New Delhi: India has pledged an additional $450 million to Afghanistan for reconstruction, bringing the total cash it has promised the war-ravaged country since 2001 to well over a billion dollars.
The increase in aid, announced during a visit to New Delhi by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, comes a month after the Indian embassy in Kabul was hit by a suicide attack that New Delhi blamed on Pakistan.
After the attack, India vowed to maintain a strong presence in Afghanistan -- seen as an important strategic battleground for New Delhi and Islamabad.
India will “allocate an additional $450 million, over and above the $750 million” already pledged, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters after meeting Karzai.
India is among the top donors to post-Taliban Afghanistan, engaging itself in many reconstruction projects in the country since November 2001, when the hardline Taliban militia were driven out of Kabul. Some 4,000 Indians work in Afghanistan on road building and hydroelectric projects.