India's role in Afghanistan appreciated by all: PM

"We have not supplied any arms, we are also helping them in construction and financing of projects in power, health and education sectors," he told reporters Friday when asked about a top US general's suggestion that India's growing influence in Afghanistan could "exacerbate" regional tensions.

"I think to my knowledge there US and other European powers are appreciative of the role played by India in Afghanistan," Manmohan Singh said noting to date India has committed $1.5 billion in Afghanistan.

"Not only people of Afghanistan appreciate, but Europe and American leaders are of the same view. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, I agree that we have to sail in these difficult waters," he said.

In a recent report to Pentagon, General Stanley McChrystal, commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has said India's growing influence in Kabul could "exacerbate" regional tensions and encourage Pakistani "countermeasures" in Afghanistan or even India.
At the same time, he acknowledged in his report that "Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people".

"Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment. In addition, the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian," the general said.

"While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India," added McChrystal.

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