New Delhi: India on Wednesday (February 1, 2023) announced a development assistance of Rs 200 crore for Afghanistan in its Union Budget for 2023-24. Taliban welcomed the Indian announcement and said that it will contribute to boosting relations and trust between the two countries.
“We appreciate development assistance for Afghanistan by India. It will contribute to boosting relations and trust between the two countries,” Taliban’s Suhail Shaheen told Zee Media.
“There were various projects in Afghanistan which were being funded by India… If India resumes work on these projects, it will contribute to boosting relations between the two countries and eliminating distrust,” he added.
“The people of Afghanistan are currently facing poverty and unemployment and need reconstruction and development projects more than ever,” Shaheen said.
India has been responsible for building the Afghan Parliament and the India-Afghanistan friendship dam in the Herat province.
It is noteworthy that India, for the second year in a row since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, has continued its support for the Islamic nation, despite not recognizing the regime.
Taliban had taken over the country after the collapse of the Afghan republic in August 2021.
India has several times emphasized its historic links with the Afghan people and has even sent consignments of wheat, vaccines, and humanitarian support to the country.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was allocated a total of Rs 18,050 crore in the Union Budget for 2023-24, which is an increase of around 4.64 per cent over last year’s allocation of Rs 17,250 crore.
The total outlay included Rs 5,408 crore of development aid to various countries and over Rs 990 crore towards India’s G20 Presidency.
In line with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the largest share of the aid portfolio was granted towards Bhutan with the allocation of Rs 2,400 crore, which constituted 41.04 per cent of the MEA’s development assistance.
An enhanced allocation of Rs 400 crore under aid to the Maldives was made to meet the requirement of funds mainly towards ongoing projects such as the Greater Male connectivity project and high-impact community development project.
According to the budget document, Nepal will get development aid worth Rs 550 crore, Mauritius to receive Rs 460 crore while the amount for Myanmar has been pegged at Rs 400 crore.
Sri Lanka, which is reeling under an economic crisis, will receive development aid to the tune of Rs 150 crore while an amount of Rs 250 crore has been set aside for African countries.