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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

World

Blake praises India's Afghan assistance programme
PTI
Washington, February 28, 2013
First Published: 10:28 IST(28/2/2013)
Last Updated: 10:42 IST(28/2/2013)

After Chuck Hagel's controversial remarks on India's role in Afghanistan, a top US official has strongly backed New Delhi's investment programme and said it has a holistic view of the war-torn region.


Assistant secretary of state for south and central Asia Robert Blake at a Congressional hearing said," India has taken a very kind of holistic view of what needs to be done there, and they have a $2 billion assistance programme."

"They've hosted an investment conference. They have been a champion of this regional integration vision," Blake said.

He was responding to questions from lawmakers on the contributions of India and China in Afghanistan. He testified before a subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs on "Islamist Militant Threats to Eurasia" chaired by the Republican Congressman from California Dana Rohrabacher.

"I think China has taken a far less holistic view and a much more self-serving view, frankly," Blake said.

Though China has an assistance programme for Afghanistan, it's relatively modest compared to the Indians, he said.

"I'd say it's about one-tenth of what the Indians provide. So again, a lot of humanitarian assistance and infrastructure assistance like that would be very welcome from the Chinese and we'd like to see them do more," Blake said.

"The Chinese have undertaken some investment. I wouldn't want to exaggerate it. I mean, it has not undertaken as much as the Iranians have, for example. In fact we'd like to see them do more in terms of investing certainly in a lot of the regional infrastructure that will be needed, because that would certainly be very welcome, and they've done a lot of that in central Asia," he said.

"But they do not take a position on things like rule of law and things like that. That is not part of their foreign policy," Blake said.


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