities for women for seven provinces of Afghanistan, including Balkh, Ghor, Herat, Kabul, Bamyan, Badghis and Kapisa.

“The projects will help local communities in education, employment and livelihood generation and capacity building,” an official here said.

These projects are part of 577 development projects being funded by India from 2005-2021 worth $120 million. 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 infrastructure, securing and promoting livelihood options, the Indian Embassy in Kabul, said in a statement.

The development comes days after the US President Donald Trump mocked India’s Development assistance in Afghanistan and questioned the use of “library” India built in the country.

Trump in 2019’s first cabinet meeting had said, even though he gets “along very well with India and Prime Minister Modi”, PM Modi “is constantly telling me, he built a library in Afghanistan” but he “does not know who’s using it (the library) in Afghanistan”.

Later during a phone call, Trump and PM Modi discussed the way forward in Afghanistan as US readies to withdraw its troops and enter into a deal with Taliban.

India says its projects in Afghanistan speak for itself and Delhi will continue to stay on course in the landlocked country. Since 2001, India has undertaken projects worth over $2 billion in Afghanistan.

The article was written by Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury and published by the Economic Times on 21/01/2019.

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