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Updated: April 20, 2010 01:35 IST

India’s role in Afghanistan ‘very critical’, says U.S.

PTI
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LIFE IN CHAOS: People walk by a house destroyed in a suicide bombing in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 16. The U.S. today said it was looking at “additional” ways to increase India’s role in the war-torn country.
AP
LIFE IN CHAOS: People walk by a house destroyed in a suicide bombing in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 16. The U.S. today said it was looking at “additional” ways to increase India’s role in the war-torn country.

Terming India’s role in Afghanistan as “very critical”, the U.S. said that it was looking at “additional” ways to increase New Delhi’s role in the war-torn country.

“India’s role has been a great success....The U.S. is looking for additional role for India in Afghanistan.....it may include civil services and anti-corruption projects,” U.S. Ambassador Timothy. J. Roemer told reporters here.

The envoy, who is planning to visit Afghanistan soon, said he would also like to learn how India has been so successful in developmental projects there.

“India’s role in Afghanistan is very critical. President Barack Obama has personally said this to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and conveyed gratitude for the contribution,” he said, adding that out of three important aspects- defence, diplomacy and development- in that country, India was actively involved in two major fields.

Allaying fears that India’s role in Afghanistan was being compromised because of the U.S.-Pak partnership, Mr. Roemer said “India has indispensable relationship with the U.S.”

He maintained his country has been soliciting India’s view on various crucial issues pertaining to the region. “We have always asked for the critical view and Prime Minister Singh has always been conveying it to the U.S.”

‘Misuse of arms will be probed’

Taking note of India’s concerns, the United States today warned Pakistan that any “misuse” of weapons supplied to it will be investigated and the U.S. Congress will take it “seriously“.

“We will look into it very seriously,” U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy. J. Roemer told reporters here, asserting that arms supplied to Pakistan should be used only for the purpose mentioned in the agreement between the two countries.

The envoy’s comments came just days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama last week, voiced apprehensions about the misuse of U.S. military supplies to Pakistan.

”...There are allegations of misuse of weapons given to Pakistan for other purposes. We will investigate it, Congress will take the issue seriously,” Mr. Roemer said.

The envoy also maintained that before the U.S. undertook the strategic dialogue with Pakistan last month, his country had reached out to India to seek its “concerns and perspective“.

Mr. Roemer said even after the strategic dialogue was over, his country sought India’s views on the crucial issues pertaining to the Af-Pak situation and the region as whole.


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