NEW DELHI (Pajhwok): More than 115 high-impact projects will be executed in Afghanistan‘s suburban and rural communities in 31 provinces under a new partnership with India.
Sibghatullah Ahmadi, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), confirmed to Pajhwok Afghan News in New Delhi that the 116 agreements would be jointly implemented in 31 provinces.
However, he did not give information about the cost of the projects. Ahmadi said Rabbani also met India National Security Council Advisor Ajit Doyal. Bilateral relations and security issues were discussed at the meeting.
Delhi and Kabul also signed Motor Vehicles Agreement for the regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic that would pave the way for much needed overland transit.
The decision came at the second meeting of the Indo-Afghan strategic partnership council, attended by Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj.
The two sides inked three more documents of cooperation in the areas of medicine, satellite and New Development Partnership, the Indian minister was quoted as saying.
New Delhi promised helping Kabul in setting up a dam, a drinking water supply project in Kabul, a low-cost housing scheme for returning refugees, a water supply network in Charikar and a polyclinic in Mazar-i-Sharif.
India would also set up a gypsum board-manufacturing plant in Kabul to promote value-added industry and a slew of other projects planned in Afghanistan.
Swaraj told reporters after the meeting her country would continue to focus on building governance and democratic institutions, human resource capacity and skill development, including in the areas of education, energy, administration, application of remote sensing in resource management and space technology in governance.
A trade and investment show in New Delhi at the end of the current month will provide opportunity to bring together businesses of the two countries.
India, which has extended $3 billion in aid to Afghanistan since 2001, has liberalised the visa regime for Afghan businessmen. The two sides will identify products to enhance bilateral trade, including direct trade in gemstones, pharmaceuticals and agro products.
“We are expediting the development of Chahbahar port in trilateral cooperation with Iran. We will begin supply of wheat (170,000 metric tons) to Afghanistan in coming weeks through Chahbahar port,” Swaraj said.
The two countries also signed the Motors Vehicle Agreement, paving the way for overland transit. India hoped to join the regional trade and transit agreements that are Afghan-centric.
“We will extend all possible assistance and begin implementation of the new 500 scholarships programme for next of kin of the martyrs of Afghan Forces from 2018,” she added.