Holbrooke to visit India from Friday

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New Delhi, Jan. 14 (ANI): US President Barack Obama's Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, who is currently on a three-day visit to Pakistan, is expected to make a short visit to New Delhi.

Holbrooke who is currently engaged in routine consultations with the leaderships in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, is expected here on Friday.

Sources said he would call on External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, and meet Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and the National Security Advisor M K Narayanan.

It is expected that he will update India about Washington's latest strategy on Afghanistan, including the American Government's decision to send additional troops to initiate withdrawal of forces by the middle of 2011.

New Delhi is likely to express its reservations on the issue with Holbrooke.

India, which has been playing a key role in restructuring Afghanistan through various developmental projects, believes the exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan would place the war-ravaged country back in the hands of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. This, it feels, would annul ongoing efforts on development, peace and democracy.

The Indian Government is also likely to urge Holbrooke to adopt a more proactive approach in pressing Pakistan to take cohesive action against anti-India terrorist groups operating from its soil. The US envoy's visit to India is being seen as important in the wake of increased terrorist penetration and tensions on the India-Pakistan border.

Holbrooke's visit to India may also be used to fine tune preparations for a summit on the future of Afghanistan slated to take place on January 28. Krishna will be representing India in the London conference. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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