London: British Foreign Minister David Miliband has praised India's work to bring development to embattled Afghanistan.
"We appreciate and support the impressive development work that India is doing in Afghanistan," Miliband said to a news agency at a Diwali charity dinner hosted by Indian-born industrialist Raj Loomba Thursday.
Miliband, who was guest of honour at the dinner held in the 800-year-old Guildhall, said he was able to express his sympathies to External Affairs Minister SM Krishna in a telephone conversation following a bomb blast outside the Indian embassy in Kabul Thursday.
Seventeen people were killed in the attack carried out by a Taliban suicide bomber.
"We were meant to have talked anyway, but then the explosion occurred," Miliband said.
"I was also able to talk to him about relations between India and the UK and the amazing Indian-origin community of two million we have in our country," Miliband added.
Miliband's comments came a day after Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao called upon the world community to "invest and endure" in Afghanistan, warning a failure to do so would be "costly" for the Afghan people and the world at large.
"What we believe Afghanistan needs is a long-term commitment, even while remaining mindful of the challenges," Rao said at an international seminar on Afghanistan in New Delhi.
Thursday night's Diwali dinner, attended by 475 guests, was the first such held in Guildhall, home of the City of London Corporation and the setting for banquets for visiting foreign dignitaries.
Guests at the dinner for the Loomba Trust, which works for the welfare of widows, included Trust president Cherie Blair, Bollywood actress Preity Zinta, Indian High Commissioner Nalin Surie, Caparo chairman Swraj Paul, Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz and a large number of businessmen and politicians.
First Published: Friday, October 09, 2009, 17:29