India gives fresh 450 million dollar assistance to Afghanistan

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New Delhi, Aug 4 (UNI) India today announced an additonal 450 million dollar assistance to Afghanistan to help in reconstruction and development projects in the war-ravaged country and pledged to fulfil all its commitments.

This is in addition to the amount of 750 million dollars that India has already given.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after his talks with visiting Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai who arrived here last night from Colombo on a two-day visit after attending the 15th SAARC summit in the Sri Lankan capital.

The Prime Minister assured the Afghan President that India would fulfil all its commitments to Afghanistan.

''For this purpose, we will allocate an additional amount of 450 million dollars over and above the existing 750 million dollars to meet the requirements of our ongoing and forthcoming projects,'' the Prime Minister said in a statement after the talks.

Dr Singh said India's contribution in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan is part of a larger international effort to help the Afghan people in forging a pluralistic and democracy society.

He offered that India would host a meeting of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Bureau, the body which oversees and harmonises the activities of different countries in the reconstruction process in Afghanistan.

The present level of India's total assistance is over 100 million dollars annually, making the total amount of our assistance over 750 million dollars. Of this, 400 million dollars have already been disbursed so far.

India has undertaken projects virtually in all parts of Afghanistan, in a wide range of sectors including hydro-electricity, power transmission lines, road construction, agriculture and industry, telecommunications, information and broadcasting, capacity development, humanitarian assistance, education and health, which have been identified by the Afghan government as priority areas for development.

Major projects include construction of transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul, construction of 218 km road from Zaranj to Delaram that will facilitate movement of goods and personnel from Afghanistan to Iranian border; reconstruction of Salma Dam Power Project (42 MW) in Herat province; construction of Afghanistan's Parliament Building; setting up telephone exchanges in 11 provinces solar electrification of 100 villages, etc.

UNI RB PD KN2004

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