India has non-military interest in Afghanistan: FM

Washington: India has non-military interest in Afghanistan and any Pakistani fears in this regard are imaginary, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Friday.

"We have a non-military interest in Afghanistan. We have committed a billion dollars to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. We are building Afghanistan's parliament. We're building roads… But we've not sent a single soldier to Afghanistan," he told the popular Charlie Rose Show.

"Yes" Chidambaram said when Rose asked if it still scares the Pakistanis to death.

"Pakistan's fears are imaginary. As I said we have not sent a singled soldier," said the Finance Minister.

"Afghanistan is really not our immediate neighbour. It's our neighbour's neighbour. So we recognise that Pakistan has a more than usual interest in Afghanistan. But that's for Pakistan to find a way in which it can evolve or forge a working relationship," he said.

Responding to a question, Chidambaram exuded confidence that the Kashmir issue can be resolved.

"It can be solved. In fact I'm confident it will be solved one day, once Pakistan has a truly democratically elected government," he said.

On Iran, Chidambaram said India does not favour Iran building nuclear weapons.

"Iran and India have a relationship goes back many years. There have been contacts between India and Iran over centuries. There is no reason why we should regard Iran as our enemy or as a hostile country…," he said.

"Just because the US regards Iran as a hostile force there is no reason for us to share that view. But if Iran attempts to make a nuclear weapon, we are on record saying that we don't approve of that. The way to go about it is through the International Atomic Energy Agency to persuade Iran to give up any nuclear ambition," he said.

Chidambaram said all evidence suggest that Iran is far away from building a nuclear weapon.

"The question is: are they enriching uranium which will allow them to build a nuclear weapon. All the evidence points that they are quite far away from doing that," he said.