Hours after US President Donald Trump took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan, Indian officials came out with a befitting reply this evening. Replying to Trump's "Library In Afghanistan" dig, India said developmental help can be critical to transforming the war-ravaged country. "India firmly believes in the critical role that developmental assistance can play in transforming human lives. They added that "India's partnership with Afghanistan is built on the specific needs and requirements worked out with the government of Afghanistan and is aimed at the welfare of the people of Afghanistan and for a tangible improvement in the lives of its people," the government sources said on Thursday.
Mocking at India's developmental works in the strife-torn country, Trump said the library is of no use in Afghanistan as he accused India of not doing enough for the security of the land-locked country. Besides, Trump also asked Russia, Pakistan and other neighbouring countries to take responsibility for the security of Afghanistan, where he has ordered a troop reduction on an unspecified timetable.
Trump last month moved to cut by half the 14,000-strong force in Afghanistan, calling for less spending overseas.
Meanwhile, reacting to Trump's dig, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said, "Tenor and tone of the US president describing the Prime Minister of India is not in good taste and is completely unacceptable."
Taking to Twitter, Patel wrote, "Hope our government responds firmly and reminds America that since 2004, India has built extensive roads, dams in Afghanistan and pledged over USD 3 billion in assistance".
Tenor & tone of the US President describing the Prime Minister of India is not in good taste & is completely unacceptable
Hope our Govt responds firmly & reminds America that since 2004,India has built extensive roads,dams in Afghanistan & pledged over $3 billion in assistance pic.twitter.com/wdil1hse6w— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) January 3, 2019
Though the United States has been pressing India to send troops to Afghanistan, a demand repeatedly rejected by India, this is the first time the US administration has publicly mocked India's developmental works in the strife-torn country.
Trump in his comments to his Cabinet colleagues referred to Prime Minister Modi as an example of how world leaders are talking about their contributions that were nowhere near the "billions of dollars" the US was spending.
In his remarks, Trump said, "I could give you an example where I get along very well with India and Prime Minister Modi. But he is constantly telling me, he built a library in Afghanistan. Library! That's like five hours of what we spend (in Afghanistan)."
"And he (Modi) tells me. He is very smart. We are supposed to say, oh thank you for the library. Don't know who's using it (the library) in Afghanistan. But it's one of those things. I don't like being taken advantage of," he said.
"I say this, India. (I have) great relationship with Prime Minister Modi. He is a great gentleman and a great man and he's done a fantastic job. He has brought the country together," Trump added.
(With inputs from agencies)