India rejects Donald Trump's jibe at PM on Afghanistan

Manila: Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting the President of United States of America (USA), Donald Trump in Manila, Philippines on Monday. PTI Photo / PIB (PTI11_13_2017_000086A)

India on Thursday rebuffed US President Donald Trump's jibe on its support to development projects in war-torn Afghanistan.

After Trump took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for building “a library” in Afghanistan, New Delhi dismissed the jibe, underlining that its $ 3 billion development assistance had indeed transformed lives of people in the war-ravaged country.

New Delhi also rejected US President's suggestion that India should sent its soldiers to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. India stressed that it never sent its armed forces in a foreign country “except under the specific mandate of United Nations' peacekeeping operations”.

Speaking to mediapersons during the first cabinet meeting of 2019 in White House on Wednesday, the US President mocked at India's role in Afghanistan, which was limited to funding development projects in the conflict-ravaged country without sending troops to join the war against Taliban.

“I could give you an example where I get along very well with India and Prime Minister Modi. But he is constantly telling me, he built a library in Afghanistan. Library! That's like five hours of what we spend (in Afghanistan),” said Trump. He was trying to draw a comparison between the amount of money the US and other countries are spending in Afghanistan. “And, he (Modi) tells me. He is very smart. We are supposed to say, 'Oh! Thank you for the library!' Don't know who's using it (the library) in Afghanistan. But it's one of those things. I don't like being taken advantage of.”

India financed a number of development projects in Afghanistan, including road, power transmission network and hydro-electric-cum- irrigation projects. It has not yet funded construction of a library though. Sources in Kabul and New Delhi, however, said that American President might have mistaken the new Afghan Parliament building, which the Government of India had constructed at a cost of $ 90 million, as “a library”. Prime Minister and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani inaugurated the new building in Kabul on December 25, 2015.

New Delhi reacted sharply to US President's remarks, with sources pointing it out that India firmly believes in the critical role that developmental assistance can play in transforming human lives in Afghanistan.

“In Afghanistan, India plays a significant role as a development partner. This partnership is built on the specific needs and requirements worked out with the Government of Afghanistan,” said a source in New Delhi. “It is aimed at the welfare of the people of Afghanistan and for a tangible improvement in the lives of its people.”



Trump slams India for funding library in Afghanistan

India has also been supplying military equipment to Afghanistan besides providing training to hundreds of Afghan security personnel.

The sources said India plays a significant role in the country as its development partner and that the partnership is built on the specific needs and requirements worked out with the Afghan government.

"India seeks to build capacities and capabilities of Afghan nationals and its institutions for governance and delivery of public service, develop socio-economic infrastructure, secure lives and promote livelihood," said a source.

Besides mega infrastructure projects, India is implementing 116 new 'High Impact Community Development Projects' in 31 provinces of Afghanistan, including in the areas of education, health, agriculture, irrigation, drinking water, renewable energy, flood control, micro-hydropower, sports infrastructure, administrative infrastructure. 

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India rejects Donald Trump's jibe at PM on Afghanistan


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