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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs