India’s ruling and opposition parties have condemned US President Donald Trump’s comments mocking their country’s role in Afghanistan, saying New Delhi “plays a significant role as a development partner” to Kabul.
Trump said on Wednesday he got along very well with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi but that Modi was “constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan.”
“You know what that is? That’s like five hours of what we spend,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“And we are supposed to say, ‘oh, thank you for the library’. I don’t know who is using it in Afghanistan,” Trump added.
The remarks drew condemnation from all Indian political parties, including opposition, which rallied behind Prime Minister Modi.
“May be Trump should know that while he is decrying every other help in Afghanistan, India has been building not only libraries, but roads, dams, schools and even parliament building,” Ram Madhav, a BJP general secretary, said on Twitter.
“We are building lives, for which the Afghan people thank us, no matter what others do or don’t.”
Trump’s remarks have also prompted response from India’s main opposition Congress, which said India did not “need sermons from the US on Afghanistan.”
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel called Trump’s remarks as “completely unacceptable,” urging Prime Minister Modi to firmly respond.
India says its projects worth $3 billion in Afghanistan speak for themselves. India’s projects in Afghanistan include a 218-kilometer road, a dam providing irrigation to farmers as well as training programs for more than 3,500 Afghans in India.