India announces 1-billion-dollar aid package for Afghanistan

India on Wednesday announced a fresh 1-billion-dollar aid pledge towards development and reconstruction efforts in war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Indian Premier Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held talks in New Delhi which focused on regional security and combating terrorism.

A joint statement issued after the discussions said the aid would be used in areas such as education, health, agriculture, energy and infrastructure.

India is among the leading donors in Afghanistan with an existing 2-billion-dollar development assistance programme.

The two leaders also denounced sponsorship of terrorism in the region, in a veiled reference to Pakistan.

Kabul and Delhi have in the past accused Pakistan of backing Islamist militants who carry out attacks on their territories.

The two sides also signed an treaty allowing the extradition of wanted criminals between the two countries.

Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar said Delhi and Kabul also resolved to strengthen their security and defence cooperation but declined to give details.

India has donated three Mi-25 multi-role helicopters to Afghanistan and trains Afghan officers and cadets at military training academies.

While New Delhi enjoys goodwill among the Afghan population for its development efforts, it is also concerned about regional security amid the conflict in Afghanistan.

India's increased role in Afghanistan is a concern for long-term rival Pakistan. New Delhi is set to launch trilateral talks with Afghanistan and US at the UN in the coming weeks.

Last update: Wed, 14/09/2016 - 17:30

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