Chinese aid to Afghanistan modest: Blake
WASHINGTON (PAN): The Chinese assistance to Afghanistan is modest compared with aid from India, which has a holistic view of what it needs to do in the country, a US official told lawmakers on Wednesday.
“China has an assistance program for Afghanistan; it's relatively modest compared to the Indians. I would say it's about one-tenth of what the Indians provide,” remarked the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia.
Robert Blake, in response to a question during a congressional hearing, said a lot of humanitarian and infrastructure assistance like that would be welcome from the Chinese and the US would like to see them do more.
“The Chinese have undertaken some investment. I wouldn't want to exaggerate it. I mean, it has not undertaken as much as the Iranians have, for example. In fact we'd like to see them do more in terms of investing certainly in a lot of the regional infrastructure that will be needed,” Blake added
But the Chinese did not take a position on certain subjects like the rule of law and things like that, the assistant secretary noted, explaining that was not part of Beijing’s foreign policy.
On the other hand, he acknowledged, India had invested heavily in Afghanistan. “India has taken a holistic view of what needs to be done there, and they have a $2 billion assistance program. They've hosted an investment conference. They have been a champion of this regional integration vision,” Blake said.
Responding to questions, Blake said most of the lethal equipment was probably going to be taken out of Afghanistan. Many of the Central Asian states did not want to see lethal equipment transiting through their territory so a lot of that will have to be probably flown out or perhaps transited out through Pakistan, he concluded.
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