India announces two initiatives for Afghanistan's growth

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London, Jan 29 (ANI): Addressing the Afghanistan conference, Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said on Thursday that India was pleased to announce two initiatives to assist in faculty and student development in the agricultural sector.

Krishna said, "Agriculture is key to Afghanistan's development. We shall provide a hundred fellowships every year for the next five years for Afghans to pursue Masters and PhD programmes in Indian universities, for rapidly building expertise in this area."

Krishna further said Afghanistan should emerge as a trade, transportation and energy hub linking together the countries of the region, from Central to South Asia, and added that growing economic interdependence could analyze peace and prosperity in the region.

Remembering the Frontier Gandhi, Krishna said, "The life of the great Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, or Frontier Gandhi, as he is known in India, exemplifies the region's interlinked destiny.

"This apostle of non-violence was born in what is now Pakistan, led the freedom struggle in undivided India, and was laid to rest in Afghanistan," he added.

Krishna further said, " Unfettered transit and transport linkages between Afghanistan and the countries of SCO and SAARC could provide larger markets for Afghan products."

"For Afghanistan's stabilisation it is essential for the neighbouring and regional countries to ensure that support, sustenance and sanctuaries for terrorist organisations is ended forthwith," said Krishna.

Krishna said, "The principal objective of India's development partnership, covering the entire country and straddling all sectors of development, is to build indigenous Afghan capacities and institutions. I am happy to announce India's strong support to the proposed Afghan National Institution Building Project."

"India last year contributed to bringing Uzbek electricity to Kabul by constructing a 202 kilometers transmission line. This was energised when Kabul began receiving power through a 220 KV sub-station at Chimtala, the largest in Afghanistan, also built by India," added Krishna.

Further hinting at the regional and international cooperation in Afghanistan, Krishna said, "We worked on this project together with the Afghan Government, ADB and the World Bank, with inputs from USAID and international energy firms. We need to build many more such partnerships in the years to come."

The Afghanistan conference was hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and attended by Foreign Ministers of over 60 countries. (ANI)

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