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India Pledges $1 Billion In Aid To Afghanistan

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (left) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands prior to a meeting in New Delhi on September 14.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged $1 billion in economic aid to Afghanistan after holding talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in New Delhi.

A joint statement by the two leaders said the aid would be used for building capacity in education, health, agriculture, energy, and infrastructure in Afghanistan.

The two leaders also denounced the sponsorship of terrorism in the region, a thinly veiled dig at Pakistan.

Kabul and New Delhi accuse Islamabad of supporting militants that have carried out attacks in India and Afghanistan.

"The two leaders discussed the regional situation and expressed grave concern at continued use of terrorism and violence in the region for achieving political objectives," said the joint statement.

Ghani, who arrived in New Delhi on September 14 on a two-day visit, is also expected to ask New Delhi for increased defense supplies, including lethal weapons from India, which for the first time gave four Mi-25 attack helicopters to Kabul last year.

Ghani, on his second visit to India since taking office in 2014, will also hold talks with the Indian business community and deliver an address at a prominent think tank in New Delhi.

Based on reporting by Hindustan Times and Indian Express