NEW DELHI: India signed 11 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) worth a total of $9.5 million with Afghanistan, said the Indian Embassy in Kabul.
“These projects come under the ambit of community-based Small Development Projects (SDPs) which are aimed at building capacities and capabilities of Afghan nationals and institutions for governance and delivery of public service, developing socioeconomic infrastructure, securing and promoting livelihood options,” the embassy said in a press release.
Presided over by the CEO of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the MoUs were signed by Indian Ambassador Vinay Kumar and various Afghan ministries.
The projects include constructing classrooms, orphanages and canal protection walls, as well as enhancing economic opportunities for women.
“Since 2005 the Indian government has committed $200 million to support over 550 projects throughout Afghanistan under SDP,” the Indian Embassy said.
These programs are aimed at facilitating development of the local community, creation of basic infrastructure like schools, health centers, bridges, roads, irrigation facilities. it said.
Kumar was quoted by the media as saying: “These projects will help local communities in education, employment and livelihood generation and capacity building.”
Abdullah thanked India, writing on social media: “We signed MoUs for implementing 26 projects worth $9.5 million; part of 577 development projects at total cost of $120 million, funded by India from 2005-2021.”
Pranay Kotasthane, a research fellow at the Bangalore-based Takshashila Institution, said: “India has carved a niche for itself as a donor that is committed to state-building and economic development.”
But “economic support rests on a peaceful security environment, and with the US deciding to scale back its military presence (in Afghanistan), India needs to do a lot more on the political and security aspects,” he added.
India “should build up the counterinsurgency capacity of the Afghan police and ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces),” and “create a plan for transferring more military equipment,” he said.
“New Delhi needs to throw its weight behind formations that have commonality with Indian interests.”
Since 2001, India has committed $3 billion for developmental assistance to Afghanistan.