Karzai to hold talks with Manmohan Singh

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New Delhi, Aug 4: Afghan President Hamid Karzai will hold talks with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on bilateral, religional and international issues of both countries here on Monday, Aug 4.

Co-operation between both countries and security related issues are expected to dominate the talks. Vice President Hamid Ansari, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the leader of Opposition L.K Advani will also call on the visiting dignitary, while President Pratibha Patil will host a banquet in his honour.

Karzai, who arrived here on Sunday, August 3 fon a two-day state visit to India, is being accompanied by a delegation, which includes National Security Advisor Dr Zalmai Rasoul.

Karzai is visiting India after attending the 15th SAARC Summit in Colombo in Sri Lanka. He also attended the 14th SAARC Summit in New Delhi during which Afghanistan was admitted as a full-fledged member of SAARC.

The visit assumes significance in the wake of the recent bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul in which over 50 people, including an Indian diplomat and an Indian Army brigadier were killed.

Karzai is likely to brief the Indian leadership about the steps that is government is taking to ensure greater protection for the Indian workforce and embassy staff that is in Afghanistan assisting in that country's all round development.

Karzai's trip to New Delhi comes amid mounting worries in both India and Afghanistan about the growing activities of the Taliban, which many feel continues to enjoy the backing of the Pakistani intelligence establishment.

President Karzai is making his sixth visit to India since 2002, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has visited Kabul in 2005.

During Prime Minister Dr Singh's visit to Afghanistan in 2005, both countries reaffirmed their common interest in reinvigorating the past ties and developing a new partnership for the 21st century.

India reiterated its continued commitment to the reconstruction and economic development of Afghanistan.


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