Karzai in India to woo investment in Afghanistan
NEW DELHI: Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with Indian leaders on Monday in a bid to woo investment to his war-torn country and boost security before a planned drawdown of Nato troops in 2014.
India has invested more than $2.3 billion on Afghan infrastructure, including building highways and hospitals and setting up rural electricity projects.
New Delhi is hoping to gain some influence in the country post-2014, when Afghan forces become responsible for the country’s security.
Karzai, who arrived in India over the weekend, said his one of his priorities during the visit was to urge Indian companies to invest in his country.
“Indian businessmen need not shy away. The Chinese came five to six years before you and they have already got two or three major contracts,” Karzai told Indian business leaders in Mumbai on Sunday. “You should come in large numbers,” he said.
Karzai was to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later Monday for talks aimed at strengthening bilateral relations and boosting security in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan and India will also review a strategic partnership agreement they signed last year, Indian officials said.
“Both leaders will use this opportunity to review and consolidate our strategic partnership,” Yash Sinha, a top official in India’s ministry of external affairs, told reporters.