Karzai meets PM, discuss defence and security ties

New Delhi, Dec. 14,: Visiting Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday discussed strengthening of bilateral cooperation in areas of security and defence with India in his talks with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in here.

“We discussed with the Government of India wide ranging issues of concern to both countries. Also included in those discussions, were bilateral cooperation between the two countries, on security and defence issues, and certainly, India had a positive attitude,” Karzai told media here.

Afghanistan wants tanks and artillery to boost land-based firepower and air support, including helicopters for medical evacuation.

Afghan security forces have also asked India for equipment to counter homemade bombs, the biggest killers of soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan.

Earlier on Friday, Karzai met External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

India has invested USD 2 billion in aid and reconstruction and trained scores of Afghan officers, but has so far stopped short of arms transfers for fear of provoking Pakistan, as well as armed groups in Afghanistan.

Pakistan and India have been locked in a long struggle for influence in Afghanistan, both fearing an unstable state at their doorsteps.

India’s expansive diplomacy in Afghanistan since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban has already fanned Pakistan’s fears of encirclement, and its embassy in Kabul has been bombed twice. Its consulate in the city of Jalalabad bordering Pakistan, was hit by suicide bombers earlier this year. (ANI)