India, Afghanistan reiterate commitment to maintain strategic partnership

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New Delhi, Apr 26 (ANI): Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Monday on his official visit to India, and the two sides reiterated their commitment to the strategic partnership between the two countries, and expressed satisfaction at the progress in their relations.

This was President Karzai's first visit to India after his re-election as the President of Afghanistan in 2009.

His visit marked the continuation of high-level exchanges between the two countries, and was a manifestation of the tradition of regular consultations between India and Afghanistan.

The two countries noted that these relations were rooted in historical and civilisation links, and served not only the interests and welfare of the two countries, but also contributed to peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Dr Singh stated that India desired to see a strong, stable and prosperous Afghanistan, at peace.

India remained committed to assisting Afghanistan in its development efforts in accordance with the wishes and priorities of the people of Afghanistan. India's development partnership is focused on areas of infrastructure development, human resource development and capacity building, food assistance and small development projects that bring immediate benefit to the people at the grass-roots level.

The two leaders, in particular, took note of the Zaranj-Delaram road project, the Pul-e-Kumri to Kabul transmission line project and scholarship programmes, which had brought direct benefit to the Afghan people.

They welcomed the progress being made in the construction of the building for the Afghan Parliament. President Karzai expressed appreciation for India's assistance to the reconstruction and development efforts of the Government and people of Afghanistan.

President Karzai outlined the recent developments to Dr Singh with regard to Afghanistan.

Dr Singh lauded the progress that had been made in national reconstruction efforts under President Karzai and the sacrifices made by the people of Afghanistan in their quest for building a democratic and peaceful society.

The two leaders reiterated their conviction that the national rebuilding process in Afghanistan should be led by the people of Afghanistan in keeping with the principles of national sovereignty, independence and non-interference in internal affairs.

They expressed their grave concern over the threat posed by terrorism to Afghanistan's national development efforts. They expressed their determination to work with the international community to combat the forces of terrorism, which pose a particular threat to the region.

President Karzai conveyed his outrage and deep condolences over the terrorist attacks on Indian nationals in Afghanistan, and assured the Indian side that the Government of Afghanistan is committed to providing full security to them. The Indian side welcomed these assurances.

The two leaders expressed their intention to continue to consult each other with a view to consolidating their partnership and contributing to peace and stability in the region. (ANI)

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