India, Afghanistan to sign four pacts during Karzai's visit



New Delhi: India is expected to ink four pacts, including one in the field of mining with mineral-rich Afghanistan during the four-day visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who arrived in Mumbai on Friday.

Karzai will meet business leaders in Mumbai to seek investments in the war-ravaged country before arriving here to hold talks with the top leadership, in a bid to intensify the cooperation under the India-Afghanistan strategic dialogue on bilateral and regional issues.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Karzai will hold wide- ranging talks, including on regional security situation and safety of Indian nationals and Indian projects on November 12 here, according to sources.

Briefing reporters on the visit, Additional Secretary (Pakistan-Iran-Afghanistan) in Ministry of External Affairs Yash Sinha said apart from reviewing entire gamut of bilateral relations, the two leaders will also discuss regional and international issues.

He also noted India was playing a lead role in attracting investments in the war-torn country as part of its policy to "change the narrative of anxiety to narrative of hope."

On regional economic cooperation, he said India hopes that existing treaties like Afghanistan Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement will at some point be extended to cover transit of goods from India to Afghanistan.

Ahead of Karzai's visit, Afghanistan envoy Shaida Mohammad Abdali had indicated that the two sides will also explore ways to step up Indian training for Afghan national security forces during the visit, saying, "India has committed itself to strengthening security of Afghanistan."

He has also said Karzai was coming to India at "a critical time" as international combat troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014.

Four MoUs will be signed between the two countries in areas of mines, youth affairs, small development projects and fertilizers, he said.

PTI