Delhi, Kabul ink pacts to boost biz links

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 13 2012, 10:07am hrs
India and Afghanistan on Monday agreed to create an economic synergy for mutual benefit and decided to intensify cooperation, especially in the sectors of agriculture, small business and mining.

At the end of talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the two sides signed four agreements in diverse areas, including mines, youth affairs, small development projects and fertilizers.

India was for a stable, strong and prosperous Afghanistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, reiterating that Kabul's regional economic integration will contribute to overall prosperity and stability in the region.

"President Karzai is no stranger, he has long been a close friend," Singh said at a joint press conference with visiting President.

Singh said India has provided a $2-billion in aid to Afghanistan for capacity-building and the MoUs signed on Monday would launch the third phase of the small developmental projects (SDPs) to address the socio-economic needs of the people of Afghanistan.

"We reviewed the progress of the strategic partnership agreement, discussed the need to develop strategic economic partnership that will build on our synergies," Singh said.

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, traditionally close trading partners, had last year signed a strategic partnership agreement to deepen friendly ties and boost trade, security and cultural links.