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India-Afghanistan Ties: Billion Dollar Investments Amid Violent Episodes

The recent episode brings to spotlight India’s ties with Afghanistan which have been hailed by many, including Afghan ambassador to India, Shaida Mohammad Abdali, who said that India was the largest regional donor to the country. The spate of investments, however, has not come easily.

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com@aishwaryak03

Updated:May 7, 2018, 1:04 PM IST
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India-Afghanistan Ties: Billion Dollar Investments Amid Violent Episodes
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (L) and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for the media outside Hyderabad House in Delhi, India September 14, 2016. | Source: REUTERS)
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New Delhi: Seven Indians were abducted in Baghlan province of Afghanistan early on Sunday morning, with the Ministry of External Affairs confirming that it was in touch with authorities to ensure their safe return. Afghanistan’s foreign minister Salah al-Din Rabbani also spoke to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and assured her that the Afghan forces were taking all necessary measures to rescue the Indians.

The recent episode brings to spotlight India’s ties with Afghanistan which have been hailed by many, including the Afghan ambassador to India, Shaida Mohammad Abdali, who said that India was the largest regional donor to the country.

In September 2017, India and Afghanistan agreed to move ahead with the New Development Partnership to the tune of $1 billion, in which India would take up hundreds of development projects in Afghanistan in areas including education, health, agriculture, water, etc.

Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping also agreed to work on several development projects in Afghanistan jointly. The bilateral trade between India-Afghanistan in 2016-17 stood at $590.1 million with India’s exports to Afghanistan being $377.2 million and imports from Afghanistan worth $212.9 million.

The spate of investments, running into billions of dollars, has not come easy.

According to South Asian Terrorism Portal (SATP), in December 2003, two Indian engineers who were working on a road project in Zabul were abducted and were released after intense negotiations. A month before that, an Indian engineer was shot dead.

Two years later, in 2005, a driver working with BRO was killed and his beheaded body found near Zaranj. Post that, India is said to have deployed close to 200 of its soldiers from ITBP for protection of Indian nationals and projects.

In 2006, an Indian engineer working with a Turkish company was killed in Farah in a bomb attack and another engineer was abducted and subsequently beheaded in Zabul. The same year, the Indian consulate in Herat was rocked by an explosion, though no casualties were reported.

In 2007, two bombs were thrown at the Indian consulate in Jalalabad. The year after, 2008, saw what was probably the first ever suicide attack on Indians in Afghanistan and it left two ITBP soldiers dead and five injured in Nimroz. The same year, the Indian consulate in Kabul was attacked after a suicide bomb went off killing over 55 people and wounding hundreds. Among those killed included senior Army officer Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta.

A year later, in 2009, the Indian embassy was attacked again, resulting in the death of 17 more people. Before the attack, in February 2009, an Indian was abducted and eventually killed.

In 2010, a guest house frequented by Indians was attacked, killing six construction workers and several Indian doctors. The same year, two Indian nationals were killed in a missile attack launched by the Taliban on the office of an Indian NGO
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