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India, Afghanistan to sign three MOUs during Karzai visit

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 5 (UNI) India and Afghanistan will sign three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on Rural Development, Education Exchange Programme and Standardisation between Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Afghan National Standardisation Authority during the State visit of Aghan President Hamid Karzai to India from April nine.

The Afghan President who arrives here on a State visit on April nine, will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on regional and international issues.

A spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry said President Karzai would be accompanied by about 10 Ministers and Ministerial-level advisers, in addition to members of the Afghan National Assembly, officials and a high-level business delegation.

During his State visit, he will also visit Hyderabad. In Delhi, he will call on President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

He will hold talks with the Prime Minister on April ten in addition to having meetings with other dignitaries.

President Karzai will attend a joint business meeting hosted by FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM alongwith the business delegation from Afghanistan.

He will also inaugurate the first-ever Festival of Afghanistan in India on April 11 In Hyderabad, the Afghan President Karzai will visit Hi-Tech City, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., National Remote Sensing Agency and a rural development project, organised by National Institute of Rural Development.

President Karzai had earlier visited India in February 2002 as Chairman of the Interim Administration, in March 2003 as President of Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan and in February 2005 as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The last visit to kabul from India was that of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on August 28-29, 2005.

During the talks between Mr Karzai and Prime Minister Singh, regional and bilateral issues will figure. The issue of terrorism is also likely to dominate the discussions, sources said.

Afghanistan accuses Islamabad of fomenting trouble in the country and promoting terrorism across the border. Although Pakistan denies the allegations, some recent incidents have caused bad blood between the two countries.

India is one of the six top donors of aid to Afghanistan and has given about 600 million dollars assistance to the war-torn country for reconstruction activities.

Besides, India is actively involved in various development projects in that country including construction of roads, the Parliament House building in Kabul and other infrastructure that was damaged during the decades-old civil war.

It is also assisting the Afghanistan government in training its Armed Forces, police personnel, diplomats and educationists among others.

The visit, seen as a major step to boost ties between the two countries, comes weeks after US President George Bush made a brief stopover in that country while on his way to India.

UNI RB LS RK2142

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