News / Asia

Afghanistan’s Karzai Presses for Indian Support, Investment

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai addresses media representatives during a press interaction in New Delhi, Dec. 14, 2013.
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai addresses media representatives during a press interaction in New Delhi, Dec. 14, 2013.
Aru Pande
— Afghan President Hamid Karzai has concluded a four-day visit to India, during which he encouraged New Delhi to boost investment and military support in his country. The trip comes as the Afghan leader continues to delay signing a security agreement with the United States. 

Five visits in three years. India’s foreign ministry last week was quick to point to the frequency of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s trips to India as signifying the “intensity of the relationship.”
 
And after talks with Indian leaders Friday, Karzai was also keen to note the strength of bilateral ties between the two longtime allies, using much of the standard language used in the past.
 
"We discussed with the government of India, with honorable Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, wide ranging issues of concern to both countries," Karzai stated. "Also including those discussions were bilateral cooperation between the two countries, on security and defense issues and certainly India had a positive attitude.”
 
President Karzai arrived in New Delhi on his 13th visit to the country with requests for military equipment and India’s continued support as Afghanistan prepares for the withdrawal of all international combat troops by the end of 2014.  
 
India has provided more than $2 billion in aid towards Afghanistan’s reconstruction and is providing military training to Afghan troops. But analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra with the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation said India can do much more - including providing Afghanistan with military subsidies if it can get over its fear of Pakistani backlash.
 
“It looks very ungracious. You have got a guest who keeps coming to you, keeps giving you a lot of importance, and you give him something like just three helicopters and provide him with “moral support” in his BSA [Bilateral Security Agreement] with America. It doesn’t look good. Optically it doesn’t look good.” said Iyer-Mitra.
 
The Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States, and President Karzai’s refusal to sign it, was also a topic during the Afghan leader’s visit. Karzai said U.S. troops must first stop what he called attacks on Afghan homes and publicly begin peace talks with the Taliban.
 
Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told reporters Friday the BSA was discussed during Karzai’s talks with Prime Minister Singh because the two countries’ destinies are “intertwined.”  “Both India and Afghanistan see the BSA as important for the stability of Afghanistan. As you are aware, our approach to Afghanistan has always been one of not being prescriptive, not being intrusive and not being judgmental,” he said.
 
During a speech in the western Indian city of Pune, Karzai reassured Indian business leaders that the United States “will fulfill our conditions” and that the BSA will be signed, while also ensuring profits for those who invest in Afghanistan.
 
Analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra said the Afghan leader will eventually sign the deal, but that either way India should take a more proactive stance in the region - and not outsource its interests to the United States.
 
“Basically what India is saying is ‘you Indian businessmen have to rely on America for your security. We are not going to provide you with security.’  And what we are telling the Afghans is ‘don’t try to play us off against the Americans in your BSA negotiations. We do not want to enter that game.’  Then the message that Afghanistan takes back is that India is throwing us to the wolves, India is throwing us to Pakistan,” said Iyer-Mitra.
 
As Afghanistan undergoes this transition, it is clear security is a concern for all three nations, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. During talks with Karzai, Prime Minister Singh thanked Afghan forces for thwarting an August suicide attack against the Indian consulate in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad - noting how terrorism and extremism threaten the entire region.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid