India approves $100 Million Aid for Afghanistan
By Sajad - Fri Nov 09 2012, 10:06 am
Ahead of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit here next week, India Thursday cleared USD 100 million aid for the third phase of the small developmental projects (SDPs) for Afghanistan as part of its commitment on a USD 2 billion aid programme.
The outlay for the third Phase of the Small Developmental Projects is 100 million dollars or approximately Rs 540 crore, Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters.
The SDPs directly impact local communities and support social-economic development, provide livelihood, help conserve environmental and cultural heritage, empower women, promote child welfare and facilitate community life through creation of infrastructure in the education, health, agriculture and agro-industry, renewable energy, trade, transport and communication, recreation and community development sectors, a cabinet pressnote said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who will begin his tour from Mumbai, will interact with the business community there and seek greater investment in his country in various sectors. Briefing the reporters on the Presidential visit, Afghan Ambassador Shaida Mohammad Abdali said, Karzai was coming to India at “a critical time” as international combat troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014.
Karzai will also deliver the annual Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad annual lecture on November 11. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Karzai will hold wide-ranging talks, including on regional security situation and safety of Indian nationals and Indian projects on November 12 in New Delhi. The two leaders will discuss a range of key issues of mutual interest, Abdali said, adding efforts to intensify the India-Afghanistan strategic dialogue on bilateral and regional issues will also be made by the Afghan side.
India has also agreed to train upto 600 Afghan Army officers every year in India under a pact that President Hamid Karzai is expected to sign with India early next week, highly placed sources have told NDTV.
The program is the first concrete follow-up on military-to-military cooperation under the umbrella of the Strategic Partnership Agreement that was signed between Kabul and New Delhi in 2011 when President Karzai was given a grand reception in India.
Under the agreement, India, which has the world’s third-largest army, agreed to train, equip and build the capacity of the Afghan forces.