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Indian Afghan aid earned extra goodwill: report

Afghanistan has put India among their top donors in a survey, along with the US, Germany and Japan, keeping in mind India's aid of $2 billion, going up steadily from the initial $50 million. Yashwant Raj reports.

world Updated: Nov 17, 2011 01:58 IST
Yashwant Raj

Afghanistan has put India among their top donors in a survey, along with the US, Germany and Japan, keeping in mind India's aid of $2 billion, going up steadily from the initial $50 million.

This is far smaller than the amounts spent by other donors including the UK and Canada.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Afghan government figures show India is about the 10th largest international donor to Afghanistan in terms of actual disbursements between 2002-09, but clearly has been able to earn a disproportionately greater amount of publicity and goodwill for its aid.

When asked to name the big donors, most Afghans cited the US (27%), Germany (7%), Japan (6%) and India (4%), ahead of the UK, Canada and even Afghanistan's neighbouring countries like China, Iran and Pakistan. India is helping Afghanistan with infrastructure, building roads and electricity transmission lines, operating hospitals, renovating schools, supplying buses for inner-city transportation and training.

The survey was conducted by the Asia Foundation, an American non-profit organisation, with the stated purpose of using the findings to design its aid programmes. The findings - based on interviews with close to 6,500 people in 34 provinces - were released here on Tuesday.

The survey has generated considerable interest as it comes as the date for the drawdown of international troops approaches. The presence of foreign troops was listed as the top reason for terrorist violence.

But the findings also show Afghans believe Hamid Karzai is doing a good job, with 73% of the respondents expressing satisfaction with the performance of the national government, for the second year running.