NEW DELHI: Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday made a strong pitch for investment by Indian business in his war-torn country as he and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reaffirmed their shared vision of a “stable, strong, united, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan”.
Addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after their delegation-level talks here, Karzai said investment opportunities are “better” in his country now.
“My visit this time to India is focused particularly in talking to and asking and requesting Indian business to come to Afghanistan,” Karzai said, adding “Investment opportunities in Afghanistan today are better. A country that is more confident of its future and that is willing to receive investments from its friends”.
On Saturday, while speaking to India Inc in Mumbai, the Afghan president had wooed Indian business to invest in his country, telling them not to be “shy when thinking of Afghanistan”.
He had offered India Inc a “red carpet” if they invest in Afghanistan. Karzai was full of praise for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh terming him a “good friend” of Afghanistan and praised India as a “very generous and front-line supporter” for Afghanistan’s re-construction and development. Manmohan Singh said the two leaders had reviewed the progress in implementation of the Strategic Partnership Agreement, which they had signed last year for deepening security and economic links.
The prime minister said the two had discussed “the need to develop a strategic economic partnership, which will build on our economic synergies for mutual benefit”. He also “reiterated to President Karzai our belief that Afghanistan’s regional economic integration will contribute to overall prosperity and stability in the region”.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India remains committed to supporting Afghanistan in its development efforts. India’s development assistance commitment to Afghanistan is at $2bn.
India and Afghanistan inked four agreements to cooperate in areas of social welfare, fertilizer, coal mining and youth affairs.