India hails Obama's decision to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 02, 2009 16:50 hrs

India on Wednesday hailed the U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to increase troops in Afghanistan.

Addressing reporters on the sidelines of an event in the national capital, Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said that continued military pressure on insurgents is an important security component of Afghanistan.

"As far as India is concerned we welcome the continued commitment of the US and by extension of the NATO effort in Afghanistan because our prime minister has repeatedly made clear India believes that entire international community has stake in the continued stability of Afghanistan and in the success of the democratically elected government of President Karzai in establishing his authority throughout the country. It is very clear that as long as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda elements are free to wreak havoc in Afghanistan, that the aspirations of the Afghan people for decent life, peace and security, will not be fulfilled, and for that reason the continued military pressure on them is an important security component of the challenge facing Afghanistan," Tharoor said.

Tharoor said India was contributing to Afghanistan through developmental projects.

"From India's point of view we are making our contribution to Afghanistan in a different...We are contributing through development...Indians have build roads, are producing power for Kabul, we have actually got power transmission lines laid by Indian engineers, schools, hospital, clinics. This is the source of assistance that we can provide but others are taking the security burden and we are very pleased that the pressure on Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border will not be eased," Tharoor said.

Obama, on Tuesday, said he was ordering 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan by next summer to counter a resurgent Taliban and had plans to begin a troop withdrawal in 18 months. The goal, Obama said, was to speed up the battle against Taliban insurgents, secure key population centres and train Afghan security forces so they can take over and clear the way for a U.S. exit.

Violence has escalated as tens of thousands of additional foreign troops, mainly Americans, have been deployed in response to an escalating Taliban insurgency which has claimed record numbers of military and civilian lives so far in 2009.

About 1,530 foreign troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the war started in November 2001. (ANI)

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