Karzai calls Pak its twin brother and India a great friend
Pakistan is a "twin brother" and India a "great friend", Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday in an obvious attempt to reassure Pakistan that the strategic partnership agreement signed on Tuesday in Delhi was not targeted against it.
Winding up his two-day visit to India, he said there was "nothing new" in the agreement and India and Afghanistan had only "put in words what we have been doing all these years".
He said neither India nor Afghanistan intended the strategic partnership to go beyond the two countries. "Pakistan is a twin brother, India is a great friend. The agreement that we signed yesterday with our friend will not affect our brother," Karzai said during an interaction after delivering the third R K Mishra memorial lecture organised by the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.
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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a joint press conference
'Afghanistan will remain grateful to India forever'
"The signing of the strategic partnership with India is not directed against any country. It is not directed against any other entity," he said, adding this was for Afghanistan to benefit from the strength of India.
In his address, he said India and Afghanistan have been engaged for past few years during which India has offered over 2000 scholarships for Afghan students, built roads and the Zaranj-Delaram highway, raised power transmission lines from North Afghanistan to Kabul and built the Parliament building.
"This is all strategic. Yesterday, we only put in words what we have been doing all these years," Karzai said.
Under the first such pact between the two countries, India will train Afghan army and other security personnel.
Noting that India has never said "no" to anything that his country wanted, Karzai said, "Afghanistan will not only not forget this but remain grateful to India forever."
Image: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai exchanging the singed documents of an agreement on strategic partnership