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India reworking strategy, not winding up from Afghanistan

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 21:10

New Delhi: In the backdrop of heightened
threat to its nationals in Afganistan, India is reworking its
strategy on its presence there while continuing with the
developmental projects to which it affirms its commitment.

The Ministry of External Affairs rejected reports that it was winding up its operations in Afghanistan. "India`s commitment to development partnership with Afghanistan remains undiluted,” MEA spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said.

According to the strategy planned after the February 26
attack, Indians working on various Indian government projects
would be housed in protected establishments, sources said.

About 4000 Indians are engaged in reconstruction
projects in health, power, roads and social sector across
Afghanistan under the 1.3 billion dollar assistance programme.

The MEA had last week clarified that Indian medical missions in Afghanistan have been functioning normally, barring the one in Kabul.
The other missions in Herat, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharif were functioning normally, the ministry said. India also has consulates in these cities.

India is also looking at options of securing the staff
of its Embassy in Kabul and four Consulates and would be open
to the idea of pruning their strength if it becomes absolutely
essential, the sources said.

With regard to thousands of Indians working in private
projects in Afghanistan, India is faced with the immensely
difficult task of protecting them as they are scattered.

For them, an advisory is expected, cautioning them about
risks and suggesting to them to return home if they wish to.

The rework of the strategy follows an assessment made by
National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon who had visited
Kabul last week to discuss the security for Indians in the
wake of the February 26 attack in which Indians were
specifically targeted in two hotels where they were staying.


First Published: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 21:10

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