US-India to `keep in close touch` on Afghan

Amid concerns over surge in terrorism and instability in Afghan, the US and India have agreed to "keep in close touch" about developments in the war-torn nation.

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2010, 00:25 AM IST

New York: Amid concerns over surge in
terrorism and instability in Afghanistan, the US and India
have agreed to "keep in close touch" about developments in the
war-torn nation as Washington appreciated New Delhi`s efforts
in the country`s development sector.

During a bilateral meeting between Foreign Minister
S M Krishna and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here,
India and US also agreed to embark on a road of "triangular
cooperation" in Afghanistan.

According to Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, who
accompanied Krishna for the bilateral with Clinton yesterday,
both countries felt the "need to keep in close touch about
developments in Afghanistan because they share the same goals
and concerns" in combating terrorism and securing stability.

The top Indian diplomat told journalists that the US
appreciated India`s efforts in the development sector in
Afghanistan, which included the empowerment of the weaker
sections and women as well as other activities in health,
education and communication sectors.

US Assistant Secretary Robert Blake said Clinton and
Krishna "discussed our shared commitment to Afghanistan."

"Secretary Clinton thanked the minister for the
extensive development assistance India has provided
Afghanistan and she expressed US desire to continue to work
closely in that important country," he told journalists after
the key meeting.

They also decided to embark on a road of "triangular
cooperation" in Afghanistan and African countries with a focus
on developmental projects that all the three countries can
work on together.

In the coming few months, officials from the USAID and
India will identify countries and projects, according to Rao.

Pakistan has objected to India`s presence in
Afghanistan, and raised the matter with the US several times.

Under pressure from Islamabad, Washington has
previously hinted at a lesser role for India in the war-torn
country, which New Delhi has firmly rejected.

With regard to the flood relief efforts in Pakistan,
Blake noted that US welcomed India`s contribution of USD 25
million contribution where the natural disaster has impacted
21 million people as well as destroyed large tracts of
agriculture and infrastructure.

"The Secretary took the opportunity to thank Minister
Krishna for India`s USD 25 million contribution to flood
relief for Pakistan," the top US official said.

Clinton and Krishna are here to attend the opening
session of the General Assembly, which kicked off last week,
and is now winding down.

Krishna will speak at the annual debate of the General
Assembly tomorrow.

PTI