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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid