India completes Zaranj-Delaram highway in Afghanistan

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New Delhi, Aug 4 (UNI) India has completed the construction of the 218 Km Zaranj-Delaram Highway in Western Afghanistan for which it has paid a heavy price in the form of the lives of its nationals working on the project.

The prestigious highway that will connect India with Central Asia will be handed over to the Afghanistan government soon.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who conveyed this to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai during their talks here today, described the construction of the road as ''a major test of our joint resolve.'' Mr Karzai arrived here last night on a two-day State visit from Colombo where he had gone to attend the 15th SAARC Summit.

''...one of the important infrastructure projects in Western Afghanistan--the road from Zaranj to Delaram--is now complete and will be handed over soon to the Government of Afghanistan.

The construction of this road was a major test of our joint resolve,'' the Prime Minister said.

He described the road as a symbol of India-Afghanistan cooperation and a tribute to the precious Indian and Afghan lives that were lost in making this project a reality.

''The road has brought our two peoples closer together,'' Dr Singh said.

He said India's efforts for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan were part of a larger international endeavour to help the Afghan people in forging a pluralistic and democratic society.

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