India offers $1bn in fresh aid to Afghanistan

By News Desk

NEW DELHI: India offered Afghanistan a fresh $1 billion in economic assistance after their leaders met in New Delhi on Wednesday to strengthen already close ties between the neighbours.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s commitment to helping the war-torn country strengthen its education, health, agriculture and other sectors during talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

In a joint statement, India announced the $1 billion offer, but there was no mention of providing weapons to help Afghanistan fight militants, which it has previously asked for

“The two leaders discussed the regional situation and expressed grave concern at continued use of terrorism and violence in the region for achieving political objectives,” Indian foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said.

“They 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,” he told reporters.

India, the fifth largest bilateral donor in Afghanistan, has been a key supporter of Kabul’s government and has poured more than $2 billion into the country since the Taliban was toppled in 2001.

Modi visited Afghanistan in June to inaugurate a $290 million hydroelectric dam project, and opened Afghanistan’s new parliament complex in Kabul in December, built by India at an estimated cost of $90 million.

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