Highlights:

  • External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar gave his valuable remarks on Afghanistan 2020 conference.
  • Dr. S. Jaishankar spoke about the natural historical relationship between India and Afghanistan.
  • He informed, that India as a stakeholder will always want to be a part of Afganistan`s attainment process of peace and sovereignty.

Dr. S. Jaishankar addresses the virtual meeting of Afghanistan Conference 2020 and spoke about the involvement of India in Afghanistan’s development and the peace process. He thanked all the members of the conference for conducting the meeting in a tough time like this. He greeted all the members present who also dream of a progressive Afghanistan. EAM, Dr. S. Jaishankar also reached out to show his condolences for those who lost their lives in the recent unfortunate attack on Kabul University.

The External Minister of India proceeded further in the conference by mentioning India`s development portfolio of more than US dollar 3 billion for Afghanistan aimed at building capacities and capabilities of Afghan nationals as well as institutions with a view to improving Governance and Public Service. No part of Afghanistan on this very day is untouched by India`s 400 + project spread across all the 34 provinces of Afghanistan.

Ongoing developmental programs are centered around five pillars of large infrastructure projects, human resource development, and capacity building, humanitarian assistance, high impact community development projects, and enhancing trade and investment through air and land connectivity. Large Infrastructure Projects have been completed including the construction of 218 kilometer Road from Delaram to Zaranj on the Iran border which provides alternative connectivity for Afghanistan through Iran.

The India-Afghanistan Friendship Dam and the Afghan Parliament building which was inaugurated in 2015 are true symbols of Afghan democracy. He further mentioned that around 65000 Afghan students have studied in India under various scholarship programs and even at this very moment 15000 students are studying in India. 3000 scholarships have been so far granted to young Afghan women to pursue higher studies in India. Beyond basic education vocational education has also been provided to a large number of women in Afghanistan, this number shall increase every year with the long-term commitment to help rebuild Afghanistan. 

Dr. S. Jaishankar then mentioned that Afghanistan’s landlocked geography had been a big constraint for its growth and the world should address that. Through Chabahar Port alternative connectivity has been provided to Afghanistan that helped to transport 75000 tons of wheat during the Covid pandemic. India was also able to send more than 20 terms of life-saving medicines and other equipment to address the covid challenge. 

External Affairs Minister happily announced that an agreement with Afghanistan for building the Shahtoot Dam has been made which would provide safe drinking water to 2 million residents of Kabul city. It builds on the 202-kilometer transmission line of 2009 through which India provided power to the city. India will also launch Phase 4 of high-impact community development projects in Afghanistan which includes around 150 projects worth 80 million dollars. 

India has invested heavily in peace and development in Afghanistan and so it strongly believes that the gains of the last two decades must be preserved and that the interest of the minorities, women, and vulnerable sections must be ensured. The increasing level of violence in Afghanistan naturally remains a matter of grave concern. While India supports all efforts to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan it calls for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire, the nation also believes the peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan controlled. 

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