India, Afghanistan review development cooperation

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New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) India and Afghanistan reviewed the development projects in the war-torn country being implemented with Indian aid, including security of Indian personnel, during a meeting of the Joint Working Group on Development Cooperation (JWG-DC) in Kabul, the External Affairs Ministry said on Friday.

According to a ministry statement, during the meeting on Thursday, both sides had an exhaustive review of the large number of ongoing development projects spread over varied areas of cooperation such as capacity building, infrastructure, education, healthcare, good-governance and human resource development.

India is a leading development aid partner of Afghanistan having successfully implemented a large number of infrastructure projects, including the Afghan Parliament building, Afghan-India Friendship Dam, the first phase of the Chabahar port in Iran among others.

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The Chabahar port on the southeastern coast of Iran is being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan and is aimed at giving access to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.

According to the statement, the Afghan side appreciated India’s timely assistance of 170,000 tonne of wheat and 2,000 tonne of pulses during this year when large parts of the country were suffering from drought.

“Both sides also expressed satisfaction that these largescale deliveries were made from India to Afghanistan via Chabahar, highlighting the viability of Chabahar as a route for trade and commerce,” it stated.

“Both sides underscored the importance of access through Chabahar port for strengthening trade and economic relations.”

The two sides also decided to take up several small, medium and largescale projects for implementation in the near future. including the Shahtoot dam, low cost housing for the returning refugees in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, a polyclinic in Mazar-e-Sharif, and construction of a road connecting Band-e-Amir in Bamyan province with the Bamyan-Yakawlang Highway.

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The Shahtoot dam is a proposed dam in the Kabul river basin that is expected to supply irrigation water for about 10,000 hectares of agricultural land and drinking water to around two million people in Kabul city.

“Both sides underscored the importance of safety and security of Indian personnel involved in development projects in Afghanistan,” the External Affairs Ministry statement said.

“The Afghan side assured their cooperation in ensuring the security of the Indian personnel.”

India also accepted the request for consideration of new projects, shared by the Afghan side, which will be examined and considered for implementation, “based on the priorities of the people and the government of Afghanistan”

At the JWG-DC meeting, the Indian side was headed by T.S. Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry, while the Afghan side was led by Ismail Rahimi, Deputy Minister of Policy and Technical Affairs, Ministry of Economy.

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–IANS

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