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Rediff.com  » News » Hamid Karzai leaves India empty-handed

Hamid Karzai leaves India empty-handed

May 23, 2013 12:29 IST

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai left India with an honorary doctorate from LovelyProfessionalUniversity, but his “wish list” for the Indian government remained unfulfilled.

Karzai, who arrived in India on Monday, sought a possible arms deal, in the wake of the pullout of the international troops from his country and an impending danger of the return of the Taliban and warlords to power.

This was Karzai’s second visit to India in six months. The main purpose of this visit was to garner support from India in terms of “purchase of weapons” and strengthen Afghanistan military with a greater collaboration with India.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Karzai stated his desire for an arms deal, which included purchase of military weaponry such as aircraft, missiles and field guns under the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed between the countries in October 2011, a senior official told Business Standard on condition of anonymity. No formal joint statement was issued after the meeting.

Addressing the media before his departure, Karzai said he did give a “wish list” to the Indian government.

Before Karzai’s visit to India, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India Shaida Abdali had stated the partnership agreement was ambiguous on lethal and non-lethal military equipment. He had said Afghanistan was looking for India’s help to get “equipment and weapons to fight.”

India has invested more than $2 billion for the development of the region, including highways, roads, ports, hospitals and rural electricity.

India, Afghanistan and Iran are also engaged in talks for utilising the Chahbahar port of Iran to develop road and rail linkages.

Nayanima Basu in New Delhi
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