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US general warns against growing Indian influence in Afghanistan

world Updated: Sep 23, 2009 15:49 IST

IANS
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The top US commander in Afghanistan has warned against the effects of "increasing" Indian influence in that country, saying this could escalate tension in the region.

"Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment," APP news agency quoted General Stanley McChrystal as saying in a report to the Pentagon.

This apart, the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai was perceived to be pro-Indian, he added.

Indian activities and "increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions," the general said, fearing serious Pakistani concerns in response to the developments.

India has pledged $1.2 billion for a host of reconstruction projects in Afghanistan ranging from roads and bridges to power transmission lines and grassroots training.

McChrystal, in the same report, had asked for a troops' surge in Afghanistan, warning the coalition forces were in danger of losing the war within a year unless this was done.

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has, however, shot this down saying: "I can only tell you there are other assessments from very expert military analysts who have worked in counterinsurgencies that are the exact opposite."

Clinton's comments came during an interview to PBS television on Monday.