India welcomes Trump's criticism of Pakistan's support for terror groups
India has welcomed US President Donald Trump's newly announced Afghanistan strategy and his condemnation of Pakistan for allegedly backing of terror groups. Trump had also called on India to play a greater role in Afghanistan. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called up India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj before Trump's speech to give New Delhi a "heads up," the Indian Express reported.
Trump unveils Afghanistan strategy, asks India to play greater role
On August 22, President Donald Trump announced that he's putting a new strategy in place for Afghanistan and South Asia. He said he'd prolong the US military intervention in Afghanistan, but didn't mention how many US troops he'll send or for how long they'll stay. He said he'll encourage India to play a greater role in Afghanistan and also warned Pakistan against supporting terrorists.
Trump wants India to do more in Afghanistan
Trump had said: "We appreciate India's important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development."
Why Afghanistan matters to India
India has been among the biggest regional supporters of the current Afghan civilian government and has acted proactively to aid its stability. India has spent Rs. 710 crore on the construction of the Afghan parliamentary building which was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi in Kabul in 2015. Afghanistan is a major bilateral trading partner and India's gateway to trade with Central Asian countries.
What India said
After Trump's speech, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, "We welcome President Trump's determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confronting issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists. India shares these concerns and objectives."
MEA reiterates India's commitment towards Afghanistan
"We are committed to supporting the government and the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to bring peace, security, stability and prosperity in their country," the MEA said. "We have been steadfast in extending reconstruction and development assistance to Afghanistan in keeping with our traditional friendship with its people," it added. "We will continue these efforts, including in partnership with other countries," it said.
Why India has welcomed Trump's statement
Trump's statement represents a departure from the Obama administration as it is the first "clear and robust" language used by America against Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists. It marks a diplomatic victory for India who for decades has tried convincing Washington of Pakistan's nefarious plans. It comes a month after Indian PM Narendra Modi met Trump at the White House.