US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told a Congressional committee on Tuesday that India has a vital role in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American troops from that country.
Blake termed India as one of the most trusted and valuable partners of the US in the region, and said the US sees India as an economic linchpin for the future of Afghanistan.
"Any discussion of South Asia has to start with India," he said.
"We appreciate very much the significant role that India is playing in Afghanistan. In fact, we see India as kind of the economic linchpin for future," Blake told lawmakers during a hearing by the Asia and Pacific sub-committee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Blake said India will play an important role in the process of turning Afghanistan into a trade-based economy from an "aid-based economy" once US spending gets scaled down after the withdrawal of troops in 2014.
"As our troops (and) their spending draws down, it's going to be much more important now to establish a private-sector basis for the Afghan economy and to make a trade-based economy and not an aid-based economy. India is such an important role to play in that," said Blake.