India on Wednesday pledged nearly Rs 7689 crore (USD 1 billion) for Afghanistan's capacity and capability building in spheres such as education, health, agriculture, skill development, empowerment of women, energy, infrastructure and strengthening of democratic institutions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to allocate the sum after a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Delhi.
“The Prime Minister reiterated India’s abiding support for a unified, sovereign, democratic, peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. He conveyed India’s readiness to consider further requirements of Afghanistan for capacity and capability building in spheres such as education, health, agriculture, skill development, empowerment of women, energy, infrastructure and strengthening of democratic institutions.
“To this end, the Prime Minister offered that, as a close neighbour and friend of Afghanistan and its people, India would allocate a sum of USD 1 billion,” a joint statement issued by Modi and Ghani said.
The two leaders expressed grave concern at continued use of terrorism for achieving political objectives in the region and called for an end to all sponsorship and sanctuaries to terrorists, in what is seen as a message to Pakistan.
"The two leaders discussed the regional situation and expressed grave concern at continued use of terrorism and violence in the region for achieving political objectives.
"They agreed that this phenomenon presented the single biggest threat to peace, stability and progress in the region and beyond," the joint statement said without naming Pakistan, a nation that both countries accuse of sponsoring terror.
Stressing that elimination of all forms of terrorism, without any discrimination, is essential, they called upon "the concerned" to put an end to all sponsorship, support, safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists, including for those who target Afghanistan and India.
Both sides also signed three agreements - Extradition Treaty, cooperation in civil and commercial matters and the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
Modi and Ghani expressed their resolve to counter terrorism and strengthen security and defence cooperation as envisaged in the India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement.
At a delegation-level talks between the two sides at the Hyderabad House here, the Prime Minister also proposed to supply world class and easily affordable medicines from India and cooperation in solar energy through mutually agreed instruments.
Recalling that India-Afghanistan bilateral development cooperation has assisted Afghanistan's own efforts for successful political, security and economic transitions, the two leaders noted with happiness the recent completion of major milestones such as Parliament Building and the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam.
Both leaders said they looked forward to the resumption of India-US-Afghanistan consultations in New York later this month.
The Prime Minister conveyed to the President that India would continue to engage with the international community to assist the Government of Afghanistan in all possible ways.