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Deals with India, US pose no threat to neighbours: Karzai

Deals with India, US pose no threat to neighbours: Karzai

Nov 10, 2011 - 19:07

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): President Hamid Karzai has said a strategic partnership with India and talks for a similar deal with the United States posed no threat to his country's neighbours.

Karzai told leaders of South Asian nations at a regional summit in Addu, the Maldives, that the India agreement along with talks it was holding with the United States for another strategic partnership were intended to promote peace

Pakistaninfo-icon had reacted angrily to the India deal announced last month that many in Islamabad fear would increase its archenemy's influence in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

The pact, the first Afghanistan has signed with any country, included provisions for India to help train and equip Afghan security forces.

""I wish to reassure our neighbors ... that none of our partnerships we forge now or in the future shall pose a threat to our neighbors or to our region," he said.

Karzai on Wednesday left Kabul for the Maldives to attend the 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARCinfo-icon) conference that began in the Maldives on Thursday.

Karzai is accompanied by Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul and national security advisor Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta on the trip.

A statement issued from the Presidential Palace said President Karzai met his Maldivian and Sari Lankan counterparts on the sidelines of the summit.

At his meeting with Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, Karzai stressed the need for increased trade relations among SAARC member states.

The president called for the establishment of a railway line connecting the member states and a road linking Afghanistan with northern India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Karzai also met with Sari Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa and discussed with him establishing permanent diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Karzai, briefing Rajapaksa on educationinfo-icon process and development in Afghanistan, urged the Sari Lankan leader to provide education opportunities to Afghan students in medical, engineering and other areas.

Rajapaksa promised his country would provide all possible assistance to Afghanistan in training its youth in diverse fields of life.

President Karzai also met with Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and discussed with him matters of mutual interests, the statement said.

In his meeting with Bhattarai, Karzai described the SAARC a best platform for the two countries to enhance relations in all sectors.



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