India said it has been helping Afghanistan get back on its feet and will continue to do so (AFP)
Responding to US President Donald Trump's request for giving more financial aid
to war-torn Afghanistan since "India makes billions of dollars in trade with the US", India today said it has been helping Afghanistan get back on its feet and will continue to do so.
Mr Trump, who announced a new South Asia policy that includes sending more US troops to Afghanistan, said he wants to develop a strategic partnership with India, while criticising Pakistan for supporting terror groups although Islamabad gets billions in aid from the US.
"We welcome President Trump's determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confronting issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists. India shares these concerns and objectives," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement today.
The Indian Mission has a large presence in Afghanistan engaged in development projects across the country which is known for its harsh terrain. Indian facilities have seen several major attacks in the past in this country - once at the High Commission in Kabul in 2008 which killed over 50 people and diplomatic staff, and a deadly attack on the Consulate in Herat in 2014.
Mr Trump said the US has been paying Pakistan billions of dollars but it continues to house the very terrorists that America is fighting, while India - the world's largest democracy - is a key security and economic partner of the US.
"We appreciate India's important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the US, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development," Mr Trump said.
In his televised speech, Mr Trump criticised Pakistan for supporting terror groups. "In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner. Our militaries have worked together against common enemies... But Pakistan has also sheltered the same organisations that try every single day to kill our people," he added.
Mr Trump warned that it would be difficult for the US to work with Pakistan if the latter did not act against terror groups hiding on its own turf. "No partnership can survive a country's harbouring of militants and terrorists who target US service members and officials," Mr Trump said.
China, however, sought to deflect Mr Trump's criticism of its all-weather ally Pakistan. "President Trump's remarks on Pakistan, I should say that Pakistan is at the frontline of fighting terrorism, has made sacrifices in fighting terrorism..." Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
Hours after Mr Trump announcing plans for more US troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban also warned the US that it would see high casualties.With inputs from PTI and IANS.