Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Karzai in India amid shifting South Asia ties

Updated at: 1219 PST,  Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Karzai in India amid shifting South Asia ties NEW DELHI: Afghanistan and India are set to forge closer ties Tuesday as Hamid Karzai visits New Delhi during a highly unstable time in South Asia.

The Afghan president, making his second trip to the Indian capital this year, will meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against a backdrop of shifting relations in the war-wracked and nuclear-armed region.

Some analysts in India predict that Karzai will elevate the role of India in stabilising his violence-torn country as he eyes a drawdown of US-led troops by 2014 after more than a decade of fighting.

"Karzai's visit comes at a crucial juncture to endorse India's involvement in Afghanistan," Saeed Naqvi from the Observer Research Foundation think-tank told AFP.

"Karzai is coming to India to confer on India the tag 'reliable ally'... India will get the right to play a more pronounced role (in Afghanistan) after Karzai's visit."

The proposed alliance, which foreign ministry officials declined to confirm, was said to include an Indian commitment to increase its training of Afghan security forces, including the police.

Indian involvement in Afghanistan is extremely sensitive because of the delicate and often deadly power games in South Asia.

But anger in Kabul about the recent death of former president and peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani -- killed by a Pakistani citizen, according to Karzai's office -- is seen as pushing Afghanistan further into India's orbit.

"After all the destruction and misery, the double-game towards Afghanistan and the use of terrorism as an excuse still continues," Karzai said of Pakistan on Monday evening before leaving for his two-day trip to New Delhi. (AFP)
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