India has called for a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Afghanistan to address deficits in areas of security, development, investment and governance.
Addressing an international conference in Afghanistan, external affairs minister SM Krishna also warned of a potent threat to the country’s security from terrorism and insurgency being fuelled from outside its borders. Though the reference was obvious, Pakistan’s name was not taken.
“Afghanistan today faces at least four deficits: a security deficit, a governance deficit, a development deficit, and an investment deficit. Afghanistan will require enormous assistance for a long time if it is to address these four deficits adequately,” Krishna said.
“Conceptually, there is a need for something like a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Afghanistan, involving all major stakeholders,” he added. The Marshall Plan was a US-assistance programme to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War 2 in a bid to keep the USSR influence under check.
“The international community must ensure that as it reduces its military commitment to Afghanistan, it increases rather than decreases its economic commitment to the security and rebuilding of Afghanistan so that it does not once again slide back to the dark ages of the 1990s,” he said. Krishna said terrorism radiated outwards in the region, affecting firstly India, and then other countries.
German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle said that a decade after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, the world had a vested interest in a “stable and peaceful Afghanistan which does not pose a threat.” A previous conference in Bonn in December 2001 established an interim government in Afghanistan after US-led troops ousted the Taliban regime.