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Updated: November 11, 2011 17:17 IST

India a close friend: Karzai

PTI
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shakes hands with President of Afganistan Hamid Karzai during their meeting at Shangri La in Addu, Maldives, on Friday.
PTI Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shakes hands with President of Afganistan Hamid Karzai during their meeting at Shangri La in Addu, Maldives, on Friday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday met Afghan President Hamid Karzai and is understood to have discussed with him the regional situation, particularly in the war-torn country.

The two leaders held talks on the sidelines of the eight—nation SAARC Summit here.

Dr. Singh and Mr. Karzai are understood to have reviewed the bilateral relations. The security situation in the region, particularly in Afghanistan, is also said to have figured in the talks.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister met his Nepalese counterpart Baburam Bhattarai.

After his meeting with Dr. Singh, Mr. Karzai said India is the first country with which Afghanistan has signed a strategic partnership, signifying a “very positive” relationship.

Lauding India’s generous developmental assistance to Afghanistan, he told private Indian channels that Afghan people are very grateful for that.

He said India is a ‘jigri dost’ (close friend) while Pakistan was a twin brother of Afghanistan.

“India-Afghanistan partnership is very important for the two countries and also for the region... I hope we will work on creating a better environment for cooperation in the region, especially between Afghanistan, Pakistan and India,” Mr. Karzai told the channels.

On whether he was prepared to share power with Taliban in future, the Afghan President said there was no such thing as sharing power. “It has to be done in accordance with Afghan Constitution ... which means power through the ballot.”

Asked if he was worried about the great game between India and Pakistan after U.S. forces pull out of Afghanistan, he responded hoping that it would be a “great cooperative game.”

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