India on Tuesday announced a new phase of over 100 high-impact community projects in Afghanistan worth US $ 80 million (Rs 592 crore) as the country”s development portfolio in the war-ravaged nation has reached over US $ 3 billion (Rs 22,200 crore) so far. 

Addressing the two-day Afghanistan 2020 Conference being organized in Geneva Foreign Minister S Jaishankar announced that India had concluded with Afghanistan an agreement for the construction of the Shatoot dam, which would provide safe drinking water to 2 million residents of Kabul city.

He also announced the launch of Phase-IV of the High Impact Community Development Projects in Afghanistan, which envisages more than 100 projects worth $ 80 million that India would undertake in Afghanistan. India’s development portfolio in Afghanistan has to-date amounted to over $ 3 billion. “Our development portfolio of more than US$ 3 billion for Afghanistan is aimed at building capacities and capabilities of Afghan nationals as well as its institutions with a view to improving governance and public service. There is no part of Afghanistan today untouched by our 400 plus projects, spread across all the 34 provinces of Afghanistan,” the Minister emphasised in his speech at the Geneva meeting.

He also announced the launch of Phase-IV of the High Impact Community Development Projects in Afghanistan, which envisages more than 100 projects worth $ 80 million that India would undertake in Afghanistan. India’s development portfolio in Afghanistan has to-date amounted to over $ 3 billion. “Our development portfolio of more than US$ 3 billion for Afghanistan is aimed at building capacities and capabilities of Afghan nationals as well as its institutions with a view to improving governance and public service. There is no part of Afghanistan today untouched by our 400 plus projects, spread across all the 34 provinces of Afghanistan,” the Minister emphasised in his speech at the Geneva meeting.

He pointed out that the ongoing developmental programmes in Afghanistan are centred around five pillars: (a) large infrastructure projects; (b) human resource development and capacity building; (c) humanitarian assistance; (d) High impact community development projects; and (e) enhancing trade and investment through air and land connectivity. Addressing the same conference, the Afghan president thanked both India and Iran for the Chabahar port connectivity for the landlocked country.

Large infrastructure projects undertaken by India in Afghanistan include construction of 218 Kms road from Delaram to Zaranj (on Iranian border) which provides alternate connectivity for Afghanistan through Iran; India–Afghanistan friendship dam; and the Afghan Parliament building which was inaugurated in 2015. More than 65,000 Afghan students have studied in India under various scholarship programmes and 15,000 students are presently studying in India. 3000 scholarships so far have been granted to young Afghan women to pursue higher studies in India. “Going beyond basic education, we also provided vocational training to a large number of women in Afghanistan. This number shall increase every year with our long term commitment to help rebuild Afghanistan,” the Minister noted.

The deal provided for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, effectively drawing curtains to Washington’s 18-year war with Taliban in the country.

New Delhi has also been maintaining that care should be taken to ensure that any such process does not lead to any “ungoverned spaces” where terrorists and their proxies can relocate. India has been calling upon all sections of the political spectrum in Afghanistan to work together to meet the aspirations of all people in that country including those from the minority community for a prosperous and safe future.

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