Indian assistance to Afghanistan will continue: Antony

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MUSCAT - India Tuesday said its economic and development activities in Afghanistan would continue, despite terrorist attacks on Indians there, till peace returns to the war-ravaged nation.

Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony who is on a two-day visit to Oman, made the assertion during talks with his counterpart Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib Al Busaidi in Muscat, an Indian official who is accompanying the minister said. The two leaders discussed a number of issues, including terrorism and Afghanistan.

Referring to Afghanistan, where India has pledged $1.3 billion for reconstruction projects, Antony said: “We (India and Oman) have a common aim in Afghanistan and that is to ensure that it does not become a base or safe haven for terrorists again. We want a stable, moderate, unified and democratic Afghanistan.”

Antony said Indian efforts in Afghanistan were focussed on economic and social development activities. “We intend to continue such activities even though we have lost personnel and have suffered attacks on our embassy in Kabul.”

There are over 3,500 Indians involved in different reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, undeterred despite 17 Indians being killed in separate terrorist attacks in the last three years.

Nine Indians were killed in 2008 including seven in the terror attack on Indian embassy in Kabul, one in 2009 and seven in 2010.

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