Afghan president to meet PM Monday

New Delhi, Nov 11: Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in the Indian capital Sunday evening on the second leg of his state visit during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and explore the prospect of enhancing India’s role in training Afghan security forces.

Karzai arrived here from Mumbai, where he had begun the first leg of his tour Nov 9.

The Afghan president will hold delegation-level talks with Manmohan Singh Monday after which the two sides will sign four agreements in diverse areas, including mines and fertilizers, youth affairs, small development projects and fertilizers.

In Mumbai, Karzai promised business leaders a “red carpet” welcome for more Indian investment in Afghanistan as US-led NATO forces prepare to withdraw.

The two countries, traditionally close trading partners, last year signed a strategic partnership agreement to deepen already friendly ties and boost trade, security and cultural links.

Karzai told business leaders in the Indian commercial capital that Afghanistan was “ripe and ready” for Indian investments in mining and other sectors. “We’d like to welcome you with a red carpet, but you need to arrive at the red carpet,” he told the delegates Saturday.

Karzai is to be accorded a ceremonial welcome Monday and President Pranab Mukherjee will host a state banquet in his honour.

He will also deliver the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Memorial Lecture organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations at Teen Murti house Monday evening.

Among those slated to call on him Monday include Vice President M. Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj.

IANS