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Pakistan media note Delhi-Kabul strategic links

Wednesday October 05, 2011 07:38:28 PM, IANS

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Islamabad: The Pakistani media Wednesday noted with visible concern the move by India and Afghanistan to deepen their strategic ties.

The Dawn said a strategic cooperation pact signed in New Delhi Tuesday followed assessments by both that they were targets of the "ubiquitous Haqqani group of the Taliban network, increasingly accused of being a cat's paw for Pakistan's military".

Afghanistan and US officials have accused Pakistan's spy agency ISI of helping the Pakistan-based Haqqani group, a charge Islamabad denies. Dawn said that Indian officials hold a similar view.

In its report, The News said India's decision to train Afghan security forces was "a major development" -- ahead of the proposed withdrawal by NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

New Delhi and Kabul signed their first Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) during Karzai's third extensive meeting this year with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"India has started stepping up its exposure to the security scenario in Afghanistan by operationalising an air base in Tajikistan, which has since been used to strike at the top leadership of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan," The News said.

"It (India) has also sought permission to reopen a hospital at Farkhor on the Afghan border."

It added that the two countries would also cooperate more closely at the UN, one of the objectives being to help India gain a permanent seat on the Security Council.

The newspapers, however, underlined that both India and Afghanistan had stressed that their strategic agreement was not directed against any third country -- meaning Pakistan.

The News added that the two countries "will try to operationalise their trilateral MoU signed with Iran to end Afghanistan's landlocked isolation and dependence on Pakistan to reach the sea".

"It brightens India's chances of bagging a lucrative mining contract for Hajigak, said to be the region's largest untapped reserve of iron ore, and provides an opportunity to hunt for oil in northern Afghanistan."

The SPA, it said, was released in four languages - Hindi, Pashto, Dari and English.

Karzai's visit to India follows the high-profile assassinations of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani and Kandahar Provincial Council chief Ahmad Wali Karzai when they were engaged in the peace process.







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