Indian PM wraps up Kabul visit

May 13th, 2011 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Kabul, May 13 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday left for home
after a two-day visit to Afghanistan during which he pledged to further the partnership between two countries in the area of development and assured President Hamid Karzai of an additional $500 million in infrastructure aid.

This was Manmohan Singh’s first visit to Kabul in six years and came soon after American special forces killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in Pakistan.

Manmohan Singh, who addressed the joint session of Afghanistan parliament on his second day here, committed another $500 million over the $1.5-billion already pledged by India to assist Afghanistan in its development post the ouster of Taliban in 2001.

India is the sixth largest donor to Afghanistan.

The prime minister, who arrived here Thursday, met with Karzai to discuss the security situation arising out of the killing of bin Laden and the threat of terrorism looming over the South Asian region.

Manmohan Singh also pointed out that the elimination of Osama had provided the important countries of the region — India, Pakistan and Afghanistan — a “unique moment in history” to work unitedly against terror.

But he also noted that India was “not US” to carry out an Abbottabad-like covert operation to take out the terrorists wanted by it.

With the news of a terror plot to target Indian consulate in Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan pouring in during his visit, Manmohan Singh termed it as “worrisome” and also indicated that it was instigated and funded by a foreign intelligence agency, but did take any name.

Karzai, who held a joint press conference with Manmohan Singh, described the terror strikes on Indian missions and projects in Afghanistan as “tragic, unfortunate and criminal” and promised to provide more protection to them.

The prime minister, who came to Kabul accompanied by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Special Envoy to Afghanistan S.K. Lamba and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, stayed at the personal suite of former Afghan king Zahir Shah in the presidential palace, becoming the first foreign head of state to do so since the fall of the Taliban.

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