NEW DELHI Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged Indian companies Monday to invest in his country, and India’s leader said economic development in the war-torn nation 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 after meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Karzai’s five-day visit is viewed as a bid to shore up security in the faction-ridden region before the planned departure of most NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014.
India has invested more than $2 billion in Afghan infrastructure, including highways and hospitals and rural electricity projects. New Delhi is hoping to gain some influence in the country after 2014, when Afghan forces become responsible for the entire country’s security.
“India has been a generous front-line partner in Afghanistan’s rebuilding and reconstruction efforts,” Karzai said.
Singh said his talks with Karzai covered bilateral relations and regional 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.
The two countries signed four agreements, including ones on mining and development of small enterprises.