India, US discuss joint projects in Afghan

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna is expected to discuss the projects with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his counterpart Zalmai Rassoul during his next visit to Kabul, which was earlier scheduled in the first week of January, but has now been postponed.

Krishna is believed to have briefly touched upon the issue during his talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over telephone on December 22 last.

Y K Sinha, Joint Secretary in the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division of the Ministry of External Affairs, is understood to have discussed the joint projects with the US officials during his recent visit to Afghanistan.

Sources said India and the US were discussing a number of developmental projects to be taken up jointly in Afghanistan, particularly in the field of agriculture and women’s empowerment, in addition to schemes for capacity building for both the government employees as well as common people in the conflict-ravaged country.

The US and India agreed to undertake joint projects in Afghanistan during American President Barack Obama’s visit to New Delhi in November.

India has been the sixth largest contributor in reconstruction of Afghanistan, with bilateral assistance programmes worth over $1.3 billion.

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