India asks world to help Af rebuild through funding

Pakistan and Iran investors also attended the Delhi Investment Summit

India on Thursday called upon the world to boost private investment in the war-ravaged country and help rebuild it beyond the 2014 drawdown of the US-led International Security Assistance Force.

“Let the grey suits of company executives take the place of olive green or desert brown fatigues of soldiers, and the CEOs, the place of generals,” External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said, inaugurating the inaugural session of an international meet that India hosted to hard sell Afghanistan as a potential destination for global investment.

Attended by representatives of multi-national companies, a large number of potential investors from around the world, officials of international financial institutions like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank as well as diplomats of the US, China, Russia, Japan and several other western countries, the Delhi Investment Summit on Afghanistan indicated India’s keenness to entrench its role in the conflict-ridden country beyond the 2014 drawdown of the Nato forces.

Investors from Pakistan and Iran also responded to the invitation and attended the meet that Indian officials described as an “overwhelming success”.

Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul led the official delegation from Kabul that also included four ministers of the country.

Noting that Afghanistan has suffered three decades of conflict and violence that have destroyed the structures of the State, Krishna said despite over 11 years of heightened international attention and foreign assistance, the country would continue to remain a special case for development and technical assistance in the years to come.

The Confederation of Indian Industry partnered with the Ministry of External Affairs to hold the conclave, which was conceived during the first meeting of India-Afghanistan Partnership Council. The council was constituted in accordance with the bilateral strategic partnership agreement that was signed during Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to New Delhi in October 2011.

“We need to offer a narrative of opportunity to counter the anxiety of withdrawal, uncertainty, instability and foreign interference. Investments can provide that hope for employment, training and opportunity for the future. We encourage our industries to venture into Afghanistan in numbers together with Afghan partners,” said Krishna.

Notwithstanding US unease over Iran’s role in Afghanistan, New Delhi underlined the need to rope in the Islamic Republic in West Asia in the international efforts to help the war-ravaged country to chart its own path to economic development and thus to bring in peace and prosperity in the region.

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