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WorldIndia rejects Trump's 'sermons' on Afghanistan, says it is building lives

09:20  04 january  2019
09:20  04 january  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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Trump took a jibe at Modi for funding a "library" in Afghanistan , saying it is of no use in the war-torn country as he criticised India and others for not doing The sources said India plays a significant role in the country as its development partner and that the partnership is built on the specific needs and

India rejects Trump's 'sermons' on Afghanistan, says it is building lives© Reuters/Jonathan Ernst FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bilateral meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi alongside the ASEAN Summit in Manila,

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's ruling and opposition parties condemned U.S. President Donald Trump's comments this week mocking New Delhi's role in war-torn Afghanistan, where the South Asian country has invested billion of dollars in economic projects and military training.

The United States and India have drawn closer in recent years as they seek ways to counter-balance China's spreading influence across Asia.

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Trump slams India for funding library in Afghanistan . India has also been supplying military equipment to Afghanistan besides providing training to hundreds of Afghan security personnel. The sources said India plays a significant role in the country as its development partner and that the partnership is

Developmental assistance can play a major role in transforming Afghanistan , official sources said Thursday, rejecting US President Donald Trump ' s jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over funding of a "library" in the war-ravaged country.

But Trump's apparent bid to undermine India's developmental work in Afghanistan has annoyed not just politicians but also many ordinary Indians.

Trump said on Wednesday he got along very well with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi but that Modi was "constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan".

"You know what that is? That's like five hours of what we spend," Trump told reporters at the White House. "And we are supposed to say, 'oh, thank you for the library'. I don't know who is using it in Afghanistan."

It was not immediately clear which library Trump was referring to, but both Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the main opposition Congress were united in their criticism of the U.S. president.

India has centuries-old ties with Afghanistan and both accuse common neighbor Pakistan of not doing enough to stop Islamist militants operating on their territory. Pakistan denies the charges.

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India - Afghan partnership is built on specific needs and requirements worked out with the Afghan government: Sources. Trump took a jibe at Modi for funding a "library" in Afghanistan , saying it is of no use in the war-torn country as he criticised India and others for not doing enough for the nation' s

India rejected US President Donald Trump ' s comments mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan , saying Thursday that Ram Madhav, general secretary of Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said on Twitter that India was " building lives " in Afghanistan .

"May be Trump should know that while he is decrying every other help in Afghanistan, India has been building not only libraries, but roads, dams, schools and even parliament building," Ram Madhav, a BJP general secretary, said on Twitter.

"We are building lives, for which the Afghan people thank us, no matter what others do or don’t."

Congress said India did not "need sermons from the U.S on Afghanistan".

The United States has 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, with reports it may be set to withdraw more than 5,000, a sign Trump's patience is thinning with America's longest war. Trump has already decided to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria.

Modi's office did not respond to an email seeking comment. Reuters could not reach the White House outside regular business hours in the United States.

India is the biggest South Asian donor to Afghanistan, spending around $2 billion on reconstruction and rehabilitation, according to the Indian embassy in Kabul. Over the past few years India has helped Afghanistan build roads, erect power transmission lines and construct a parliament building.

Kabul has not yet responded to Trump's comments.

Afghanistan’s national security advisor, Hamdullah Mohib, is meeting his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and other officials in New Delhi on Friday.

"Trump mocked India, a key U.S. non-NATO partner that's done major development work in Afghanistan, for building a library there," Michael Kugelman, South Asia senior associate at the Washington-based Wilson Center think-tank, said on Twitter. "Sigh."

(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Michael Perry)

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