India on Monday said it would like to pursue more joint projects with China in war-torn Afghanistan as the first batch of 10 Afghan diplomats being jointly trained by both countries started their training programme after they completed their stint in New Delhi.
The Afghan diplomats, who underwent training in New Delhi from October 15-26, began a 10-day training stint at the China Foreign Affairs University on Monday.
This is the first joint programme being undertaken in Afghanistan by India and China. It was part of an understanding at the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping held in April in China’s Wuhan city.
For China, which shares a border with Afghanistan, this is a rare initiative as it closely coordinates its Afghan policy with Pakistan. Kabul has been accusing Islamabad of backing the Taliban’s frequent violent attacks destabilising the country.
Addressing the inaugural session of the China training programme, India’s Deputy Ambassador in Beijing, Acquino Vimal said “We are hopeful that in the months to come we will be able to identify more specific projects which can be jointly done by the government of India and government of China for the benefit of Afghanistan as desired by the government and people of Afghanistan”.
Vimal said India, which is committed to Afghanistan’s efforts to emerge as a united, peaceful, secure, stable, inclusive and economically vibrant nation, has committed $3 billion for its development in the last 17 years.
“India and Afghanistan are close neighbours as well as strategic and development partners. All efforts of India as a development partner of Afghanistan have been based on the priorities set by the government and people of Afghanistan. This has been our fundamental basis for any development partnership,” an Indian Embassy press release quoted him as saying.
India’s development programmes in Afghanistan focus particularly in the areas of building infrastructure, development of human resources, enhancing connectivity and promoting trade and investment links, he said.
“Most of these major development projects have been completed over the years,” he said.
Since 2017, the next generation of new development partnership has been launched in Afghanistan through high impact community development projects in all the provinces of Afghanistan, he said.
“I am happy to inform that through our scholarship and training programme, more than 3,500 Afghan diplomats are being trained in India every year,” he said.