Karzai visit: India, Afghanistan to sign four accords

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 05, 2012 10:25 hrs

New Delhi: India and Afghanistan will be exploring prospects of enhancing New Delhi's role in training Afghan security forces and sign four agreements in diverse areas, including mines and fertilizers, during Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit to the country later this week.

Karzai begins his four-day visit to India from Mumbai Nov 9 where he will interact with top Indian businessmen and pitch for greater investment in Afghanistan.

In Mumbai, he will speak to investors and focus on how regional economies can be integrated, said Afghan Ambassador Shaida Mohammad Abdali.

The envoy underlined that Karzai will be visiting India at "a critical time" as international combat troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Karzai will hold wide-ranging talks in New Delhi Nov 12.

The two leaders will discuss a range of strategic issue and all areas of mutual interest, said the Afghan envoy.

Four MoUs will be signed between the two countries in areas of mines, youth affairs, small development projects and fertilizers, he said.

The envoy stressed that the visit will seek to intensify strategic dialogue between India and Afghanistan on bilateral and regional issues. He indicated that the two sides will be looking to step up Indian training for Afghan national security forces.

"India has committed itself to strengthening security of Afghanistan," he said, alluding to the strategic partnership agreement India and Afghanistan signed last year.

With the fragile security situation in his country as a backdrop, the envoy called for intensifying international and regional cooperation in combating terrorism in his country.

"We need to cooperate against combating terrorism. We don't have a satisfactory situation so far. We still have pockets of insurgent groups and sanctuaries of terror," he said.

Karzai's visit to India comes at a time when a resurgent Taliban has escalated violence across the country, including in Bamiyan, which was widely seen as the most peaceful region of Afghanistan.

Lauding India as a special friend of Afghanistan, Abdali said India is "a reliable and all-season friend, which has been with Afghanistan in good and bad times".

"India is focusing on life-changing initiatives for Afghanistan and the region," he said.

India has pledged $2 billion for a host of reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, which has generated enormous goodwill in that country.

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