Thursday’s (January 3, 2019) news space was abuzz with the American President Donald Trump’s comment with regard to the situation in Afghanistan. He reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with respect to India and other countries for not forthcoming enough in the affairs of Afghanistan. There may not be a necessity to clarify Indian role in Afghanistan to the American President, nevertheless, we as Indians should know the fact that India has been playing an active role in rebuilding Afghanistan.
If anybody thinks that India’s involvement in the Afghanistan is limited to building a library, then they are grossly mistaken. As noted in our earlier article, India has been playing the geo-politics to its advantage in the last 4.5 years. India’s role in rebuilding the war-torn Afghanistan is rather long-term and far-reaching as we have a strategic interest in the country as well.
India’s Role in Afghanistan
Here how the facts stand as far as India’s role in rebuilding Afghanistan is concerned:
- As the government informed the Lok Sabha in August 2015, India has committed over US$ 2 billion to Afghanistan in the form of a variety of development and humanitarian assistance projects.
- Part of this commitment was construction of the Afghan Parliament Building, which is already fulfilled by India. PM Modi inaugurated the Afghan Parliament in December 2015.
- Another big commitment was construction of the Salma Dam, which has also been completed. As reported, it is expected to generate 43 megawatts of electricity for 40,000 families and will irrigate 80,000 hectares of farmland, belonging to 50,000 families.
- In another flagship scheme, setting up of power sub-stations at Doshi- Charikar in northern Afghanistan, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned two 220/20kV substations in Afghanistan.
- India’s food assistance to Afghanistan stand at 1 million tonnes of wheat, partly in form of grain, and partly as biscuits for about 1.5 million school children provided through the World Food Programme.
- 1,000 annual scholarships to Afghan students for undergraduate and higher studies in India.
- Training and medical treatment for personnel of Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in India.
Indo-Afghan Partnership - As Seen By Media
Above are the highlights of India’s role in rebuilding Afghanistan. If one goes into the detail, India has initiated more than 100 projects and has been actively playing a transformational role in Afghanistan covering as many as 31 provinces of the country. This has been acknowledged by various media reports from time to time as the below snapshots show:
One can not understand the role of India in rebuilding Afghanistan just by seeing it through other country’s prism. India’s role in Afghanistan has a sustainable approach as it involves building roads, strengthening democratic institutions, constructing public amenities so on and so forth. The progress made by India in this regard is there for the world to see.