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Karzai Meets Indian Prime Minister Singh

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left) with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh prior to delegation-level talks and an agreement-signing in New Delhi on November 12.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has met with Indian leaders and urged them to invest more in his war-torn country.

Karzai, who is on a five-day visit to India, met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 12 in New Delhi.

Karzai said a joint news conference with Singh that Afghanistan now offers better opportunities for Indian investors than in the past.

"My visit this time to India is focused particularly on talking to and asking, and requesting Indian businesses to come to Afghanistan," Karzai said. "Investment opportunities in Afghanistan today are better. [It is] the country that is more confident of its future and that's willing to receive investment from its friends, especially from India."

India has invested about $2 billion on Afghan infrastructure, including building highways and hospitals and setting up rural electricity projects. It has also won an iron ore concession in an $11 billion investment.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Karzai that Afghanistan can count on India's support on all economic and social levels.

"India remains committed to supporting Afghanistan in its development efforts," Singh said. "Our development assistance commitment to Afghanistan currently stands at approximately $2 billion. We have expanded our programs for capacity building, institution building and human resource development."

Over the weekend, Karzai told Indian business leaders in Mumbai that his country is ready for more investment to bolster the economic alliance between the two countries.

New Delhi is also hoping to secure more influence in the country post-2014, when Afghan forces become responsible for the country's security.

India is assisting the Afghan government in rebuilding its police forces, judiciary, and diplomatic services. Small Afghan contingents are also undergoing training at military schools in India.

The Indian and Afghan governments share a mutual distrust of their common neighbor, Pakistan.

Afghanistan says Pakistan foments Afghan instability by offering a safe haven to Taliban insurgents. India accuses Pakistan of harboring and nurturing terrorists who have carried out attacks in India.

The Afghan president, who earned his university degree in India, has been a frequent visitor to India, most recently in October 2011.

Based on AFP and Reuters reporting