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US, Canada discuss India's role in Afghanistan

Acknowledging India as a key player in Afghanistan, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and his Canadian counterpart Peter Mackay discussed New Delhi's role and its contribution in the development in the war-ravaged country.

world Updated: Mar 06, 2009 11:42 IST

Acknowledging India as a key player in Afghanistan, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and his Canadian counterpart Peter Mackay on Friday discussed New Delhi's role and its contribution in the development in the war-ravaged country.

Talking to reporters after the meeting between the two leaders, the Canadian Defence Minister Mackey said India figured in their talks in the context of viewing Afghanistan as a regional challenge.

"We touched briefly on the involvement of India within that context. And certainly that is also an important country, a very major player within the region," Mackey said as a joint media briefing with Secretary Gates.

This is possibly for the first time that the US and Canadian Defence Ministers have publicly acknowledged of having discussed India's role in Afghanistan.

In the Post- Taliban era, India has carried out massive developmental activities in Afghanistan, which has carved a very positive influence of India in the country.

"The comprehensive approach that Canada has taken in building capacity of the Government of Afghanistan, we think through that prism we should also be looking at ways that we can help the Pakistani people," Mackey said.

"But, of course Pakistan is a country that you absolutely have to include on the way forward and on the plans that will eventually lead to improved status for both countries," he added.