Karzai begins India visit with Mumbai

Last Updated: Sat, Nov 10, 2012 09:15 hrs
Karzai begins India visit with Mumbai

Mumbai, Nov 10 (IBNS) Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai began a five-day visit to India from Friday as he reached Mumbai first to accelerate the investment opportunities in the war ravaged nation by meeting the business leaders there.

Karzai is accompanied by a high level ministerial and official delegation and after his Mumbai engagements, he will reach New Delhi where he will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

While in Delhi, President Karzai will be accorded a ceremonial welcome on Nov 12. The President of India will host a State Banquet in his honour.

Delegation level talks will be held between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Karzai, according India´s External Affairs Ministry.

President Karzai will deliver the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Memorial Lecture organized by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations in New Delhi on Nov 12.

According to Y K Sinha, India´s Additional Secretary, Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran, President of Afghanistan in Mumbai would be interacting with business leaders in the financial capital.

"The idea obviously is to encourage Indian business to look at Afghanistan as a destination for investments, for greater trade, for greater economic cooperation," Sinha said.

"As you are aware, India hosted the Delhi Investment Summit on Afghanistan, the first such summit that India has hosted for any other country in India. That was in the end of June this year. There has been considerable follow-up since then. Obviously the intention is to try and attract Indian industry, Indian business to looking at Afghanistan as a destination for investments and trade," he said.

Sinha said all issues, regional, international and bilateral issues, will come up for discussion during the visit of Karzai.

"Specifically of course you are aware that the Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed on the 4th of October last year. And I think both the leaders will use this opportunity to review and consolidate our strategic partnership," he said.

President Karzai´s visit, after Prime Minister´s landmark visit to Kabul in May 2011, carries forward the high-level engagement between the two countries.

During President Karzai's last visit to India in October 2011 a historic Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed.

This visit provides an opportunity for both countries to review and consolidate their strategic partnership and discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, said the Indian officials.

Four MoUs are likely to be signed between India and Afghanistan during the visit, including in the fields of mining and youth affairs.

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