India has signed 11 memorandum of understandingS (MoUs) with Afghanistan for 26 projects worth 9.5 million dollars.
These projects include construction of classrooms, the building of orphanages, health clinics, canal protection walls and enhancing economic opportunities for women. These projects will be developed in 7 provinces of Afghanistan-- Balkh, Ghor, Herat, Kabul, Bamyan, Badghis and Kapisa.
Speaking to WION from Kabul, Indian Ambassador Vinay Kumar said, "These projects will help local communities in education, employment and livelihood generation and capacity building."
These projects are part of 577 development projects being funded by India from 2005-2021 worth $120 million.
The tripartite agreement was signed between the government of India, Afghan ministry of economy and implementing ministries such as education, energy and water, public health, justice, rural rehabilitation and development. Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar signed the MoU on behalf of India in the event which was presided over by Afghanistan's chief executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah at the Sapedar palace.
According to a release by the Indian embassy in Afghanistan, "these projects come under the ambit of community-based Small Development Projects (SDP) which are aimed at building capacities and capabilities of Afghan nationals and institutions for governance and delivery of public service, developing socio-economic infrastructure, securing and promoting livelihood options"
The development comes days after US President Donald Trump mocked India's Development assistance in Afghanistan and questioned the use of "library" India built in the country. US President in the 1st cabinet meet of 2019 had said, even though he gets "along very well with India and Prime Minister Modi", PM Modi "is constantly telling me, he built a library in Afghanistan" but he "Don’t know who’s using it (the library) in Afghanistan".
India immediately slammed US with top sources telling WION, "Partnership is built on the specific needs and requirements worked out with the Government of Afghanistan. It is aimed at the welfare of the people of Afghanistan and for a tangible improvement in the lives of its people."
Since 2001, India has undertaken projects worth over $2 billion in Afghanistan. In 2016, India pledged to allocate an additional $1 bn over the next 5 years as part of its commitment to assist Afghanistan. India's development partnership in the country can be classified into 5 sectors--infrastructure development, humanitarian assistance, human resource development and capacity building, economic development, connectivity.
On the infrastructure front, India has built the Afghan Parliament, the India Afghanistan friendship dam and is currently building Shahtoot Dam which is a drinking water project for Kabul city, low-cost housing in Nangarhar province, 116 High Impact Community Development Projects. On Capacity Building, more than 3500 Afghans undergoing various training programmes in India with New Delhi also offering 500 Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) slots to Afghanistan annually. On, Humanitarian Assistance India has supplied of 1.1 million MT of wheat to Afghanistan. To connect Afghanistan with India, Direct Air Freight Corridor was established in 2017 and Chabahar provides port connectivity.