Two joint projects in the Balkh region are all set to escalate India-Afghanistan relations. India on Tuesday laid down the foundation of two infrastructural projects in Afghanistan. Two projects in the northern Balkh province of Afghanistan will be funded by the government of India. The combined cost of these two projects sums up to approximately USD 4 million. The projects include construction of a cricket ground and an 8.2 kilometres road link. This cooperation in infrastructure opens new horizons for India-Afghanistan relations.
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The cricket ground and the road link will be built in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital city of the Balkh province. The Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Vinay Kumar was invited to lay the foundation stones for the two key projects for India-Afghanistan relations. Both the projects are expected to be completed within a period of one year. Cricket has become increasingly popular in Afghanistan and very recently Afghanistan played its first-ever international test match against India.
This is not the first time that India will be making an investment in infrastructural projects in Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s Salam Dalam, New Parliament, Zaranj-Delaram highway are some key examples of India’s investments in Afghanistan. Since the weakening of the Taliban Regime India has invested more than USD 2 billion in Afghanistan and has kept the India-Afghanistan relations cordial by investing in key projects.
Following this investment, India in 2016 made a commitment to Afghanistan for a fresh aid package of USD 1 billion. This investment was pledged to extend support to Afghanistan’s reconstruction projects. India has made sure that it keeps Afghanistan by its side in its ambitions to emerge as a regional power in South Asia. Maintaining healthy relations with Afghanistan looks like a part of India’s strategy to gain control over the region and at the same time clamp down China’s growing influence in the region. What else would otherwise urge India to make such handsome investments in Afghanistan?
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