Washington: US does not want India to shut
down its consulates in Afghanistan and recognizes that New
Delhi has a role in the war-torn country and in the dialogue
about the future of the nation, top Obama officials have said.
"No," the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic
Communication, Ben Rhodes, told a group of Indian reporters at
a special White House briefing, when asked if Washington is
planning to push India to close its consulates in Afghanistan
as being demanded by Pakistan.
"We do not view these things through that kind of prism.
With regard to Afghanistan, we believe that there is a
role for the international communities are playing and the
countries of the region are playing supporting stability in
India has played a constructive role through its
development assistance," Rhodes said.
Besides, the capital Kabul, India has consulates in
eastern provinces of Jalalabad and Kandahar and in the western
province of Herat.
"We have long made clear our support for India`s
contributions in Afghanistan," the Under Secretary of State
for Political Affairs, Bill Burns, said in another White House
briefing earlier in the day.
"India has contributed something like USD 1.3 billion
worth of development assistance in agriculture and other areas
over the last eight or nine years in Afghanistan -- at some
cost, because there have been Indian workers who have lost
their lives during that period," he said.
"So we not only recognize but support the kind of role
that India has been playing in supporting development in
Afghanistan," Burns said.
"We see India has having played an important role (in
Afghanistan). We believe that India has played and can
continue to play a constructive role. We share the interest in
stability in the region. We share an interest in
counter-terrorism," the Deputy National Security Advisor for
Strategic Communication, Ben Rhodes said.
"We share an interest in stable Afghanistan that does not
provide safe haven for terrorist groups and I think they
(India) will be a key part of some of the talks that we have
as we move forward with our strategy to provide more resource
to break the momentum of the Taliban and build the capacity of
the Afghan government," Rhodes said.
"We see as a constructive partner in those efforts and we
want to make sure that India is a part of our dialogue about
the future of the region," he said.
Geoffrey Pyatt, State Department Principal Deputy
Assistant Secretary for South Asia said the US sees India as a
very positive force in Afghanistan and expects that the
discussion would continue during the President`s visit.