NEW DELHI: On Tuesday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said after a meeting with visiting American counterpart that India will not send troops to Afghanistan, but pledged to help the troubled country build infrastructure and stamp out terrorist safe havens.
The announcement clears the government’s stand in the backdrop of President Donald Trump’s speech this August when he, outlining his new strategy for Afghanistan, urged India to assist efforts to restore security in the country.
“There shall not be boots from India on the ground in Afghanistan,” Sitharaman said at a joint media briefing with US defence secretary James Mattis, the first high-ranking cabinet official in the Trump administration to visit India.
Mattis also briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the progress of deals signed and decisions taken during his June visit to the US. They discussed bilateral cooperation toward peace, stability and combating terrorism. The Prime Minister recalled his wide-ranging, candid, and fruitful discussions with President Trump.
New Delhi vowed to continue efforts to build Afghanistan’s infrastructure such as dams, schools, hospitals, roads and any institution the country requires.
India has contributed around $3 billion towards building highways, power transmission lines, dams, and a new parliament as well as to aid public health and education in Afghanistan.
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