Underlining India’s continued commitment to Afghanistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told President Hamid Karzai on Monday that he had hiked development assistance to the country by $450 million, taking the total to $1.2 billion.
Prior to this announcement, India was the fifth largest international donor to Afghanistan. Singh and Karzai, who is on a two-day visit, agreed that the countries must enhance sharing of intelligence inputs if they had to combat terrorism.
Thanking Singh for the additional assistance of $450 million, Karzai said Kabul would value this. “And, I assure you that Afghanistan will be a steadfast ally in the war against terrorism and…cherish the memory of India’s assistance…at an extremely critical juncture of our history”.
Singh said the July 7 suicide attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul had tragically shown that terror had no boundaries and was not bound by any restraints. “It was an attack on the friendship between India and Afghanistan,” he told the press. “We have agreed that we will not allow terrorism to stand in our way. We will fight it unitedly and with determination.”
Official sources said Singh briefed Karzai about his meeting with Pakistani PM Yusuf Raza Gilani in Colombo. In turn, Karzai informed Singh about his talks with Gilani, who has promised to hold an “independent probe” into charges that the ISI was behind the embassy attack.
“I also informed the President that one of our important projects in western Afghanistan — the road from Zaranj to Delaram — is complete. We will hand this over shortly to the Government of Afghanistan,” he said.