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India Afghanistan's most reliable partner: Pentagon report

Afghanistan and India have become closer in recent years, with their common grouse being Pakistan's inability to crack down on Islamist militants. In photo: The premiers of the two countries -- Afghanistan's Ashraf Ghani and India's Narendra Modi. Photograph: (Zee News Network)

PTI Washington, United States Jun 21, 2017, 08.08 AM (IST)

India is Afghanistan's most reliable regional partner, the Pentagon has said in its latest Afghan report, the first under the Trump administration.

"India is providing significant training opportunities for Afghan officers and enlisted personnel. Approximately 130 Afghans travel to India each year to attend the various military academy and commissioning programs," it said in the six- monthly report to the US Congress.

"India is Afghanistan's most reliable regional partner and the largest contributor of development assistance in the region, including civil development projects such as the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam and the Afghan parliament building," the Pentagon added.

According to the report which covers the period from December 2016 to May 2017, India has donated security assistance, most notably four Mi-35 aircraft.

In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed the Chabahar Port agreement opening a trade route into Central Asia and Europe and allowing for the bypass of Pakistan, the Pentagon said.

India enjoys close relations with Afghanistan, and both accuse common neighbour Pakistan of not doing enough to stop Islamist militants operating on its territory.

India provided development aid of Rs 221 crore to Afghanistan between April 1, 2016, and March 27, 2017, according to official figures.

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