India, Afghanistan Ink Pact For Visa-Free Travel By Diplomats

India and Afghanistan today inked a pact for visa-free travel by their diplomats following Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which they discussed key bilateral and regional issues including security cooperation.

ADDITION ON BILATERAL RELATIONS: India is playing an important role in the development, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan, with whom it has historic ties and converging interests. India’s well-targeted aid programs include infrastructure development, institutional capacity building, small development projects, as well as food security assistance in the form of ongoing deliveries of wheat to Afghanistan.
Government of India has taken on a number of medium and large infrastructure projects in its assistance programme in Afghanistan. Some of these are: Construction of a 218 km road from Zaranj to Delaram for facilitating movement of goods and services to the Iranian; Construction of 220kV DC transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul and a 220/110/20 kV sub-station at Chimtala, ver; two more sub-stations are being constructed at Doshi and Charikar; Construction of Salma Dam in Herat province; Construction of Afghan Parliament ; Setting up of 5 toilet-cum-public sanitation complexes in Kabul ; upgradation of telephone exchanges in 11 provinces ; Expansion of national TV network by providing an uplink from Kabul and downlinks in all 34 provincial capitals for greater integration of the country .
Since 2001, more than 10,000 Afghan students have studied in India on ICCR scholarships, meanwhile, many mid-career officers in the Afghan government have benefited from the technical capacity building programs of ITEC and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, while some 8,000 Afghan students are pursuing self-financed degrees in different fields across India.
India also has decided to provide support to the Habibia School in Kabul over the next 10 years; contribute to the        Afghan Red Crescent Society’s program to treat Child Congenital Heart disease over the next five years; and offer assistance for a program of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health in Kabul over the same period; India’s also decided to extend the 1,000 ICCR scholarships per year scheme another five years until the academic year 2021-22; both countries also signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) in 2011. India had also given three multi-role Mi-35 helicopters to Afghanistan in December for combating terrorism in the war-torn country. India is Afghanistan’s sixth largest donor, providing the country with some $2 billion in effective aid since 2001.


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