NEW DELHI, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday, a day after arriving in the Indian capital on a four-day visit to the country.
This is President Karzai's third visit to India this year.
Though the official line has been that the two leaders held talks on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern during their meeting, experts believe Karzai could well have pleaded for more reconstruction aid and military hardware from New Delhi for his country.
"India has already given nearly two billion U.S. dollars in reconstruction aid to Afghanistan. It is likely to consider President Karzai's request for more help, including military assistance, as New Delhi keeps close tab on the war-ravaged country," Delhi-based strategic analyst Prof Raman Dubey said.
According to the experts, India is very much concerned about Afghanistan.
"India does not want Taliban to return to the forefront in Afghanistan once 75,000 U.S.-led NATO troops pull out of that country by next year-end. So, it is likely that New Delhi will be ready to supply military hardware to Kabul, for which President Karzai must have pleaded before Singh," said another expert, Prof S.K. Gupta.
He added: "President Karzai's military list is likely to include light and heavy artillery, aircraft, and small arms and ammunition. India seems to be aware of the list and may soon take a call."
In fact, earlier this week, Afghanistan's envoy in India, Shaida M. Abdali, had said that President Karzai would apprise the Indian leadership of "what is going on right now in Afghanistan".
"He will specially discuss the three important issues -- Afghanistan's negotiation on the BSA (bilateral security agreement) with the U.S., the peace process and then the transition process, and also consult what would be the way ahead for us," Abdali told the media.
The experts say that President Karzai's visit is equally important for the U.S. with Washington hoping New Delhi can help persuade him to sign a deal allowing U.S. troops to stay on beyond 2014.
"The U.S. wants India to play a mediator's role to persuade President Karzai to ink a pact (BSA) which will ensure that American troops stay post-2014. Like India, the U.S. is worried about Taliban returning to power in Afghanistan. So, Washington is pinning on India to convince Kabul on this," Prof Dubey said.
Though President Karzai had initially agreed to sign the agreement with the U.S., he later said that it could only be signed after the presidential elections due next year. He is stepping down after the polls in April 2014.
President Karzai will head for the western Indian state of Maharashtra's city of Pune Saturday, where he is scheduled to address business leaders, and deliver a lecture at a private university Sunday.
His lecture on democracy lessons from India, slated to be held in the Indian Parliament, has, however, been cancelled, apprehending low attendance by lawmakers.
Visiting Afghan president meets Indian PM
NEW DELHI, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday, a day after arriving on a four-day visit of this country.
President Karzai discussed bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern with the Indian prime minister in the national capital, sources said. Full story