Obama Lauds India's Afghan Role, to Monitor Pakistan Aid

By Manish Chand and Arun Kumar

Washington, Apr 12 (IANS): Rejecting any disconnect between New Delhi and Washington on regional issues, US President Barack Obama has lauded India's role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and assured that the US will strictly monitor military aid to Pakistan.

"There was absolutely no disconnect. The president (Obama) was very appreciative of India's contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan and enormous sacrifices made by India," India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told journalists here Sunday.

Rao was briefing journalists after 50-minute talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Obama on the eve of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit that begins Monday.

"Obama understood and showed deep appreciation for India's contribution in Afghanistan and expressed support for continuing aid to it," Rao said amid sustained Pakistan's propaganda offensive to get the US to influence India to scale down its presence in Afghanistan.

Obama's remarks came six weeks after the Feb 26 suicide attack in Kabul that killed seven Indians. Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba was suspected to be the mastermind of the Kabul attack.

India has been involved in multifarious reconstruction activities in Afghanistan ranging from building roads, bridges and power stations to quick gestation grassroots projects involving ordinary Afghans.

India has pledged $1.3 billion for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, making New Delhi the biggest regional donor to that country.

"The security assistance to Pakistan is being monitored and will be kept under observation keeping India's interests in mind," Rao quoted Obama telling Manmohan Singh after the latter raised India's concerns over the US military aid to Pakistan that has often been deployed against India.

Obama also shared India's concerns over the activities of anti-India terrorist outfits in Pakistan like Lashkar-e-Taiba and its chief ideologue Hafiz Saeed, suspected to be the mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai massacre.




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Title: Obama Lauds India's Afghan Role, to Monitor Pakistan Aid

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