Tuesday, December 1, 2009

President Obama calls PM Manmohan singh of afghan surge

US President Barack Obama gave PM Manmohan Singh a sample of his Afghan strategy before he announces it on Wednesday morning. While the phone call was one of several that Obama made - he spoke to Hamid Karzai, Nicholas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown, Dmitry Medvedev, Kevin Rudd and Hu Jintao - officials said India's satisfaction was derived from the high level of Obama's commitment to stay the course in Afghanistan despite growing clamor in the US for an early pullout.

The US president is set to announce an raise of around 35,000 troops in Afghanistan, putting an end to a tortuous exercise of a review of his Afghan strategy that has taken the better part of the past four months.

The Obama-Singh conversation had one more important component for India: India's own presence and activity in Afghanistan. The Indian takeaway here is that the Pakistan "line" which, in a few ways was reflected in the report prepared by the top US commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal, that Indian activities in Afghanistan could be counter-productive, was comprehensively discarded. Obama reportedly told the PM that Indian activities are not only appreciated but they should continue. India has committed almost $1.2 billion in civilian and infrastructure project in Afghanistan, in the teeth of repeated Pakistani complaints.


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