Nov 24: External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar led the Indian delegation at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference being organized in Geneva from 23-24 November 2020 over VTC. The Conference is co-hosted by the United Nations, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and the Government of Finland and aims to reaffirm the commitment of the International community to Afghanistan during the second half of the transformational decade 2015-2024.
EAM announced at the conference that India had just concluded with Afghanistan an agreement for the construction of the Shatoot dam, which would provide safe drinking water to 2 million residents of Kabul city. India had earlier built the 202-km Phul-e-Khumri transmission line that provided electricity to Kabul city. EAM also announced launch of Phase-IV of the High Impact Community Development Projects in Afghanistan, which envisages more than 100 projects worth US$ 80 million that India would undertake in Afghanistan. In his statement, EAM emphasized India’s long term commitment to the development of Afghanistan and the benefit of it’s people as a contiguous neighbor and strategic partner.
India’s development portfolio in Afghanistan has to-date amounted to over US$ 3 billion. EAM highlighted that no part of Afghanistan today is untouched by the 400 plus projects that India has undertaken in all 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces. More than 65,000 Afghan students have also studied in India.
EAM pointed out that Afghanistan’s growth has been constrained by its land locked geography and highlighted India’s efforts to provide an alternate connectivity through Chabahar port and a dedicated Air Freight Corridor between India and Afghanistan. India’s humanitarian assistance of 75,000 tonnes of wheat to strengthen food security of Afghanistan during the Covid pandemic has been transported through Chabahar port.
India has invested heavily in peace and development in Afghanistan and believes that the gains of the last two decades must be preserved and the interests of minorities, women and vulnerable sections must be ensured. EAM expressed concern regarding the increasing level of violence in Afghanistan and reiterated India’s call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire.
As an important stakeholder, India looks forward to walking hand in hand with the people of Afghanistan and the world community in working towards a peaceful, prosperous, sovereign, democratic, and united Afghanistan.