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Business News/ News / India/  Indian projects in Afghanistan suffered setbacks: Govt to Parliamentary panel
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Indian projects in Afghanistan suffered setbacks: Govt to Parliamentary panel

The budgetary allocation under the head 'Aid to Afghanistan' has seen a downward trend from ₹350 crore in 2021-22 to ₹200 crore in 2022-23

In the given political scenario in Afghanistan, the majority of countries, including India, have halted their projects in Afghanistan (AP)Premium
In the given political scenario in Afghanistan, the majority of countries, including India, have halted their projects in Afghanistan (AP)

India said the setback in project implementation was due to the political and security situation in Afghanistan.

"In the given political scenario in Afghanistan, the majority of countries, including India, have halted their projects in Afghanistan," said the Indian Government in a reply to Parliamentary Panel on Indian projects in Afghanistan.

The budgetary allocation under the head 'Aid to Afghanistan' has seen a downward trend from 350 crore in 2021-22 to 200 crore in 2022-23.

The Committee noted that India's development partnership with Afghanistan includes more than five hundred projects spread across each of the 34 provinces of the country in critical areas of power, water supply, road connectivity, healthcare, education, agriculture and capacity building.

However, the Committee was happy to note that India has been steadily providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people including foodgrains and medical assistance.

"The Ministry should continuously monitor the situation and continue providing humanitarian assistance to Afghan people," said the Committee.

The Committee observed that India's development projects in neighbouring countries cover a range of sectors from infrastructure development, including construction, roads & bridges, waterways and transmission lines as also power generation, agriculture, capacity building, education, health, rural development etc.

The Ministry has made the submission that the Government of India attaches high priority to our relationship with neighbouring countries and has a well-articulated policy of 'Neighbourhood First' with a focus on creating mutually beneficial, people-oriented, regional frameworks for stability and prosperity.

The Committee, however, noticed that there has been a reduction in allocation under 'Aid to Nepal', 'Aid to Bhutan', and 'Aid to Afghanistan.'

In view of the increasing Chinese outreach and presence in India's neighbourhood, the Committee feel that India needs to review and enhance their developmental diplomacy.

The Committee, therefore, desired that a strategy/vision should be formulated to expand our developmental partnership, particularly capacity building and knowledge sharing, to effectively counter the presence of other regional powers in our neighbourhood.

In reply, the Government said that the primary orientation of India's foreign policy remains its immediate neighbourhood, under the Neighbourhood First Policy.

"The overarching philosophy is to ensure that our partners in the region draw benefits and values from the growth, development and rise of India and on this basis, all countries in our region work towards developing equitable partnerships with each other. This is a logical extension of the Government's policy of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, our Sabka Vishwas into the foreign policy arena," said the Government.

Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined the principles of engagement in the neighbourhood in the form of Samman (respect), Samvad (dialogue), Shanti (peace), and Samriddhi (prosperity).

A wide range of agreements have been concluded with our neighbourhood countries for partnering in areas of infrastructural linkages via rail, road, ports, inland waterways connectivity, energy cooperation, standardisation of commercial and trading practices, widening broadening people-to-people contacts and cultural cooperation.

Some of the key projects completed in recent years include the Afghan Parliament building, the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, the Agartala-Akhaura rail link with Bangladesh, India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline, Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) at Birgunj and Biratnagar in Nepal, fish processing plants in Addu Atoll, Maldives, and Jaffna Cultural Centre in Sri Lanka and other projects.

"Work is ongoing on several projects wherein India has extended grants and LOCs to enhance infrastructural connectivity. India accorded its immediate neighbourhood the highest priority when it came to coordinated efforts against COVID-19. At the Video Conference of SAARC Leaders on combating COVID-19 in March 2020, a USD 10 million COVID-19 Emergency Fund was announced, which became operational to deliver urgent medical supplies, equipment and humanitarian assistance to the SAARC neighbours. We are using e-ITEC network to share expertise on COVID-19 with healthcare professionals from SAARC countries. We have also developed a `SAARC COVID-I9 Information Exchange Platform (COINEX)' for the exchange of specialized information and tools on COVID-19 among health professionals in the region," said the Government.

The Indian Government also informed the panel that India opened missions in 14 African countries out of 18 announced in March 2018. Personnel have been deployed to Chad and are waiting to travel to assume charge.

"All efforts are being made to operationalize the last three Missions: Mogadishu (Somalia), Bissau (Guinea-Bissau) and Praia (Cape Verde). The three new Missions in Estonia, Paraguay and Dominican Republic approved by Cabinet in December 2020 have been made operational in January-February, 2022," added the Government.

 

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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Published: 27 Dec 2022, 08:25 PM IST
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