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Pact with India not to hit 'brother Pakistan': Karzai

Wednesday October 05, 2011 05:12:24 PM, IANS

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh meeting President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, in New Delhi on October 04, 2011.

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India, Afghanistan to sign key strategic, economic pacts

n a clear message to Pakistan, India and Afghanistan Tuesday will sign a landmark strategic partnership agreement that could include a role for India in training Afghan security forces. The two countries will also add greater economic   

New Delhi: A day after he signed a landmark strategic pact with India, Afghan President Hamid Karzai Wednesday sought to ease concern in Islamabad, saying the accord won't harm relations with Pakistan.

"Pakistan is our twin brother, India is a great friend. The agreement we signed with our friend will not affect our brother," Karzai said in a speech on India-Afghanistan relations here.

"This strategic partnership is not directed against any country... This strategic partnership is to support Afghanistan," he said in a message aimed at Islamabad that sees New Delhi's expanding relations with Kabul with suspicion and unease.

"Neither India nor Afghanistan intend the pact to be beyond the two countries," he said.

Karzai stressed that the pact, which envisages an annual security dialogue and deeper ties across the political and economic spectrum, will enable Afghanistan to benefit from "India's strength" and help it to train its police and youths.

In an attempt to allay Pakistan's worries, Karzai resisted pointed questions on Kabul's fraying relations with Islamabad, saying Pakistan was also "suffering from exactly the same menace (terrorism) as we are".

"It's relevant that Pakistan and Afghanistan sit down and discuss who is causing it (terrorism). We can find a way out of the unfortunate environment of suspicion," he said.

Outlining his vision of Afghanistan as a trade and transit hub, Karzai said he believed in the region "where there are no borders and where the youth's energies re channelized for the prosperity and peace".

"This region has massive potential for growth. At the same time, this region has the most negative trends," said Karzai, while stressing on the need to jointly combat terrorism.

Karzai was delivering the third R.K. Mishra Memorial lecture, organised by the Observer Research Foundation, at the Maurya Sheraton hotel here.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who chaired the lecture, stressed that India will continue to be Afghanistan's partner in peace and development in accordance with Afghan priorities.

Karzai headed to Kabul after wrapping up his two-day visit to India.







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