Kabul: The Taliban on Thursday welcomed India's Union Budget 2023-2024, and said the aid announcement by India for Afghanistan would help to improve ties and trust between the two nations, Khaama Press reported.
The Taliban's remarks came after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed a $25 million development aid package for Afghanistan in the Union Budget. Sitharaman started her Budget speech at 11 AM on Wednesday, the last full Budget of the Modi government in its second term. Like the previous two Union Budgets, the Budget 2023-24 is also presented in paperless form.
India has pledged Rs 200 crore in development aid to Afghanistan. This is India's second year of support after the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan. The initial announcement was made in the budget last year, according to Khaama Press.
Welcoming India's budget, Suhail Shaheen, former Negotiations Team Member for the Taliban said, "We appreciate India's support for Afghanistan's development. It will help to improve ties and trust between the two nations."
When the Taliban seized power in Kabul in August 2021, relations between Afghanistan and India were strained, and most initiatives supported by India came to a halt.
Regarding this, Shaheen said, "There were various projects in Afghanistan which India was funding. If India resumes work on these projects, it will boost relations between the two countries and eliminate distrust," Khaama Press reported.
India's budget for 2023-2024 holds much significance as the country is scheduled to have the next Lok Sabha election in April-May 2024.
The budget session of the Parliament began on Tuesday with President's address, subsequently tabling the Economic Survey for 2022-23. The formal exercise to prepare the annual Budget for the next financial year (2023-24) commenced on October 10.
The Economic Survey, tabled in the Parliament on Tuesday, noted India's GDP is expected to grow in the range of 6 to 6.8 per cent in the coming financial year 2023-24. This is compared to the estimated 7 per cent this fiscal year and 8.7 per cent in 2021-22.