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    India, UK pledge to aid Afghanistan after 2014

    NEW DELHI (PAN) Indian and Britain on Tuesday assured Afghanistan of all-out support for its reconstruction even after the withdrawal of foreign troops by the end of 2014.

    After a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters in New Delhi: "We discussed the situation in Afghanistan and let me make it clear that Britain is not abandoning Afghanistan.

    “We will continue to support Afghanistan even after our troops have left, through the training of the Afghan armed forces," he said, pledging long-term and substantial economic aid to the impoverished South Asian nation.

    Cameron added: "All this is part of our broader international effort to continue to support Afghanistan's security and development and to make sure it will never again become a haven of terror."

    Singh billed as candid and productive his discussions on regional and global issues with the visiting premier. The meeting covered perspectives on security and political transition in Afghanistan.

    "I conveyed India’s enduring commitment to assist Afghanistan through transition and beyond by supporting its economic growth and regional economic integration and helping develop its capacity for governance, development and security," remarked Singh.

    The prime minister said: "We also had productive discussions on other issues in our immediate neighbourhood, including Iran and West Asia. We agreed to further intensify our cooperation in combating terrorism.”

    With India having a difficult relationship with Pakistan in the neighbourhood and targetted by terrorists, it is worried over the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan.

    The two countries are expected to establish a high-level contact group to coordinate their activities and initiatives in Afghanistan in the build-up to ISAF pullout.

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague phoned called Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid to propose a joint mechanism on Afghanistan.

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