India to host moot on Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (PAN): Ahead of the Tokyo meeting on Afghanistan in July, India would host a conference to boost international private-sector investment in the war-battered country, the Obama administration announced on Thursday.
“India will also host on June 28 a conference to examine ways to boost international private-sector investment in Afghanistan,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said.
Addressing the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he said the conference would feature over 50 Afghan firms -- with 10 of the companies owned by women -- whose presence would spur direct business-to-business links.
The New Delhi conference would inform a July 8 government summit in Tokyo that would develop strategies for Afghanistan’s economic development, the official said.
Afghanistan would be one of the key issues of discussion when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds talks with the Indian delegation led by External Affairs Minister SM Krishna in Washington on June 13.
“Any discussion of our strategic ties must begin with Afghanistan. The United States and India share a commitment to Afghanistan’s stable and prosperous future and have each signed Strategic Partnership Agreements with the Afghan government,” he said.
Having committed more than $2 billion in assistance to Kabul since 2001, Delhi is helping reconstruct Afghanistan’s parliament, equip the Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital and train students as farmers, tailors, plumbers, carpenters and welders.
Delhi, he acknowledged, shared the American objective to develop the Afghan economy and put it on a more sustainable, private sector-led footing to help reduce reliance on aid. For example, it would invest billions to develop Afghanistan’s Hajigak iron ore deposit, he added.
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