President Hamid Karzai on Friday won support for his stance from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on the Afghan-US Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA).
Ahead of his meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, Karzai had told an Indian news channel about his estrangement with the United States, which he said had psychologically attacked his country in the run-up to the troop drawdown due in December 2014.
India said it would back Karzai’s decisions. “If you would like to know whether the BSA was discussed, the answer is yes. It was discussed because India and Afghanistan feel our destinies are intertwined,” said India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
“Both India and Afghanistan see the BSA as important for the stability and security of Afghanistan. As you are aware, our approach to Afghanistan has always been one of not being prescriptive, not being
intrusive, and not being judgmental.
“Therefore, while we will have a little bit more to say to you at the end of the visit, you would appreciate that this is the paradigm through which we approach this matter,” the spokesperson said.
Akbaruddin hailed Karzai as a sagacious and wise leader, who would do what was best for the people of Afghanistan. As a close and steadfast friend of Afghanistan and in accordance with its approach to Afghanistan, India would support it, he promised.
“But you will have to wait for further details. I assure you that we are working on a more detailed explanation of all the issues that are discussed during the visit,” the spokesperson told journalists.
Karzai, who is on a four-day visit to India, met the Singh and Khurshid and President Pranab Mukherjee. He is to visit the western city of Pune to meet industrialists and deliver an address at the Symbiosis International University on Sunday.
Earlier, India’s NDTV channel reported that Karzai was seeking 150 battle tanks, field guns, howitzers and one squadron of attack helicopters from India. The US has threatened to pull out all troops by December 2014 after Karzai refused signing the BSA till his key demands are met.
“We will leave it up to India to see whether India can support us or not. It’s not a position of forcing India in the name of friendship to help us as we need,” he told the channel in an exclusive interview.