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 Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs