India, Afghanistan to Jointly Implement 116 'High Impact' Development Projects

India, Afghanistan agree to bolster security cooperation

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj announced the decision after the second Indo-Afghan strategic partnership council meeting with her counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani here on Monday.

The statement further said, to realize the vast potential of trade and investment, it was agreed to identify products and measures to enhance bilateral trade, including direct trade in gemstones, pharmaceuticals, and agri-products. The India-Afghanistan trade and investment show in New Delhi on September 27-30 will provide opportunity to bring businesses together. India has also liberalised visa, especially for Afghan businessmen.

Without naming Pakistan, Rabbani said Afghanistan's friendship with India does not mean hostility towards other countries in its neighbourhood.

India and Afghanistan on Monday sent a strong message to Pakistan and committed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each other and fight cross-border terrorism and terror sanctuaries.

Since 2001, India has invested about two billion dollars in several projects in Afghanistan, including the new Parliament building, opened by Modi and Ghani in December. This MoU was signed and exchanged between the National Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority of Afghanistan and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In an obvious reference to Pakistan, he said unlike others, Afghanistan did not seek "security in the insecurity of others". Rabbani briefed PM Modi on the situation in Afghanistan. "It was agreed to strengthen security cooperation between the two countries".

The new projects would include a dam and drinking water supply project for Kabul, a low-priced housing project for refugees, and a polyclinic in Mazar-e Sharif.

Rabbani emphasised India and Afghanistan had suffered from terrorism and violent extremism that has threatened the region's stability.

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said India's relationship with Afghanistan is an "article of faith" for India and that the two countries remained united in overcoming the challenges posed by cross border terrorism and safe havens and sanctuaries. India trains Afghan soldiers in its military academy and has supplied attack helicopters. New Delhi also said it will step up connectivity projects between the two countries - which remains a key challenge in the landlocked country - and start sending wheat shipments in the coming weeks.

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