India to support Afghanistan beyond 2014
Speaking at a crucial conference on Afghanistan’s future in Bonn, Krishna said: "India is willing to contribute its share" in the peace and development of Afghanistan.
"In May this year, addressing Afghan Parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged an additional $500 million to the $ 1.5 billion already pledged by India to its development effort in Afghanistan until the period 2014," Krishna said.
Under a strategic partnership agreement signed in October last, he said, India was committed to all-round assistance to Afghanistan well into the future. India offered its growing market for Afghanistan's products, the minister continued.
"India is also assisting Afghanistan in building an agricultural university to tap its agriculture potential," Krishna told the conference, which was opened by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
Westerwelle promised the international community would not abandon the South Asian nation after NATO-led forces' withdrawal in 2014.
Krishna said: “We are getting together in Bonn once again after 10 years for another historic and fateful moment in Afghanistan's recent history, a moment of hope as well as anxiety.
"What we decide here today will decide the fate of Afghanistan and the region, and probably beyond, for at least another generation. Therefore, we must decide well and wisely," he stressed.
The international community had come to Afghanistan because it was a haven for terrorists. "It came because Afghanistan, under the control of an extremist ideology and under the influence of foreign countries, had become a sanctuary for terror."
He pledged the international community, particularly India, would keep supporting Afghanistan after NATO forces' pullout in 2014.
"We are also prepared to make long-term investments in Afghanistan. When we last met in Istanbul I mentioned that Indian companies are willing to invest up to id="mce_marker"0 billion in mining, setting up a steel plant and related infrastructure in Afghanistan.
"I am happy to announce that the Indian consortium has been awarded the bid for three blocks of the Hajigak iron ore reserves by the government of Afghanistan," he concluded.
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