¡¡KABUL, Aug. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- The visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Afghanistan, which has been hailed here as historic, would help to further cement relations between the two traditional friends, local observers believe.
It is the first-ever visit by an Indian premier to the war-tornnation in over three decades during which Singh announced development projects worth 50 million US dollars in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Singh's visit to Afghanistan comes at a time when the country is moving towards parliamentary polls amid Taliban's threat and it shows India's strong commitment and interest in the rebuilding of post-conflict Afghanistan, local analysts say.
"The visit of Prime Minister Singh at this stage would open a new chapter of friendship in the relations of the two countries," said eminent analyst and advisor to President Hamid Karzai on international affairs Dr. Dadfar Spanta.
"Both India and Afghanistan share deep-rooted historic and cultural relationship and the visit of (Indian) Prime Minister would further boost it," he asserted.
As a traditional friend of Afghanistan, India has pledged 500 million US dollars to the post-conflict Afghanistan since 2002.
It has been financing a number of vital projects, including rebuilding Salma power plant in western Herat province at a cost of 100 million US dollars; transmitting power lines from northern city of Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul worth 100 million US dollars; constructing parliament building and several other small development projects in Afghanistan.
Reaffirming his government's commitment in supporting the post-war Afghanistan, the Indian prime minister announced on Sunday that New Delhi is ready to assist the Afghan administration in allfields if necessary.
"We have to strengthen the economy of Afghanistan. We have to ensure that the democratic process, which is under way, moves forward smoothly. So, whatever help that the government of Afghanistan may ask for we will be very happy to consider," Singh,who has been awarded a red carpet welcome, told reporters at a joint news conference with President Karzai.
"Singh's tour to Afghanistan is a sign of cementing relations between Kabul and New Delhi and we the Afghans welcome it widely,"prominent analyst Qasim Akhgar noted.
During his visit, Singh and Karzai also called upon regional countries to collaborate in the war on terror.
"Terrorism anywhere and everywhere poses a threat to civilized existence and therefore we have an obligation to work together to deal with this menace," Singh said at the joint news conference.
Karzai, for his part, also emphasized regional cooperation in the war on terror.
"With the help of international community and the great desire of Afghan people terrorism was defeated in Afghanistan. We hope that all of us in this region will work together to remove this menace from this region and from the world at large," Karzai said.
"It is against all of us. There has been cooperation from Pakistan in the anti-terrorist drive and the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We hope that relations will be strengthen that all of us will together fight terrorism and removeit from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the rejoin," Karzai pointed out.
Singh's visit comes after Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Azizvisited Afghanistan in July.
During his one-day visit, Aziz reaffirmed his government's commitment to help ensure security for the coming September 18 parliamentary elections in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan believes that a strong, stable, vibrant and prosperous Afghanistan is good for its people, for its neighbors and good for the region," Aziz emphasized.
"We are confident that Prime Minister Singh's visit would not undermine Kabul-Islamabad relations as the visit would not only benefit India and Afghanistan but the whole region," Spanta pointed out. Enditem