During a visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to New Delhi, India has
announced a fresh aid package of $450 million for development projects in
Afghanistan. Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi.
After meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in
New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised an additional $450
million in aid for Afghanistan.
This will be on top of the $750 million
India is already spending for reconstruction projects, such as building roads
and hospitals, in Afghanistan.
The Afghan president is visiting India
nearly a month after a suicide bombing at the Indian embassy in Kabul killed at
least 58 people, including two Indian diplomats. Afghanistan and India accuse
Pakistan's spy agency of involvement in the bombings.
Minister Singh says such attacks are an effort to disrupt ties between the two
"It was an attack on the friendship between India and
Afghanistan. We have agreed that we will not allow terrorism to stand in our
way," he said.
Analysts say the new aid package is a signal that New
Delhi will not be deterred from engaging more closely in rebuilding Afghanistan.
India is one of Kabul's largest aid donors.
Prime Minister Singh also
announced the completion of a strategic road in the country's southwest, and
says it will be handed over to the Afghan government soon. The road will
ultimately link landlocked Afghanistan to a seaport in Iran.
road has not been easy - Indian workers and engineers involved in the project
have been the target of numerous attacks blamed on Taliban militants. Several
road workers have been killed. In India, the attacks on its nationals in
Afghanistan have been interpreted as a clear signal that New Delhi should quit
Afghan President Hamid Karzai stressed the need for the
world to recognize the "brutal nature" of terrorism.
"We recognize that
the two countries and the world at large have no option but to be united in
fighting the menace of terrorism as it affects us and as it affects the
international community," said Mr. Karzai.
The two leaders also discussed
strengthening security for the several thousand Indians working in Afghanistan.
New Delhi and Kabul built close ties after the overthrow of the Taliban regime.