Countering United States President Donald Trump’s remarks last Wednesday mocking India’s efforts in Afghanistan, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabov on Wednesday commented that it was unfortunate that Trump had belittled India’s essential role in helping to rebuild its war-torn neighbour.

Trump had referred to Afghanistan’s Parliament building, which India helped construct, as a “library”, and claimed that the United States was doing far more for the war-torn country than India.

Russia’s foreign minister, who is on a visit to India, when asked to comment on Trump’s remarks said India’s efforts to provide material support to Afghanistan were indispensable. “Wars can be won but peace cannot without any material investment on development and education,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying by The Tribune. “That is the core, and thus, the Indian effort and efforts of other countries who provide material support to Afghanistan, is an indispensable one.”

The minister said Russia and India were in sync on tackling problems in Afghanistan. “We understand the essential role of India regarding Afghanistan,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying by PTI. “We all welcome India and Indian representatives… besides we maintain bilateral dialogue with Afghanistan.”

India has been engaged in helping restore normalcy in Afghanistan mainly through infrastructure development, since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Apart from helping construct the Afghan Parliament, India has built a dam and educational institutes, expanded telecommunications networks and provided grants-in-aid to its northwestern neighbour, says The Diplomat.

Speaking about the United States’ threat to impose sanctions on countries trading with Iran, the Russian deputy foreign minister said it would not affect the S-400 missile deal between India and Russia. “We have the methodology to provide for payments, ideas to deal with issue of procurement and nothing can be done by the US to disrupt this,” PTI quoted him as saying.

Promising to meet the missile delivery deadline, Ryabkov was quoted by The Tribune as saying, “Rest assured, we will stick to the timelines for delivery of S400s without any delays as per our contract.”