January 3, New Delhi: India has defended the decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a “library” in Afghanistan just hours after US President Donald Trump mocked him suggesting it is of no use. Indian officials said developmental help can be critical to transforming the war-ravaged country.
In a rambling press appearance at a cabinet meeting which was his first cabinet meeting in the new year, Wednesday, President Trump defended his push for the United States to invest less overseas. He referred to Narendra Modi as an example of how world leaders are talking about their contributions that were nowhere near the "billions of dollars" the US was spending.
He asked India, Russia, Pakistan and other neighbouring countries to take responsibility for Afghanistan's security. He also took a jibe at Modi for funding a "library" in Afghanistan, saying it is of no use in the war-torn country as he criticised India and others for not doing enough for the nation's security.
India, on the other hand, rejected his jibe saying, developmental assistance can play a major role in transforming Afghanistan. “India's partnership with Afghanistan is built on the specific needs and requirements worked out with the Government of Afghanistan and it is aimed at the welfare of the people of Afghanistan and for a tangible improvement in the lives of its people”, Government officials explained.
The sources also added, “India may be building small libraries as part of the community development initiative, but most of its investments in Afghanistan were on mega infrastructure projects including the 218 km road from Zaranj to Delaram, the Salma Dam and the new Afghan Parliament building”.
According to Government officials, India plays a significant role in the country as its development partner and that the partnership is built on the specific needs and requirements worked out with the Afghan government. "India seeks to build capacities and capabilities of Afghan nationals and its institutions for governance and delivery of public service, develop socio-economic infrastructure, secure lives and promote livelihood”, sources added.
India has also been supplying military equipment to Afghanistan besides providing training to hundreds of Afghan security personnel.