Karzai woos companies in India as investors
BY Associated Press
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
11/13/12 at 6:17 AM
Visiting President Hamid Karzai on Monday urged Indian companies to invest in Afghanistan, with India's leader saying economic development in the war-torn country would contribute to stability in the region.
"Investment opportunities are better today in Afghanistan, a country that is more confident of its future," Karzai said at a news conference with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Karzai's five-day visit was also being viewed as a bid to shore up security in the faction-ridden region before the planned departure of most NATO troops in 2014.
India has invested more than $2 billion on Afghan infrastructure, including building highways and hospitals and setting up rural electricity projects. New Delhi is hoping to gain some influence in the country post-2014, when Afghan forces become responsible for the entire country's security.
"I reiterated to President Karzai our belief that Afghanistan's regional economic integration will contribute to the overall prosperity and stability in the region," Singh told reporters after the talks.
Karzai, who arrived in India over the weekend, said one of his priorities during the visit was to urge Indian companies to invest in his country.
"Indian businessmen need not shy away. The Chinese came five to six years before you and they have already got two or three major contracts," Karzai told Indian business leaders in Mumbai on Sunday.
"You should come in large numbers," he said.
The governments of India and Afghanistan share a mutual distrust of Pakistan, making them likely allies. Afghanistan says Pakistan contributes to Afghan instability by offering a haven to Taliban insurgents. India accuses Pakistan of harboring and nurturing terrorists who have fostered attacks in India.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai tosses flower petals Monday at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial in New Delhi, India. MUSTAFA QURAISHI / Associated Press