India is building Afghanistan but Trump doesn’t know
A few days back, the US President Donald Trump decided to pull the US forces out of Afghanistan and talked about the support of the regional countries to Afghanistan. While speaking on India’s role in the security of Afghanistan, the US President Donald Trump mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan.
Trump said that PM Modi was constantly telling him that he built a library in Afghanistan. “You know what that is? That’s like five hours of what we spend,” Trump said. “And we’re supposed to say, ‘Oh, thank you for the library.’ I don’t know who’s using it in Afghanistan,” Trump further added.
In this context, it is important to look upon India’s investment in Afghanistan. India is striving
hard for Afghanistan’s stability through developmental projects
particularly since 2001. According to the Afghanistan embassy in New Delhi, India has provided over a billion dollars in development assistance to Afghanistan. Over the years, India’s support for Afghanistan has increased immensely. India has been playing a pivotal role in the development in sectors like agriculture, infrastructure, public health, industry, human resource development etc. As part of a new development partnership, India has agreed on 116 high impact developmental projects in 31 provinces of Afghanistan.
Transport is the area which makes a country’s economy stronger and self-reliant. And due to complex geographical land order, Afghanistan’s import and export depend on other’s nations like Pakistan. Here it is worth mentioning that when Pakistan blocked Afghanistan-India land corridor, India decided to do business between both nations through sea corridor. And this is the reason why India-backed Chabahar port complex on Iran’s coast along the Gulf of Oman is being developed as a transportation corridor for land-locked Afghanistan. Most importantly, India has also taken over operations of the strategic Chabahar port which will be adding a new dimension for the economic development of Afghanistan and the region. And India’s import and exports has commenced through sea route. According to the Afghan government, India has sent 1.1 million tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan. Not only this, the air-corridor programme between Afghanistan-India has also taken productive strides to export-import goods of the two countries which is running successfully. Other major trade and investment from India in Afghanistan are pharmaceuticals and electrical parts. Indian experts in IT and financial services are also supporting in the human resource development in a great way.
Human resource development plays a major role in making a country and its society. India is also helping Afghanistan in the area of human resource development and providing quality education to Afghan students. India has been providing education and capacity building training to Afghanistan which includes 1000 scholarships to Afghan students annually to study in different Indian universities and vocational training programmes. As the health sector in Afghanistan is in terrible salutation and therefore, India is also assisting Afghanistan in the area of the health sector. Owing to this, India’s advanced medical health care facility is enjoyed by Afghan patients who often come to India through medical visa. For Afghanistan, Indian Government has also eased the medical visa facility since 2005 and this has made easier for the patients to travel to India for their treatment. India has also provided a 400-bed children’s hospital.
In defence sector, it is true that the US has assisted more to Afghan Forces and according to the current report of New York Times, US has spent more than $8 billion on Afghan Air Force. However, the contribution of India in building Afghanistan could also be not avoided. India is playing a major role in training and education of Afghan National Army personnel – over 4000 already trained. India has provided military helicopters and has committed to buy another 4 MI 35 Helicopters for ANA from a third country. According to the Afghanistan government, India has also committed to assist with the maintenance of those helicopters and provide spare parts. India also provides tactical equipment such as military trucks to Afghanistan National Army.
Here it is important to mention the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project which will be historic between these two nations and it will boost economic development in Afghanistan. The air corridor programme between Afghanistan and India has added new momentum for increased economic integration. The ‘New Development Partnership’ project of India in Afghanistan aims at rejuvenating growth by implementing the high Impact Community Development projects in the areas of education, health, agriculture, irrigation, drinking water, renewable energy, flood control, micro-hydropower, sports infrastructure, administrative infrastructure in almost all provinces of Afghanistan.
India also built Salma Dam, hydroelectric and irrigation dam project located on the Hari River in Chishti Sharif District of Herat Province in western Afghanistan. The dam was opened on 4 June 2016 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi . The hydroelectric plant produces 42 MW of power and provides irrigation for 75,000 hectares of farmland. India is also striving its best to strengthen the democracy in Afghanistan and as a result of this, in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Afghan parliament building that was constructed by India at a cost of USD 90 million.
By Ravi Mishra