A Parliamentary committee today expressed grave concern over the safety of Indians working on developmental projects in Afghanistan and asked the government to take measures for strengthening security for them.
In a report tabled in the Lok Sabha, the Standing Committee on External Affairs Ministry said India's presence in Afghanistan was significant particularly in the context of emerging geo-political situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"The Committee appreciates India's continued engagement and commitment towards rebuilding of Afghanistan. However, the Committee is gravely concerned about the security scenario and safety of Indian citizens and personnel working on Indian/India-sponsored projects in Afghanistan," it said.
It said the security concerns hamper the efficiency of the work force immensely. "Therefore, the Committee urges upon the government to strengthen its security apparatus and ensure safety for personnel working on Indian projects not only in Afghanistan but also on other projects in various countries as well," the report said.
It noted that the government was also of the view that deterioration of security situation in Afghanistan had adversely affected the security environment for Indians working in that country.
On this matter, the Indian government is in regular touch with the Afghan government, which has assured that it will take all the steps necessary to provide security to Indians in that country, the Committee said citing the government's response.
It said the Afghan government has provided local security to India's major projects besides which advisories are issued outlining precautions necessary for the Indians.
The Committee also expressed deep concern over the fact that the Indian project to construct Parliament building for Afghanistan was facing huge cost and time overrun and was of the view that it could have been avoided if government had taken timely measures.
It said that in order to avoid such a situation in the future, the government should evolve a mechanism which could ensure the completion of the project in a time-bound manner.
The Committee appreciated India's efforts to construct the Parliament building in Afghanistan, saying the "prestigious project" would go a long way in cementing ties between the two countries besides building image of India.
The government responded by saying that it had taken a number of steps to ensure completion of the project within the stipulated time of 36 months.