India pledges $1b for Afghan projects

India pledges $1b for Afghan projects

India pledges $1b for Afghan projects

India on Wednesday pledged an additional $1 billion (Rs 6,694 crore) for development projects in Afghanistan, even as the two nations inked an extradition treaty and two other pacts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Afghan President M Ashraf Ghani discussed the regional situation and sent out a strong message to Pakistan, albeit without naming it.

They expressed “grave concern at continued use of terrorism and violence in the region for achieving political objectives”. They also noted that the use of cross-border terror for political reasons “presented the single biggest threat to peace, stability and progress in the region and beyond”.

Modi conveyed to Ghani “India’s abiding support for a unified, sovereign, democratic, peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan”. A joint statement issued after their meeting in New Delhi dropped enough hints that India was ready to take its security and defence cooperation with Afghanistan to a new level, by providing more lethal military hardware to the conflict-hit country.

Modi and Ghani, according to the joint statement, “reaffirmed their resolve to counter terrorism and strengthen security and defence cooperation, as envisaged in the India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement”, which was inked in 2011.

Taking a not-so-subtle dig at Pakistan, the prime minister and the Afghan president stressed that elimination of all forms of terrorism, without any discrimination, was essential. They also called upon “the concerned” to put an end to “all sponsorship, support, safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists, including for those who target Afghanistan and India”.

Ghani on Wednesday also delivered a lecture on “Fifth Wave of Political Violence and Global Terrorism” at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. He observed that “in the absence of rules of the game”, and due to the willingness of some states to sponsor non-state actors, the phenomenon of global terrorism had evolved over the years with deepened and broadened techniques. The understanding of the current political violence had largely been reactive, due to which global actions had been sporadic and not sustained, he added.

The extradition treaty will provide a legal framework for India to seek extradition of terrorists, economic offenders and other criminals from Afghanistan and vice-versa.

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