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    India to build dams, train Afghan forces

    KABUL (PAN): As NATO-led foreign troops prepare to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, India on Tuesday reaffirmed its long-term commitment to training and equipping Afghan security forces.

    Visiting Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon held out the assurance during separate meetings with President Hamid Karzai and his Afghan counterpart Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.     

    Menon promised that his country, in addition to building power dams and schools, would fund development projects in Afghanistan under a 2011 strategic cooperation agreement between the two nations.

    Karzai expressed his deep appreciation of the constructive role New Delhi had been playing in Afghanistan’s development. Cultural exchanges, people-to-people contacts and India’s education scholarships for Afghan military and civilian officials also figured at the meeting.

    Separately, Spanta briefed Menon on the need for sustained foreign aid to his country, capacity-building of local forces, the ongoing security transition process, the overall regional situation and issues of bilateral interest.

    He also referred to Afghanistan’s achievements over the past 11 years and praised India’s generous assistance to the country in different sectors, a statement from the Presidential Palace said.

    The ex-foreign minister urged the visiting official to encourage Indian entrepreneurs to make use of the investment opportunities in Afghanistan and thereby help boost bilateral investment partnership.

    During his day-long trip, Menon also conferred with his interlocutors in Kabul on the presidential ballot, parliamentary elections in 2015, regional stability and the ongoing security switch, an official confided to Pajhwok Afghan News.

    Since the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2011, India has made a huge investment in Afghanistan, largely in economic and infrastructure development sectors, with a view to stabilising the country.