Sushma Swaraj met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in New York on sidelines of UN General Assembly
India has announced taking up 116 "high impact community developmental projects" in 31 provinces of Afghanistan, weeks after US President Donald Trump sought New Delhi's help in the economic development of the war-torn country.
A decision in this regard was taken during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
"India and Afghanistan agreed to take up 116 high impact community development projects to be implemented in 31 provinces of Afghanistan," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters at a news conference in New York on Wednesday.
"Over and above these high impact projects, India has also offered assistance for six new projects under granting aid assistance from India. One of them is low-cost housing for returning Afghan refugees, road connectivity, national Park and economic development," he said.
The announcement came within hours of Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi saying his country will never accept any role for India in Afghanistan. He even went on to say that there is "zero" role for India in Afghanistan.
Reacting to US President Donald Trump's recent Afghanistan Policy, in which he sought more help from New Delhi to bring peace and stability in the war-torn country, Mr Abbasi said yesterday that Pakistan sees "zero" role for India in Afghanistan. He went on to say: "I think it will just complicate the situation and it will not resolve anything".
Hours later Sushma Swaraj and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani discussed the new "development partnership" between the two countries, which was decided during the visit of Afghanistan's foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani in New Delhi earlier this month.
The two leaders also discussed various aspect of peace and reconciliation process.
According to an Afghan presidential statement, the two sides talked over several topics of mutual and regional importance such as regional security, counter-corruption efforts and expansion of commercial ties between the two neighbours.
"They considered the new US strategy (announced by Trump last month) instrumental to the region," said a statement issued by the office of the Afghan President.
Mr Ghani said that Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah is scheduled to visit India soon where he would hold talks with Indian business community and investors over trading opportunities, agriculture development, human capital, water management and enhancement of the air corridor, the statement said.
Ms Swaraj commended the efforts of the Afghan government particularly of the president with regard to regional economic cooperation.
She said that regional economic cooperation and infrastructure opportunities are contributory towards regional stability and development, the Afghan presidential statement added.