Visiting Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today oversaw the signing of four pacts today, perhaps the most important being one on cooperation in the development of coal and mineral resources. Others related to Indian aid for implementation of small development projects, youth affairs, and fertilisers.
During delegation-level talks during Karzai's visit to India, the two sides also explored the prospects of enhancing India's role in training security forces in strife-torn Afghanistan.
"We have had detailed and frank discussions today covering the entire spectrum of bilateral relations. We reviewed progress of the strategic partnership agreement, discussed the need to develop strategic economic partnership that will build on our synergies," said Singh said at a joint media briefing after the talks.
"We also discussed changes in the security and political situation in and around Afghanistan. I expressed to President Karzai our belief that sustained international support and cooperation in all respects, including in combating terrorism emanating from the neighbourhood, and will help Afghanistan meet these challenges," Singh added.
"India supports the nation-building efforts of Afghanistan. We also support efforts to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan. I am confident President Karzai's visit will further strengthen the relationship between our two countries.''
Describing Singh as "a good friend of Afghanistan," Karzai said, "Relations between Afghanistan and India go back centuries, and we have built on that foundation by signing the strategic partnership agreement last year." The two countries, historically close trading partners, had last year signed a strategic partnership agreement to deepen friendly ties and boost trade, security and cultural links.