NEW DELHI:- India welcomed President Donald Trump’s plan to increase US engagement in Afghanistan on Tuesday, saying it shares Washington’s concerns about a safe haven for terrorists in its backyard. “We welcome President Trump’s determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confronting issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists,” the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement. “India shares these concerns and objectives.”–AFP

New Delhi, already the fifth largest donor of aid to Afghanistan, said it would continue its efforts, “including in partnership with other countries”.

India has vied with Pakistan for influence in Afghanistan, building dams, roads and a new parliament in the troubled country. Last year, it offered a fresh $1 billion in aid.

Analysts said Trump’s speech offered reassurance to those in New Delhi who feared a US pullout could pave the way for greater Pakistani involvement in Afghanistan. Instead, they said, Trump had made clear he would overlook Pakistani concerns to allow India to build its engagement there.

“The Bush administration had been friendly with India, but told India to withhold involvement in Afghanistan as that would anger Pakistan,” C Raja Mohan, director at Carnegie India think-tank told AFP. “This is an opportunity for India to contribute more purposefully to Afghanistan.”