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Warm welcome for PM in Kabul
August 28, 2005 12:19 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was accorded a warm reception as he began a two day visit to Afghanistan Sunday during which he will discuss cooperation in various areas, including security, and announce developmental projects worth $ 50 million for the war-ravaged country.
The first Indian Prime Minister to visit Afghanistan in 29 years, Singh is to hold talks with President Hamid Karzai on the entire gamut of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern.
He will also meet Afghanistan's former King Zahir Shah.
The Prime Minister is accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, External Affairs Minster K Natwar Singh and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.
PM's Afghan visit: Pak to watch closely
During his stay there, the foundation stone for Afghan Parliament building will be laid by Shah in presence of Singh. The Parliament House complex is being constructed by India as a symbol of contribution to strengthening of democracy in the country which has seen conflicts for decades.
The timing of the construction of the building is significant as the country is going to elect its Parliament on September 18.
Singh will also hand over a school fully renovated by India to the Afghan authorities.
New Delhi attaches immense significance to the visit by the Prime Minister to Afghanistan which, it sees, as an "extremely important country" sharing close cultural and historical links with India.