In a deal that may complicate the ongoing U.S. tussle with Pakistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai inked a security pact with India in New Delhi on Tuesday that will boost the military links between the two nations.
The proposal to train the Afghan National Security Forces was included in the first-ever Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) signed on Tuesday by Mr. Karzai and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their third extensive meeting this year, India's Hindu newspaper reported.
Fear of New Delhi gaining sway in Kabul is perhaps the primary reason that Islamabad has supported the Haqqani network, and angled for a pivotal role in peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.
Meanwhile, India has beefed up its Afghanistan-oriented assets by operationalising an airbase in Tajikistan, which has since been used to strike at the top leadership of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Hindu said. It has also sought permission to reopen a hospital at Farkhor on the Afghan border.
“The agreement on a Strategic Partnership creates an institutional framework for our future cooperation in the fields of political and security , trade and economic cooperation, capacity building and education, and social, cultural, civil society and people-to-people relations,” Singh told reporters.
According to the Times of India, the pact also implicitly upbraids Pakistan for its active or passive support of terrorist groups.
Although he did not name Pakistan, Karzai spoke of the dangers of using terror as an instrument of policy after his meeting with Singh, the paper said. "Afghanistan recognises the dangers that this region faces through terrorism and radicalism that is being used as an instrument of policy against our citizens," the TOI quotes Karzai as saying.