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India grants US$ 450 million for Afghanistan

INDIA: Undeterred by the July 7 attack on its mission in Kabul, India yesterday announced fresh assistance of $450 million for the reconstruction of violence-torn Afghanistan as the two countries vowed to fight the menace of terrorism jointly.

“It was an attack on the friendship between India and Afghanistan. We will fight it unitedly and with determination,” Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh said after holding wide-ranging talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai here.

“India has an abiding commitment to Afghanistan’s efforts to build a democratic, stable, prosperous and pluralistic polity. We will fulfil all our commitments to Afghanistan,” Manmohan Singh said while announcing an additional development aid of $450 million for rebuilding the violence-ravaged country.

The fresh aid has taken India’s total contribution to reconstruction of Afghanistan to $1.2 billion, making New Delhi one of the largest donors to that country. Calling for a joint fight against the menace of terrorism, Karzai thanked India and the Indian people profusely for this assistance at “a very critical juncture in the history of Afghanistan.”

“India has proved to be a valuable ally and is in the forefront of rebuilding Afghanistan,” Karzai said while alluding to a wide range of activities ranging from building roads and schools to constructing dams, power transmission lines and the Parliament building in which nearly 3,000 Indian workers are involved in his country.

Together, India and Afghanistan are facing the challenge of terrorism and cold-blooded, brutal and murderous activities in their territory, Karzai said.

“The two countries and the world at large have no option but to fight the menace of terrorism. Afghanistan stands resolutely with our allies in the war against terrorism,” the India-educated Karzai said while calling the task of eliminating terrorism “a moral responsibility” of all concerned countries in the region and the world.

Both leaders attended the 15th SAARC Summit which concluded in Colombo on Sunday.

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